Keys to Success for the Construction Foreman

A construction foreman is the lead position on a specific project in the construction industry. The foreman is responsible for a number of different elements of both project management and employee relations for each job. A good foreman is said by many engineers to be the keystone of projects.


Therefore, how do you become a successful construction foreman?

Commitment to health and safety

To get workers to care about safety, management must show that they care about them:

Let your workers know that safety is not an option or convenience. It is a company value and a requirement.

Expect your workers to use safe work practices, schedule regular weekly site safety meetings with all workers.

Walk your sites daily, correct any hazards you can, report hazards you cannot correct to the superintendent.

Plan and organize jobs

Pre-planning and organizing each phase of a job can help in meeting schedules while making work safer and smoother, sure they are effective:

  • Shut down that part of the job where life-threatening conditions are present.
  • Recognize individual workers who use safe work practices and serve as an example to other workers.

Schedule enough workers to do the job

When the schedule is tight, workers tend to take shortcuts and get careless. Be careful not to overwork your crew:

  • Schedule a full work crew. When there are enough workers to help each other with heavy tasks, your chances of losing crew members to injuries will be reduced.
  • Look for signs of fatigue, especially in workers who work extended hours or unusual schedules.

Train workers in job processes and tool use

Although workers might have done the same job before, every work environment is somewhat different:

  • Train new workers on your company’s safety policies and procedures before they start work
  • Encourage the buddy system by having new workers learn from experienced workers
  • Train workers to select and use the right tool for the job, and correct them when necessary.
  • Be sure that workers do not use broken or defective tools. Replace and maintain tools.
  • Alert workers to changing working conditions, such as extreme heat, rain or slippery surfaces.

Consider your options

Work may involve heavy lifting, awkward postures and repetition:

  • Provide mechanical equipment or co-worker assistance when possible.
  • Rotate individual job tasks among workers within the same job and skill level when machines, tools or equipment are not available to do the work. By sharing jobs, workers are less likely to get injured.

Learn from your past accidents and near-misses

You can prevent future injuries if you understand what caused an accident or a near miss:

  • Investigate accidents and near misses to find their cause.
  • Brainstorm with your workers to discuss how the job can be improved.
  • Make changes and then follow-up to make sure they are effective.
  • Shut down that part of the job where life-threatening conditions are presents.
  • Recognize individual workers who use safe work practices and serve as an example to other workers.

Encourage rest breaks and frequent hydration

Workers who feel healthy and energized tend to be more productive with better work quality, particularly in the afternoon hours:

  • Be aware of fast-paced schedules, especially during the summer heat. Allow a few more rest breaks. This will reduce fatigue and may prevent costly re-work.
  • Encourage your workers to take short walks to pick up tools. This provides a few minutes of rest.
  • Provide plenty of water and encourage your workers to drink frequently.
  • Remember, heat illness can kill in less than one hour of exposure to extreme heat and humidity.

As a foreman, you are in a key position to help increase your company’s work production while reducing on the job injuries – Let’s become a successful construction foreman.




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