BEST COMMUNICATION PRACTICES DURING CONSTRUCTION EMERGENCIES
BEST COMMUNICATION PRACTICES DURING CONSTRUCTION EMERGENCIES
As construction is generally a high-risk work, emergencies are bound to arise. Workers can find themselves in dangerous situations with no instant means of communicating with other team members. This can lead to disastrous consequences. In large worksites or warehouses, this can be especially hazardous as some workers might get into an emergency situation without any nearby point-of-contact. That is why it’s essential for the construction managers to implement an effective and efficient safety communication protocol. By ensuring that an effective communication protocol is there during emergencies, the managers can make sure that all workers stay informed and ready when any crisis strikes, be it a natural disaster, an injury, or any other unforeseen event.
    Here are some of the best communication practices companies should use in construction emergencies:
      • Equipping the Workers with Radios
          Most project managers provide their workers with some type of portable mobile device. Usually, this portable device is a cell phone. While cell phones are quite effective for normal communication, they may not be able to deliver immediacy required in emergencies. Whether a worker is caught in a hazardous situation or trying to warn other team members of an impending danger, using voicemail and dial tones can cost him valuable minutes. The project manager should therefore equip their workers with two-way radios. These radios are the most efficient way to communicate in emergency situations as they provide a direct line to other team members who need to be informed of the matter at hand.
            Two-way radios also come with several other valuable emergency features, such as Man Down feature which allows the radios to detect if there is a lack of movement of if a radio is in horizontal position. This basically suggests that a worker has collapsed. It generates a chirp sound which notifies nearby radios that something has gone wrong.  Moreover, these radios have an emergency alert button which allows the workers to send out a network-wide alert in emergency situations with a simple push of a button.  This feature is especially useful in situations where dangers like fire, an incoming natural disaster, or suspicious figures on the worksite may be present.
            • Implementing a PA System
                If the worksite is more contained, then a PA system may be a more efficient route for communicating emergencies. This system allows the managers and operators to send a mass-announcement to employees on the worksite of an impending danger. There are many PA systems that have a reach of up to two miles, making them operational for even outdoor worksites. However, it is very important to limit the access of PA system to relevant departments, such as HR or management, in order to avoid false alarms.
                • Encouraging “Buddy System” Among Workers
                    The project managers should promote buddy system among their employees to improve worksite safety. Buddy System is very crucial when it comes to communicating in emergency situations. On hazardous construction sites, workers who have to perform risky tasks should be encouraged to do them with a partner. Having a co-worker along is essential in situations where one worker gets caught in an emergency, as that other member can return to the management to seek help.
                    • Equipping Workers with Wearable GPS Devices
                        These devices can easily be clipped on hip or wrist. Being unobtrusive, wearable GPS devices allow workers to easily continue their work without any interference, and they also help managers in keeping track of their workers’ whereabouts. They are helpful on larger construction sites, especially in a situation where an alert has been received from worker’s radio. It allows project managers and the team to easily locate the worker in danger, and thus reduces the risk of more destructive consequences.