Health & Safety At Work

By Jarrid Houston, Specifications Writer

There is an old saying in the Construction Industry that states, “safety comes at a cost”. In today’s current climate, that statement has significant meaning to each of us. The amount of time, money, and energy put into safety initiatives can create significant costs, but also can create value. If not executed properly, the consequences, other than injuries, can also lead to lost wages and prolonged schedules.

In today’s construction world, OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) reports that nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites across the nation on any given day. The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all industries.

Most hazards come in the form of:

• Falls
• Structure collapse
• Electric shock
• Burns
• Failure to use PPE
• Repetitive motion injuries, specifically back injuries

At DSGW, we know how valuable a safety plan is and we consider it to be one of the most important processes needed for a project. Plans should include, but are not limited to:

• Training of new job-site employees
• What hospital(s) would be used for emergency situations
• What types of daily inspections are required
• What types of PPEs will be needed
• How and when to file an accident report
• Drug testing
• Housekeeping procedures

When budgeting for a project, it’s important to include a portion directly tied to the safety and other front-end logistics. Consider the cost of the PPEs, time to review job-site parameters, and number of workers that could be impacted. Given the nature of the project scope, size, and other variables, safety cost can vary significantly and is important to every plan.

Safety continues to be an integral part of our planning process with our clients, and with the recent Covid-19 virus crisis, safety plans will take on a new meaning. Currently, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) as well as OSHA, have established updated guidelines.

Special considerations will have to be taken into account for:

• Cleaning and disinfecting the worksite in preparation for construction activity.
• How the project will maintain any state-mandated workplace protocols, as it relates to Covid-19, such as social distancing parameters.
• How daily management of work crews will need to change.
• Consideration will also need to be taken if the workforce should be contaminated. Policies and procedures should be identified prior to ground-breaking to maintain the project schedule.

Overall integration of a safety plan will need to be re-thought and executed by our industry as the next few months unfold. DSGW remains committed to supporting our clients and working with you on implementing the most up-to-date safety measures to protect our valuable workforce.

For more information on OSHA or AGC guidelines, please visit:


Stay safe out there,


About Jarrid Houton, Specifications Writer for DSGW Architects

Jarrid has acquired important safety credentials throughout his career. As a former Construction Project Manager, he has spent time working in the Mines on the Iron-Range and is certified as a United States Coast Guard Charter Captain. His resume has become robust with tags including but not limited to: OSHA training, MSHA Training, First Aid and CPR. Not only are these certifications important, but for the type of work they reflect they are often required.

His career has afforded him the opportunity to gain experience from different projects that give him a wide-range of experience in safety-cultures. Key jobsites include: Minntac, Murphy Oil, Minnesota Power, BP-British Petroleum, BN & CN Railroads, General Mills and several commercial construction projects.

Jarrid’s varied background has provided the depth and experience needed to become an important member of the DSGW Team as our trusted Specification Writer.