Promoting Environmental Safety On Jobsites

Photo by Guilherme Cunha on Unsplash

More robust safety standards on active jobsites have been established in recent years, but construction firms across New York should also assess their approaches and preparedness regularly when it comes to environmental hazards. What many firms don’t know is that environmental and biological hazards already plague jobsites. These pose serious health and safety risks and are largely unregulated. The risk that environmental hazards bring to a worksite can be very tangible if handled improperly. Fortunately, companies can create an umbrella of standards for environmental awareness by enrolling employees in the right training.

Certified Environmental Remediation Training (CERT) sessions are a training initiative developed by the Environmental Contractors Association (ECA) that prepare contracting employees to recognize and respond to potential environmental hazards on their worksites with a standard of industry safety protocol. CERT offers a range of hazard and containment training for mold, lead, flood damage, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and biological pathogens.

Creating Active Bystanders
Though in some cities, each jobsite must designate a construction superintendent, site safety coordinator or site safety manager to complete mandatory general safety courses, construction firms can train even more employees through CERT to build greater safety awareness through specialized education for dealing with environmental and biological hazards. The CERT programs are developed by the ECA in close collaboration with legislators, government agencies, academic organizations and industry experts to establish best practices, standards, procedures and safety initiatives.

Placing informed and trained employees on jobsites decreases the chances of hazards going unnoticed, and employees can more effectively recognize and intervene to prevent dangerous situations from occurring. Training site workers not only protects workers and the general public, it helps avoid accidents that can halt construction and create costly project delays. Training sessions benefit on-site workers while also reducing risk and liability for contracting companies and encourage the protection of property and facilities.

Safety training that directly covers jobsite hazards is available including mold remediation practices, disposal of lead-based products and removal of potential biological pathogen contaminants. Each session teaches trainees to recognize the source of an environmental hazard by questioning what the hazard may look like, where it can be found, whether or not it is regulated, when it is most likely to arise and how to engage the appropriate licensed professionals to mitigate impact and bring about effective remediation.

Going Above & Beyond
Providing hazard education can help create an even safer work environment, and construction firms can become industry safety leaders by ensuring that employees receive CERT-specific education and training related to environmental hazards. With such a standard in effect, all workers responding to an environmental emergency will have received the same training and can meet the same standards.

What You Can Do
Throughout the New York metro area, CERT courses and training are available for all active jobsite employees, ranging from general awareness courses to more advanced material geared toward professionals and supervisors. Environmental and biological hazards can be largely preventable and remain contained if the proper training is provided to workers to recognize potential threats and act on their knowledge.

Consider taking the proactive approach to safety by educating your employees to establish new initiatives, practices and standards on your jobsites for 2020.

Morris Napolitano
CERT Institute
5 Penn Plaza, 19th floor
New York, NY 10001