There’s no other way around it. Working on a construction site is identified as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were about 195,600 construction project injuries that occurred in 2019 alone. The industry itself is being pressured to ramp up its safety precautions during operations.
Construction workers are more likely to encounter different safety risks than other employees. Among the numerous causes of site fatalities, the most notorious ones include falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in between immovable objects.
Whether you’re a project owner or contractor, it’s up to you to implement the necessary precautions and safeguard the workplace from hazards. Read on to learn how to do this.
Begin With Safety Training
No matter who it may be, everyone must be fully aware of the potential hazards on the site and this can only be accomplished through proper training.
There are numerous official publications available to help train new workers on safety standards. However, new workers aren’t the only ones who should be trained. While it’s true that there are similar construction projects, no two are the same. There may be different hazard elements in the current site. This is why even experienced workers should refresh their knowledge of safety standards.
The training sessions should cover the most basic topics such as fall protection to major safety procedures such as proper handling of machines.
In such an environment where injuries and fatalities are common, safety training is highly essential. It’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk. However, training can educate everyone to assess potential risks. This will also allow them to know what the protocols are in the case of an incident.
PPE Should Be Worn At All Times
It should go without saying that PPE or personal protective equipment should be worn at all times. After all, this is one of the last lines of defense to prevent trauma from potential hazards on the site.
From the hard hats, safety boots, long-sleeved shirts, full-length pants, vests, safety harness, fall protection, protective gloves, face shields, splash goggles, to respiratory protection — everyone who enters the site must wear complete PPE.
Follow Safety Signs and Procedures
Every construction site must have safety signages that can be clearly seen by workers. This can include the following examples:
- Prohibition signs – no entry, no smoking
- Mandatory signs – PPE must be worn at all times
- Warning signs – wet floor caution, high voltage, work overhead
- Safety Condition signs – fire exit, first aid kits
- Fire Fighting Equipment signs – fire extinguisher or hydrant
- Direction signs – entry and exit points
Ensure Electrical Safety
As mentioned earlier, electrocution is one of the most common causes of construction fatalities. It’s essential that workers steer clear from all the overhead and underground power lines unless they are grounded. Overloaded extension cords should be avoided to prevent fire hazards as well.
Sometimes, electrocutions happen because workers are entirely unaware of the exposed power lines. Once again, this is where proper awareness that comes from safety training comes in.
Have A Plan For Unfavorable Weather Conditions
The weather is something that cannot be controlled. Nevertheless, it can cause serious accidents on construction sites. This is why every project should have an emergency plan that guides workers with clear instructions in the event of a natural disaster or severe environmental conditions.
Report Defects Immediately
All workers must be informed to report any defects they notice on site. Sometimes, construction accidents occur because of mere negligence. Remember that even the most simple defects such as can lead to fatalities. For example, a chemical that is not stored properly can lead to chemical burns, fires, and explosions.
Ask everyone to fill out incident reports. Action can only be taken if the key members are aware of the problem. The sooner defects are reported, the less likely for an accident to occur.
It would be wise to equip workers with devices such as walkie-talkies to encourage clear communication among team members as well. Doing so ensures the project is accomplished effectively with safety in mind.
Give Proper Equipment
To make way for safe day to day operations, supervisors need to give workers the proper equipment to accomplish tasks at hand.
One tool does not fit all. Without the proper equipment, ensuring site safety cannot be possible. This is because workers with incorrect tools are bound to make fatal errors. Not only should every equipment on the site be suited for tasks, but all types of machinery and tools should be well-maintained as well.
In order to reduce injuries and fatalities in such a high-risk environment, safety precautions must be strictly followed by every team member. As a supervisor, contractor, or owner, this should be your number one priority when completing a construction project.
Kyle Francis Ong is a freelancer with a knack for writing. While many writers prefer having a particular niche topic when writing, Kyle wishes to challenge himself by exploring different ones. This includes niches include businesses, home improvement, fashion and lifestyle trend, and many other more.