Construction Site Injuries & Tips for Safety
The world needs construction workers. In 2017, it’s expected that the number of new construction starts in the United States will be 5% higher than in 2016, continuing a trend of growth in the construction industry. With all those new homes and commercial buildings going up, more construction workers are needed to help build them.
While construction workers are such an important part of the American workforce, construction sites can be extremely dangerous places to work. It’s estimated that 5,000 construction workers are killed on the job each year while approximately 150,000 more construction workers are injured.
When a job site involves using machinery, working at heights, and working with many types of heavy materials, it’s very easy for construction accidents to happen. However, some causes of accidents are more common than others. OSHA cites the “fatal four” most common causes of construction site fatalities as being falls, being struck by an object, electrocutions, and being caught in or between equipment. According to OSHA, if these four types of construction accidents were eliminated, about 600 lives would be saved every year.
With so many possible risks on the job, it’s important that construction site managers make sure all workers have the tools they need to stay safe. Making safety a priority benefits everybody since not only are workers protected, you’ll be avoiding the high costs that come with accidents and preventing delays in the job. An excellent place to start is by providing safety training for all workers and holding regular safety meetings. That way, all workers are familiar with your safety procedures and are kept up to date with your best practices.
You’ll also need to make sure all workers have adequate safety gear that’s regularly inspected to make sure it’s still safe to be used. You’ll need to provide workers with personal protective equipment like high-visibility clothing, slip-resistant boots, protective eyewear, gloves, hard hats, and ear protection. When workers are working at elevated heights, they need things like harnesses, strong scaffolding, and guardrails to prevent falls. If people are working in trenches, you’re going to need to take special measures to prevent cave-ins.
In many cases, construction accidents are caused by simple fatigue. Working on a construction site involves a lot of manual labor and when the weather is hot, it’s easy for a person to get tired sooner than they normally would. When workers are tired, they’re more likely to be less attentive, cut corners, or make dangerous mistakes. Make sure workers take frequent breaks so they don’t get overly-tired and are better able to focus on their jobs.
Special safety measures will also need to be taken throughout the year as weather conditions change. For example, during the summer, workers need to have access to plenty of water on the job and protection from the sun. Make sure they have a shaded area where they can take breaks. At all times of the year, construction site managers need to keep a close eye on weather forecasts so that they’ll be aware of any weather-related dangers they could be facing.
Lastly, one of the best ways to avoid construction accidents is to make sure all equipment used on a job is regularly inspected and maintained. The longer equipment and tools are used, the more likely it is that it’ll become worn and damaged, rendering it unsafe to use.