With heavy machinery, hefty materials, and unsecured items, a construction site is a dangerous place to be, even for the most experienced worker. In 2018, construction workers accounted for 47% of all recorded fatal work injuries. The four most common accidents on a construction site, respectively, are:
- Getting hit by an object;
- Getting caught between two objects.
These four types of accidents are responsible for 58.6% of construction worker deaths. Most companies carry extensive types of construction insurance but it’s also up to the workers to remain diligent about staying safe.
As a construction worker, staying mentally and physically healthy in the workplace is the best way to remain safe. Following the tips below will also help ensure you stay accident- and injury-free on the job.
Wear Protective Gear
What you wear to the construction site directly affects your health and safety on the job. Wearing the right protective gear may help prevent injuries, such as burns, bruises, or scrapes.
The type of essential gear you need to wear depends on the site and your job duties. However, your supervisor may suggest that you wear certain items to stay safe and comfortable while meeting regulations, such as:
- Knee pads;
- Safety goggles;
- Reflective clothing;
Inspect your protective gear each day to ensure it’s in good condition and fits properly.
Keep the Site Clean
After a long day on the job, you may be tempted to simply head home when you’ve completed your tasks. However, following the proper procedures for cleaning up after your construction job is completed is important for your safety and the safety of other workers at the site.
In 2018, falls accounted for 77,490 injuries and 1,008 deaths on construction sites. When you leave materials or equipment out, they become tripping hazards, which can lead to falls. By storing equipment properly and putting away tools at the end of each day, you remove these tripping hazards and reduce the risk of yourself or a co-worker being injured in a fall.
Start With Inductions
A site induction is a meeting between construction workers and supervisors to inform these workers about the specifics of the job. During this briefing, planning/ scheduling, unique safety hazards, and expectations are discussed.
Responsibilities are assigned to each worker so everyone on the site knows who to report to for certain issues. Additionally, a site induction should include:
- A map and layout overview of the site.
- Site rules.
- An overview of emergency procedures.
- Fire safety guidelines.
- First aid information.
- Cleanliness expectations.
With this information, workers better understand how to stay safe at work and can remain more aware of their surroundings on the site.
In 2018, 61 fatalities occurred at construction sites in the U.S. due to unsafe scaffolding. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), injury or death can occur from faulty scaffolding due to:
- Falling from the platform;
- Collapsing of the platform;
- Being hit by tools that fell from scaffolding;
- Electrocution if the platform is close to power lines.
As a temporary platform that allows workers access to higher areas of a building, it’s crucial that scaffolding is built and maintained properly. Depending on the type of scaffolding that’s constructed, guard rails may be required and the materials used for the platform must be sturdy and rated for the weight of the workers.
Adequate contractor liability insurance should include coverage for scaffolding and accidents that can occur with these temporary platforms. Although contractor insurance should cover scaffolding accidents, it’s still crucial to build sturdy and safe scaffolding to avoid injury.
Inspect Tools and Equipment
Tools or equipment that are rusty or don’t operate properly represent safety hazards for all workers at the construction site. If equipment malfunctions, it could severely injure workers, especially if there are moving or heavy parts involved. Rusty or broken tools can also cause harm, especially if a worker must apply force to use them.
Inspect tools and equipment every day before operations begin. If repairs are needed, wait until they’re complete before trying to use these tools. To prevent rust or malfunction, follow the tool or equipment manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintaining the items.
Conduct Safety Training
Construction managers should conduct regular safety training to ensure workers know the site’s safety rules. This training should review basic safety rules and equipment operation standards, as well as specific safety regulations as they relate to the job. Workers should also know about the construction company’s workers’ compensation policy and how to make a claim if they’re injured on the job.
Regular training sessions reinforce the safety guidelines workers should be following. They also open the lines of communication between supervisors and workers. This allows workers to feel more comfortable reporting potentially hazardous conditions or safety issues to supervisors to prevent injuries.
Documentation is helpful at construction sites to ensure all workers and visitors know how to remain safe. In some cases, the construction site you’re working on may display documentation for:
- Emergency or fire plans: A site layout with explicit details on fire exits may be displayed, as well as steps to follow in the case of an emergency.
- Insurance: Details on the construction company’s insurance policies may be displayed so workers know how to make a claim if they’re injured on the job.
- Traffic management: When workers are aware of the on-site traffic management plan, they can remain aware and safe when entering high-traffic areas.
Follow Safety Signs
Safety signs are displayed throughout construction sites to caution workers and visitors. These signs may warn about hot or unsteady surfaces, loud noises, or heavy machinery that’s present. To ensure the site remains safe, these signs should be hung in any place on the site where protective gear is required or hazards are present.
Since there are so many dangers on construction sites, it’s crucial to identify these hazards and know how to remain safe. By following these tips and staying aware of your surroundings, you’re more likely to avoid injury and stay safe on the job.