The construction industry is one of the largest in the county, and due to the nature of the work, can also be one of the most dangerous. In 2018, more than 20% of on-the-job fatalities occurred in the construction industry. You read that right - one out of every five deaths in the workplace happened on a construction site. Many of the most common jobsite hazards are easy to avoid with a little bit of training and preparation.
What are the most common safety concerns on today’s construction site and how can you avoid them?
Navigating the Fatal Four Hazards on Your Construction Project
When talking about construction site hazards, one of the most common things you’ll learn is how to navigate what OSHA calls the Fatal Four -- the four events most likely to cause on the job fatalities. The four most common construction safety hazards are:
Each has its own causes and challenges that supervisors and site managers need to address to keep their team safe on the job.
Any time a worker is above ground level, there is the risk for a fall. The easiest way to prevent these injuries and potential fatalities is to ensure that everyone is using the correct fall arrest equipment whenever they’re off the ground. Install perimeter protection around the edges of current projects, and make sure to mark any openings clearly.
Struck-by events can range from annoying to devastating, depending on the size and mass of the object involved. Ensure that everyone is aware of moving objects on the job site at all times, and do not allow anyone to walk or work between moving and fixed objects. High visibility clothing should also be a requirement on these sites.
Preventing Caught In/Between
Caught in/between events most often happen in trenches or other excavation projects. Ensure that no one is allowed into unprotected excavation sites, especially before protection systems are installed. Even if it looks solid, there’s no guarantee that it is.
Everyone on the job site needs to be aware of potential electrical hazards, from overhead or buried power lines to portable equipment with frayed or damaged power cords. Inspect all work spaces carefully before beginning to ensure that all potential electrical hazards are addressed. Train employees on proper lockout/tagout procedures for any equipment that you may need to take offline for repairs.
Dealing with Weather Hazards
Weather conditions in different parts of the world each present their own unique hazards that you’ll need to be prepared for. Both extreme heat and extreme cold can put employees at risk and you’ll have to address each one differently.
For extreme cold temperatures, ensure that everyone is wearing enough layers of clothing to stay warm. Focus on parts of the body that may be at more risk for injury in the cold, such as the fingers and ears. Provide heated spaces for your team to take breaks during the day. Providing warm drinks might be a good idea too.
For hot weather, shade and frequent breaks are going to be your best friend. Try to avoid working during the peak daylight hours between 10am and 3pm so your team and their equipment isn’t spending the entire day in direct sunlight. Work early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Preventing Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries occur, as their name suggests, when an employee does the same motion over and over for long periods. Overexertion, which can be very common in the construction industry, only makes them worse.
Encourage proper lifting techniques through both training and practice. In some situations, you may even want to consider implementing some low-grade automation for mundane tasks to prevent these injuries from occurring.
Ensure your construction team returns home safe
Each year many workers are killed or injured on construction projects. Construction is one of the most hazardous occupations. But it does not have to be like this. You can ensure that your construction project is safe, and that you and your team work safely without injury, by taking a few extra precautions and ensuring your team understand the hazards of construction.
Author Bio: Rose Morrison is a freelance writer who covers construction and building design topics. She is also the managing editor for Renovated.
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The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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