Owners of construction companies make anywhere from $66,000 to over $117,000 a year on average. That’s a big reason that people choose to start construction companies, despite the risks associated with them, and there are a lot of risks.
In 2019, 5,333 work-related deaths occurred in the US. Of that number, 1,061 were construction workers. That means that roughly 20% of workplace deaths in the US are construction workers.
Although workplace risk can’t be eliminated in this field, it can be reduced. With that in mind, here are five safety tips you should know before starting a construction business.
1. Understand Your Liability
Owning a construction business comes with a lot of liability. In many states, including Virginia for example, you’re legally responsible for any damage your crew causes. To cover the financial risks involved with that, you need insurance.
There are six common types of insurance you may need.
- Commercial General Liability Insurance
- Builders Risk Insurance
- Automobile Liability Insurance
- Contractors’ pollution insurance
- Roofers Insurance
- Workers Compensation Insurance
Which of these you need depends on what kind of jobs you plan to take. Make sure your team is fully insured before beginning work to avoid costly fees.
2. Make Sure You’re Prepared
In addition to insurance, make sure you have the proper licenses, permits, equipment, and safety gear. It’s better to have more than you need than to risk an accident because something was missing.
Common safety equipment needed for construction includes hard hats and gloves, eye and ear protection, and fall protection equipment. You should create your own list for each job you agree to, as projects can come with their own unique safety equipment requirements.
3. Get Your Contractor’s License
If you own a construction company, you need a contractor’s license. Many states, like Virginia, require them for any project that costs more than $1,000. If you plan to operate in a state that requires licensing, you need to begin preparing for the contractor’s exam.
If you’re in Virginia, preparing for your exam requires taking an eight-hour contractor’s exam prep course, which you can begin right now. By the time you’re done, you’ll be ready to ace your exam. If for some reason you don’t however, there’s a no pass-no pay policy that will prevent you from losing any money.
4. Have an Emergency Plan
An emergency can’t be predicted, but it can be prepared for. Create a plan that outlines what you and your employees should do in the event of an accident.
The plan should include having everyone fill out an emergency contact form, as well as medical forms. A copy of these should be kept on site. That way, you have the information on hand to turn over to paramedics if needed.
Additionally, you can have your team go through emergency first aid training. The Red Cross conducts first aid training throughout the country, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a class. In many states, you can even take the class online.
First aid training ensures that an injured employee can be properly cared for until emergency services arrive. This reduces the risk of more serious injury and hospital time.
5. Hire the Right People
Hiring the right employees is important in every business, but it’s especially important in the construction business. As the contractor, states like Virginia will hold you legally responsible for any injuries your crew causes. That makes it particularly important that all of your employees are professional, dependable, and safe.
Make sure you understand how to hire the right employees for your business before you start interviewing. Look at work records, safety records, and personal history to make sure an individual isn’t a liability.
It doesn’t hurt to hire only people with experience, but they can come at a higher price. Decide if you’re willing to train the right person or if you need someone who’s able to jump in right away. Knowing and using these five safety tips will prepare you for whatever challenges the construction business may throw at you.