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August 23, 2023

How to Create a Construction Site Safety Checklist

There’s no way around it: construction sites are dangerous.

Working on a construction site exposes contractors to various risks and hazards. These can include slip and fall accidents, machinery-related risks, or simply being exposed to adverse weather for prolonged periods.

As such, safety standards are a must. They protect you, your employees, and the public from avoidable accidents by ensuring everyone is on the same page. Cohesion of processes and protocols is hugely important. But how can you set these standards?

A construction site safety checklist is a great place to start. We’ll discuss everything you need to include on yours in this blog—and how to put it into action!

What Does a Construction Site Safety Include?

Typically, they outline a list of instructions or procedures a company should follow to improve safety at work. It ensures your contractors are upholding standardized safety and health regulations in their everyday work.

Site safety checklists often detail safety best practices such as wearing protective gear and how often equipment should be serviced. These are typically used alongside safety audits and other evaluations, where the entire team examines the project site to ensure all safety regulations are being met.

As a starting point, every checklist should follow the standards set by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).

With that being said, there is no one-size-fits-all checklist. Each should be tailored to its respective job site to meet the unique requirements of each contract, taking into consideration all the relevant factors (which we will discuss in a moment).

Employers and company owners in Canada have a legal responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect their employees. This includes providing safety training to ensure employees have a clear understanding of the risks they face while on the job as well as how they can avoid accidents or fatal injuries.

A site inspection checklist.

Your Site Safety Checklist: From Creation to Action

We’ve broken down the process of creating a site safety checklist into six steps—make sure you follow them all to keep your people safe!

    1. Identify Potential Hazards

Start by familiarizing yourself with the risks and hazards you and your employees are liable to face while working. This portion of your research should take into consideration the ins and outs of your machinery and equipment, the type of job, and the climate.

In gathering your data, make sure you:

  • Conduct a routine check of the construction site and note down any hazardous materials or substances found on the site
  • Review your project plan consistently so you can spot-check any hazards related to a specific process or task.
  • Check in with your team members and other stakeholders—they might have identified some hazards you missed
  • Review any incident reports from previous projects to help you gather more data and identify trends in present risks or hazards.
  • Assess the working environment and try to identify dangers within normal situations—such as fluctuating temperatures, poor air circulation, or bad lighting—that could affect your employees.

    2. Review Relevant Regulations

Evaluate all related health and safety protocols identified by the CCOHS and OHSA to ensure you’re not missing anything important in your checklist.

These regulations differ depending on the province or territory, so be sure you’re looking at the right ones for your site. However, taking good notes will help make this step easier the next time you’re creating a checklist for a project in the same area.

    3. Check In With Your Team

Once you’ve assembled the framework of your checklist, you should consult with your team members to see what they think should be included—omissions can be costly, so ensure you’re doing your due diligence here.

Ask them for feedback and ideas on how to circumvent the hazards they identified in step one. It will be much easier to teach the checklist and get them to buy into new procedures if they felt involved in its creation.

    4. Create Your Site Safety Checklist

Now it’s time to create the checklist using everything you’ve gathered.

Make sure it covers all of the dangers you and your team members have identified, and include standard protocols for resolving or mitigating these risks. Avoid jargon and keep the language simple so your construction safety tips are easy to understand.

A group of contractors in a meeting.

    5. Review Your Work Carefully

You should review your checklist on a micro and macro level.

First, look at it as a whole. Did you include everything that needs to be there? Walk yourself through it to ensure you didn’t miss anything important—it can be easy to overlook steps when you get in a zone or start thinking too narrowly.

Next, review each point in detail. Review the items or action points on your checklist individually to ensure all the necessary protocols are included. Pay extra attention to the steps related to tools and equipment, updating as necessary.

    6. Train Your Employees

You can’t just deliver a checklist—you need to teach site safety training!

Explain the reasoning behind each action point, including how your workers can incorporate these items into their day-to-day work. This will reinforce the importance of the checklist and ensure your team members know how to use it.

Ensure everyone can access your checklist, too. Digital copies will go a long way toward ensuring no one ever “loses” the checklist. Furthermore, digital options may provide more accessibility features for those who may need them.

Feel Safer On Site With Contractors Insurance

Here’s the hard truth: sometimes a construction site safety checklist isn’t enough to keep people safe on the job. Accidents happen and people get hurt. That’s why having the right insurance coverage is crucial.

As a specialized insurance brokerage, Contractors Insurance is ready to assist you with your insurance needs. We provide the construction industry with customized insurance policies that protect them against financial losses.

Contact us today to get started with a quick quote!


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