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What does a Construction Safety Officer do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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A construction safety officer monitors residential, commercial and industrial construction sites to make sure that they comply with safety standards established by local and regional agencies to protect workers. She may also conduct training sessions to educate workers and supervisors on safe workplace procedures and ways to protect themselves and their environment from harm. Her job normally requires her to regularly visit all types of locations where buildings are being constructed or renovated. She may be employed by a construction company or by a local or regional governing agency.

Training for this position varies according to the nature of the work being performed at the job sites. Common topics include keeping accurate incident records, how to prevent accidents, and how to train employees to implement safe practices into their daily work routines. Other subjects for discussion typically include safe equipment operation, ergonomics, safe lifting procedures, and choosing appropriate protective gear and clothing.

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In addition to lecturing on safety and inspecting the general appearance of construction sites for potential safety hazards, a construction safety officer normally examines the tools, equipment, and machinery at the sites. She is generally required to document and report to authorities any infractions she discovers and advise the person in charge of the site to correct the hazards. If the violation poses an immediate threat, she is commonly authorized to issue an order to cease work. Checking safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and alarms for current certifications is also a typical part of the job.

The construction safety officer usually must report to her governing boards on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. In the interim, detailed records on work site conditions are regularly required. If violations persist, a hearing is usually scheduled and the safety officer is often called on to provide testimony regarding her observations, recommendations, and actions. In the event of a serious accident or injury at a construction site, she is typically called on to investigate the scene and report her findings to the appropriate authorities.

As part of the group of officers that monitor safety and health conditions in other workplace environments, a construction safety officer provides input at meetings and seminars designed to increase awareness and develop new approaches and solutions to increase safety. She often makes presentations to construction industry groups on safe construction site practices. If an expert opinion on construction site safety is required, the safety officer is frequently called upon to provide input.

Applicants for this job are normally required to have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, industrial management, engineering, safety engineering, or social sciences. Extra training in industrial hygiene, ergonomics, and industrial safety is desirable. Work experience in plant management or safety operations is a plus as well.

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anon344556
Post 4

If construction safety officers are out on location, how long can they be gone for?

indigomoth
Post 3

@clintflint - Following safety procedures does become second nature after a while, so I can see why someone might object to having to follow a checklist. I think it all comes down to the feel or the "culture" of a crew.

If everyone thinks it's funny to dangle off a high building, or to play practical jokes on each other in dangerous circumstances, then you will eventually have to pay for that.

On the other hand if everyone takes the job seriously and expects all their fellow workers to do the same, then everyone can be more confident. To me, the most important job of the safety officer is making sure that people have the right attitude.

clintflint
Post 2

@anon262784 - Absolutely. There have been a few studies on how accidents and long term mistakes can be cut by a really big percentage if the people who are working on a site follow checklists strictly, and I think that the safety officer should be in charge ultimately, of making sure that the checklists are all in order.

People tend to get arrogant and think they know how to do their job without needing a reminder. But we're all human and when safety is at risk, it's better to be safe than sorry!

anon262784
Post 1

Safety in construction sites is major issue. In order to avoid risks or injuries, workers should follow the instructions on how to prevent these injuries.

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