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Construction Safety Checklist

Hospital Safety Center Website, June 22, 2007

Construction Safety Checklist

The following construction safety checklist was developed by Ken Weinberg, PhD, president, Safdoc Systems, LLC, Stoughton, MA, and former director of safety, Massachusetts General Hospital. The checklist may be used by health care facilities during the planning stages of construction or renovation projects to help determine elements to be addressed in a job site safety and health program.

CONSTRUCTION SAFETY CHECKLIST

Pre-Work Procedures

Steps that should be taken prior to the beginning of construction projects to assure that patient and employee safety requirements are met include the following:

Assign an in-house project manager. Even if you hire an outside contractor (or especially if you hire an outside contractor) there needs to be a project manager who works for and is responsible to the institution for all aspects of the project, including compliance with safety and industrial hygiene requirements.

A safety representative should review the project, including scope, location, etc., with the project manager and with the architect, engineer, and contractor. During this review, a process somewhat like a site hazard assessment takes place. Review all of the portions of the project that may impact patients and employees of the institution. Similarly, operations, practices, etc., that may affect the contractors also should be reviewed.

Review Process

Look at all of the operations that the project will encompass and affect, including:

  • demolition,
  • creation of dust,
  • noise,
  • vibration,
  • release of mold/fungus,
  • asbestos removal,
  • lead paint,
  • alteration of life safety equipment and components, and
  • what materials will be used.

Assure that the company is aware of hazard communication standards, supplies material safety data sheets (MSDSs), and communicates hazards to hospital staff.

Make recommendations to:

  • assemble barriers,
  • use negative air machines,
  • substitute for harmful materials,
  • perform necessary monitoring,
  • assure filings are made for asbestos removal, etc.

Pre-plan at this stage for potential problems like broken pipes that can cause floods, result in odors being released, etc.

Assure that contractors are properly cleared and fit-tested for respirator use and have appropriate PPE and use it.

Check chemicals to assure contractors are using only approved products, i.e., replacement of more harmful with less harmful, organic soluble with water soluble cements, oil-based with water-based paints, and so on.

Inform contractors about in-house requirements regarding notification of work and permits such as for drilling, welding, making penetrations, shutting off fire and smoke detector systems, etc.

Remind contractors about JCAHO life safety requirements, including the need for practice drills and, when needed, initiation of interim life safety measures (ILSM).

Inform contractors of the need for a fire watch when welding, cutting, or burning.

Prepare a checklist (somewhat like an environmental impact statement) to review how proposed work may affect patient care areas and how adverse effects can be avoided.

Training

To best effect training, conduct certification classes for project managers in topics such as:

  • safety,
  • industrial hygiene,
  • infection control, and
  • hospital policies and procedures.

NOTE: Once certified, project managers can then be more effective in training and dealing with contractors who work in the institution.

Contractors should be trained and oriented about hospital fire safety and safety practices that will affect them.

Contractors should be informed about the hazards or adverse events that might affect them or that they need to be aware of while working in the hospital or in a specific location.

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