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10 Safety Tips for Green Building

Shutterstock ID: 1038791134, Photographer: Dmitry Kalinovsky



Even well-planned projects that took years to begin can become hazardous for workers. There are many risk factors when building commercial or residential sites, even when they include the latest eco-friendly technology. These 10 safety tips for green building will provide teams with a few precautions that make any project safer and easier.

1. Inspect the Building’s Condition

Some green building projects don’t start from scratch. When adding onto or renovating a property, always inspect the building’s current condition. Malfunctioning electrical writing or old piping could hurt or flood the team when they arrive to work.

A quick inspection will also reveal any potential sustainable additions the site needs. Getting ahead of problems before they occur is always better for everyone involved. Companies gain employee respect and enjoy better standing in the community because management cares about their team members and their projects’ quality.

2. Use Edge Fall Protection

While constructing a multi-story building or working on a home’s second story, edge fall protection saves lives. It only takes moments to install and makes it easier for workers to install requested energy-efficient windows and reduce the property’s energy usage. Ensure that the netting isn’t fraying or otherwise damaged before installing.

Replacing older materials and recycling them is a worthy investment in site safety and employee protection.

3. Double Check Scaffolding

Scaffolding provides the necessary support for in-progress projects, but it typically uses traditional materials. Switch to eco-friendly alternatives without compromising site safety by opting for bamboo scaffolding.

Bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly materials because it matures in three to five years, compared to trees that take decades to do the same. Site managers can also use reclaimed wood for some scaffolding and platforms if they want more options.

4. Install Safety Netting

Heavy-duty safety netting is nonnegotiable for any construction project. They’re an extra form of protection against falls that happen while installing sustainable roofing materials or setting up solar panels. If any supplies fall, the net can catch those too.

5. Compare Eco-Friendly Materials

There are a few ways construction project managers can compare eco-friendly materials for upcoming sites. Research options like bamboo, reclaimed wood and precast concrete slabs. The information could transform a project and make it greener than previously planned.

Eco-friendly materials might exist naturally or use green production methods to cut down on resource waste. It’s essential to review every option and potentially re-use existing foundational parts, especially if a project requires LEED certification.

6. Remember Face Protection

Construction workers spend most of their time out in the sun, handling tools that could easily cause injuries with a single mistake or distracted moment. New green buildings or renovations require new procedures that could also be new to some team members, increasing the risk of injuries.

A recent study found a 36% increase in injuries from lacerations on properties intended for LEED certification, a popular method to guarantee energy efficiency. Providing face protection for every team member with masks and safety glasses is necessary for sustainable construction projects.

Mitigating these odds is part of determining vulnerabilities and managing risks before beginning a new site so everyone remains safe.

7. Define Proper Clothing

Dress codes may seem limited to grade schools and offices, but every construction team should have one as well. The right clothing shields workers from dangers like sunburns and skin irritation from dust. Some team members might have experience and know what to wear, but management shouldn’t assume that everyone’s on the same page.

One of the best safety tips for green building workers is defining proper clothing. Outline required protective apparel such as:

  • Jeans
  • Long sleeve shirts
  • Work boots

It’s also crucial for people to wear safety gloves and earplugs around dangerous materials and loud machinery. Requiring these clothes and enforcing them when someone breaks the dress code reduces the chance of injuries and ensures a timely site completion.

8. Establish Shoe Guidance

Shoes can also protect or harm team members. They provide proper arch support for workers who spend all day on their feet. Employees will have more job satisfaction and retain their health if they don’t deal with daily back and neck pain related to improper shoes.

Establish team-wide shoe guidance so everyone knows what to wear. Slip-resistance and puncture-proof soles are essential on any site. Boots with safety-toes like metal caps will also prevent machinery or supplies from crushing toes.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines construction foot protection with the same specifications, so including them in the company dress code ensures safety and OSHA compliance.

9. Provide Proper Headgear

Anyone on a green construction site should wear proper headgear. Management should provide hard hats to anyone entering a site, even if it’s the client requesting a quick tour. They shelter people from falling debris and hitting their head on materials while working.

Even if a site uses solar energy or underground heating systems, electric shock injuries are still a potential risk during different construction phases. Hard hats draw electricity away from the people wearing them, reducing the risk of electric shock while working around frayed wiring and other electrical systems.

The right headgear will also provide extra light during late work hours in the winter or overnight shifts. Anyone working near or past sunset should have access to hats with headlamps and face shields for extra protection during riskier hours.

10. Keep Recycling Close

Traditional construction sites set up massive dumpsters for waste, which end up in local landfills. Green building projects can use the same containers for recycling and make employees safer by keeping that bin on-site. It minimizes how far team members have to go to get rid of waste properly.

Without repeatedly going on and off-site, teams deal with less foot traffic and maintain their safety better. No one will accidentally walk through an area with falling debris or disrupt a multi-person effort that requires focus. It makes recycling more manageable and improves the sustainability of any construction site.

Use Safety Tips for Green Building

Everyone can use these safety tips for green building projects. They’re both personal and company responsibilities that require supporting each other so every site is safer for everyone involved and kinder on the environment.

Jane covers topics in green technology and construction. She also works as the Editor-in-Chief of

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