Construction is essential for progress and growth. Through this industry, buildings and infrastructures are built, repaired, and improved for the great benefit of the people.
Despite that, the construction industry is considered one of the most dangerous industries to work in today. If you have ever walked outside a construction zone, you’ll know what this means. The place is full of signs warning people and workers alike of many potential dangers.
If you work in or are visiting this environment, it is essential to learn about important tips for construction safety.
Why Working in Construction is Dangerous?
In truth, risks and hazards are present in every workplace. Whether you are in the office, a hospital, on the beach, or anywhere else. Dangers are always present. In construction sites though, the danger is further increased. This is due to the nature of the work and the tools and objects present at the site.
These include heavy machinery, working at heights, manual labour, dangerous chemicals, and even things as simple as slips, trips, and falls.
A 2021 study compiled statistics on injuries and fatalities across all industries. The data showed that a year prior, construction had the third most number of fatalities and fatality rate per 100,000 workers. The construction industry had 36 fatalities in 2020.
It was only superseded by the transport and warehousing industry, as well as the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industry. They had 49 and 46 fatalities respectively.
There were many types of fatalities, with the highest being vehicular collisions. Also included in the list were being hit by moving objects, trapped in moving machinery, and falling objects.
For construction though, the common types of injuries differ slightly.
Working at Heights
In construction sites, the leading and most common cause of injuries and fatalities is working at heights. In 2021, it accounted for more than 30% of accidents that happen on a construction site.
This happens when workers are on ladders, scaffolding, and even roofs.
As one can imagine, the extent of the injury largely depends on how high a person was for the fall, and how the fall took place.
Since construction has a lot to do with erecting builds from the ground up, this is likely the reason why this type of injury is so common.
Electrocution is another common injury when working in construction. When paired with working at heights, workers are prone to hitting power lines littered around the area.
Apart from that, machinery and equipment they use may also hit essential power sources. Despite the warnings placed up for the sake of construction safety, these accidents still happen.
Construction workers can do wondrous feats with the use of great tools and equipment. They are meant to make things easier and make work more efficient. However, they also add another element of danger. Equipment that makes the building of roads and buildings move forward could also malfunction and threaten site safety.
Much like the use of heavy machinery, vehicles are another leading cause of injuries at construction sites. Whether they are large trucks, forklifts, or cement mixers, accidents happen around them all the time.
These accidents don’t just happen on-site though. It is common for construction sites to require deliveries to and from certain destinations. These are usually facilitated by giant trucks. As one may imagine, these trucks are slow and obstructive on the road.
In some cases, it may test a driver’s patience, leading them to do things that could create more accidents while driving.
Constant Repeated Motions
Working in construction is a very physical endeavour. Many parts of the body are used to lift or move things and even operate machinery. Throughout the years, this constant repetitive motion may introduce severe injuries to a person.
Some of the most common body parts affected by this repetition include the back and the neck.
Tips to Follow for Construction Safety
Now that we understand how dangerous it is to work in the construction industry, let’s check out several tips that will help ensure site safety.
Take Training Seriously
All construction sites will require the necessary training to be completed for being allowed to step foot in and work there. In Australia, a white card must be obtained. This card is proof that one has completed the necessary training.
The training has everything workers would initially need to keep safe. It talks about these same hazards and the right procedures.
It is important to always take this training seriously. Many people just breeze through it and don’t take it to heart. However, when push comes to shove, it is useful to have this knowledge to fall back on. It could prevent injuries and accidents.
Additionally, it may be of use to train in certain procedures such as CPR.
Wear the Right PPE
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a must on any construction site. This goes for both workers and visitors. Depending on the task being done, the PPE would change. However, they may include gloves, safety goggles, boots, ear muffs, and high visibility vests just to name a few.
It is important to examine one’s PPE before starting work. If the PPE is compromised, it drastically reduces the safety that it offers, thus inviting injuries or accidents to occur.
If you have damaged PPE, notify your construction manager immediately.
Keep the Construction Site Clean
Another simple and easy tip to follow is to keep the construction site clean and organised. There are many tools and equipment that can be left lying around. Just the fact that they are on the ground makes them a hazard to the worker’s safety.
These include tools, nails, and even water puddles. Walking on any of these things could cause injuries.
At the same time, it is also important to keep your tools and equipment stored and organised properly. This, combined with cleanliness, make it easy and safe to move around the site.
Working hard is an admirable trait. However, in working excessively long hours, the body and the mind begin to tire. In a highly dangerous industry like construction, these could spell disaster. It could influence decision making at crucial moments, or hamper one’s ability to handle dangerous tools and equipment.
It is important to set regular breaks and just relax. This revitalises the body and mind and keeps workers prepared and vigilant.
This is also the case when work ends. After a long and tiring shift, it is always important to get some rest before the next one starts.
Have Plans in Place
The final tip we have for site safety is to have plans in place. The unfortunate reality is that despite preparing and being as vigilant as one could be, accidents will always take place. Thus, it is important to have a plan that workers will follow when certain incidents happen.
These plans should include what to do when an accident happens and who to report it to.
It must be noted though that these plans should not only be reactive in nature. Plans should also be put in place to help guide workers on how to clean sites, put up and follow signs, wear the right PPE, and many more.
Build a Safe Environment
Construction is a dangerous yet essential industry. It is needed to pave the way toward improvement and innovation. As such, we hope you follow these important tips for construction safety.
It is important to build a safe environment for every construction site. One way this can be done is by being prepared to help out when accidents and injuries take place. You can’t go wrong with learning about the right first aid practices to help out in these situations.
Learn more about first aid with CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course today.