There’s an excitement around construction sites.
Huge machines, mountains of dirt, big holes, piles of pavers — it means something bigger or better is on the way.
But those big machines, gaping holes and piles of supplies can be dangerous without lots of precautions.
Ryan Bramer, former Level Green Landscaping construction supervisor and now a management trainee, talks about creating a safe construction environment — both for employees and the tenants, visitors and pedestrians nearby.
Keeping Construction Crews Safe
Safety is a top priority at Level Green. Here are some of the precautions we take to ensure our workers are safe on active construction sites:
- Personal Protection Equipment. We call it PPE, for short. And it’s a crucial part of our work.
Personal protection equipment for each crew member includes earplugs, safety glasses, safety vests and masks. While some companies charge employees for these items, Level Green gives them out for free.
“We constantly remind crew members to wear their ear plugs, safety glasses and gloves,” Bramer says.
Safety vests are always required, and sometimes hard hats are needed, he says. Boots and long pants are musts on construction sites, Bramer says, and some workers like steel-toed shoes.
- Equipment training. Nobody at Level Green operates a skid steer, backhoe, bobcat or other big machinery without extensive training, Bramer says.
Level Green’s comprehensive safety program includes equipment and safety training and weekly “Tailgate Talk” meetings for crews that cover timely safety topics.
“We just had one on safe driving and keeping enough space between vehicles, especially if you’re pulling a trailer or if it's raining,” Bramer says. “We talked about maintaining safe speeds and a safe stopping distance.”
- Site walks. Operations managers walk the construction site before any work begins, Bramer says, to check for flags marking utilities, any hazards like overhead power lines and to get a sense of the surroundings. This is the time to mark any potential hazards.
“We plan where we’ll store supplies like pavers, or if we need to excavate, where we’ll safely pile that dirt,” he says.
- Keeping the site clean. A tidy site is a safe site, Bramer says, so crews keep debris picked up so nobody gets injured.
- High-visibility paint. Marking any protruding objects or hazards with bright orange or yellow paint ensures everybody sees potential trip hazards.
- Crews “circle check” trucks and trailers each morning before they head out, Bramer says. Are all tires safe? Trailers hooked up properly? Do all lights work?
- Lots of safety cones. Level Green owns about 200 bright yellow safety cones and another 200 orange safety triangle markers, to use on job sites to section off areas and for visibility when vehicles are parked along the road.
Crews also place safety cones around their parked trucks as a reminder to thoroughly check the area before driving away.
- Each vehicle has first aid kits and fire extinguishers on board, and the big equipment includes seat belts for operators.
Keeping Other People Safe
Construction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Life goes on all around it. Here’s how Level Green crews keep tenants, visitors and passersby safe around active construction sites:
- If work is done close to a sidewalk, a path is marked off with cones and caution tape to alert passersby and keep them a safe distance from the work, Bramer says.
- Chain link fencing panels secured with cement blocks direct people around the construction.
- “We use spotters for our big machines — an extra crew member standing behind,” he says. “It can be hard to see behind you.”
- High visibility paint marks potential hazards.
- Bright orange plastic safety caps top sections of protruding rebar.
- If we’re cutting pavers, which creates dust, crews stop when pedestrians approach so they can pass safely.
- We use plywood to section off the area if we’re grinding stumps, to keep debris from flying.
- Safety cones mark uneven pavement.
- Caution tape surrounds holes. If a hole is large and will be open for a length of time, we place steel plates over the top.
Construction Site Safety: A Top Priority At Level Green
At Level Green Landscaping, our company motto is “Do the Right Thing.” That means keeping your landscape not just beautiful, healthy and appealing, but safe for your employees and ours.
“We want people to go home with all their fingers and toes,” Bramer says. “We want clients and tenants to know we have a great reputation for safety.”
If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers.
Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.
Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.
We’d love to hear from you.