Good work practices

When you build your house, develop good work habits, and strongly encourage the same in your employees. Watch for dangerous practices and situations, and do not tolerate them.

Wear protective gear when appropriate.  Tie back long hair, and wear well fitting clothing. Leave the jewelry at home.

Keep all tools in good repair and all guards in place. Sharp tools are less dangerous than dull ones. Store them safely.

Keep your work site clean and uncluttered. I know I have said much of this before but to keep a work site safe it is worth emphasizing.

Make certain you and your employees are familiar with the tools, and know how they are used.

Loud unexpected noises can startle people and cause accidents. If you are going to drop a sledge hammer from the rafters onto the floor, give a warning.

Discourage smoking while working. It can be a fire hazard as well as a time waster.

Discourage the use of cell phones. They are distractions and thus dangerous. They can be huge time consumers as well.

accidentAbsolutely no alcohol or drugs should be allowed, nor should anybody be allowed to work while impaired. A hard drinking carpenter I know will not accept even one beer on a hot day while working. He says he likes his limbs and digits better than he likes the booze. Leave the drinks till the end of the work day. They will be appreciated all the more.

Start work at the same time each day, and use normal working hours, so that employees, delivery people, and inspectors know what to expect. Working overtime daily, to try to meet a schedule, is costly, and in my opinion not that productive. Tired employees slow down, and may not do good work. It is better to hire more people, if possible.  Building is hard work. Try to limit your days to 8 hours, and take weekends off. If you are building in your spare time, this is not going to be possible, but try not to overdo it. Imposing an irregular work schedule on employees will likely not be successful for long.

Do take a break every couple of hours for at least 10 minutes for coffee, snack or smoke. Don’t deduct this from an employees time. Camp chairs are nice for break time.

Take at least a half hour for lunch, and an hour if you are leaving the site to eat.

Don’t be afraid to treat yourself and your employees occasionally. Good work deserves a reward. Pizzas for lunch, or a cold beer after work, can go a long way towards keeping people loyal and productive.

Don’t forget toilet facilities, especially if you employ both sexes.

A source of cool drinking water is essential on hot days. You may want to have salt tablets available to guard against heat stroke.

A microwave or BBQ, and a coffee maker on site is nice, if it is inconvenient to leave the site for lunch.

Keep a good first aid kit nearby, and emergency services on speed dial on your cell phone.

Don’t be to stuck on using up the last few minutes in a work day. If you occasionally quit a little early ,your employees are less prone to complain if they need to work a little later once in awhile.

Pay regularly and on time. You can’t expect good work from people who are not sure if they will be paid. If some one should require an advance, I prefer to give an out of pocket loan, instead of going through the paperwork. Of course I expect to be paid back on payday.

When using tradespeople, be sure to schedule carefully, so people aren’t falling all over each other.

Don’t throw a fit over a mistake. Everybody will make one on occasion, and as long as no one is hurt, they should be more a source of amusement than a catastrophe. Expect good work from your employees, but understand that you may have to teach them some things. You may be able to learn from them as well, so listen to their input.

The better they work, the happier you will be.The happier they are, the better they will work.

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