Todd Jerome Jenkins, MS, CSP, SMS, CHST, STSC

Safety Aficionado & Ph.D. Student

What is a Site-Specific Safety Plan?

“What is a site-specific safety plan” is a question I’ve been asked many times throughout my career as a safety professional. First, a site-specific safety plan is not your company’s safety policy manual.

A site-specific safety plan (SSSP or 3SP) is a pre-project plan that addresses how you will control the hazards associated with the scope of work on a specific project. In other words, a site-specific safety plan is how you will safely execute work for a specific scope of work on a specific project.

Writing your first 3SP can be an intimidating task. There are a few approaches that can be taken to develop a 3SP. Hopefully, this post will take away some of the mystery and give you some good starting points to consider when you need to write your next 3SP.

Why the need for 3SP?

A few reasons; first, people keep getting hurt and dying at work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 1.2 million injuries resulted in someone missing one or more days of work (Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, 2020 – 2020 A01 Results, n.d.). Additionally, 4,4765 people in 2020 suffered a work-related injury that resulted in a fatality every 2 minutes (Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) – Current and Revised Data, n.d.). We can do better than that. The second reason is that every project aims to be delivered according to specification and budget. Planning is the best way to achieve any goal (Burkart, 2002).

Where to start?

An excellent question, and if you’ve ever been tasked with writing a 3SP, you’ve probably asked it. The best place is to start with the request for proposal (RFP) process. You may get an odd look if you’ve never asked to review the contract as a safety professional. You want to look for the safety section of the contract. Most contracts have boilerplate language about following OSHA; if that is the case, you’ll only need the project’s scope. Your PM or estimator should be able to give you a scope statement. If the section has any length to it, look for safety nets, height triggers, ladder policies, cell phone use, and anywhere a contractor client could go above and beyond without impacting their cost. Burkart (2002) suggests using a site-specific plan form that includes a pre-bid survey, a site survey, a project safety assessment, pre-start requirements for each contractor onsite, training, and inspection requirements/schedule. The most critical piece is the scope. You have to know what work is going to take place.

What should be in the plan?

You’ll want to address the hazard associated with the scope of work. There are some other boilerplate items that every plan should include as well:

  • Company’s safety policy statement or statement from the owner/president/CEO about their commitment to safety
  • Scope of the plan, what’s in the bucket and what is not in the bucket.
  • Logistics for the project
  • What to do in an emergency, including where the nearest medical treatment facility is?
  • How do you manage safety on the site, AHA/JSA/ JHA, pre-task planning, audits and inspections, safety meetings, and project orientation?
  • Any owner or contractor-specific requirements may include calling security instead of 911, or trigger heights for fall protection may be less than regulatory required.
  • Project safety requirements for the specific scope of work. This section is where you address fall protection plans, confined space entry, and work from MEWPs. If you do not use a crane on this project, do not include your company’s crane safety policy. It is not relevant.

Using 3D-4D modeling

If you have access to someone that uses Building Information Modeling (BIM), it can be a powerful tool when creating a 3SP. Using BIM to create 3D models is a relatively new concept. While I have talked about this concept with several colleagues, I only know one who implemented the process as part of their work procedure for writing 3SPs. I also found one article, Construction safety planning: Site-specific temporal and spatial information integration (Choe & Leite, 2017), that discussed an actual implementation model. Using BIM may be the next big thing to improve the safety planning process. Using BIM will help with logistic planning, communicating the plan to interested parties, and identifying areas to design for safety (Azhar & Behringer, 2013).


The site-specific safety plan is a plan that should address the scope of work and associated hazards. There are many items to consider when developing a 3SP. Identifying any contractual requirements and reviewing the scope with the project manager and the assigned supervisor, superintendent, or foreman is essential. Consider input from subcontractors and include any requirements the client or contractor has in their safety plan. Planning goes a long way when it comes to safety.


Azhar, S., & Behringer, A. (2013). A BIM-based Approach for Communicating and Implementing a Construction Site Safety Plan. 8.

Burkart, M. J. (2002). “Wouldn’t it Be Nice if” &hellips! Practice Periodical on Structural Design & Construction, 7(2), 61.

Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI)—Current and Revised Data. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2022, from

Choe, S., & Leite, F. (2017). Construction safety planning: Site-specific temporal and spatial information integration. Automation in Construction, 84, 335–344.

Employer-Reported Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, 2020—2020 A01 Results. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2022, from

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