Construction sites are considered to be one of the most dangerous places to work at on land, with hundreds of thousands of construction workers in the United States experiencing injuries and illnesses, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Although you might think that any injuries or illnesses caused on construction sites are due to negligent behavior by construction workers or from hazards around a construction site, for the most part these problems are actually caused by the fact that it is such an ever-changing work environment.
Causes of construction site hazards
The following is a non-exhaustive list of construction site hazards:
Falls – this is the leading cause of injury reports on construction sites, and can include falls from heights, ramps, and walkways;
Electrocution – drilling or digging into areas where there are underground electricity cables, exposed live electrical wiring, faulty electrical tools;
Vehicle crashes – literally driving heavy construction equipment or trucks into people or objects without warning others of their presence;
Incorrect manual handling – lifting heavy equipment and materials without employing correct loading and unloading techniques.
It is impossible to completely eradicate all safety hazards on a construction site due to the nature of the work, but it is certainly achievable to lower the risk of any dangers or hazards by following these simple steps:
Perform a hazard analysis
The first thing to do is walk through the construction site and perform a hazard analysis of the area. This involves identifying and assessing any workplace hazards and writing down anything which can be considered unsafe for action later.
Ensure construction site staff receive safety training
Because there can be a large number of construction personnel on a site, including contractors working for other organizations, it can be hard to know who has received safety training and who has not.
Therefore, you should consider requiring any personnel on your construction site to undergo formal safety training (either on-site or at a training centre) before they are allowed to commence work. This will ensure that all employees and contractors are aware of hazards that they may encounter whilst working, and it will also teach them to be more vigilant about any hazards that might be caused as a result of something that they are doing.
A popular alternative to on-site and classroom-based training facilities when it comes to formal safety training, is online training. Many training providers offer a downloadable or web-based work safely in the construction industry course online that you can enrol in from the comfort of your own home.
Identify and mark hazardous materials
If any materials have a significant risk to the health of on-site staff, then you need to identify and mark those materials as hazardous. They should then be stored in proper containers and secured in a safe location.
Make sure all equipment is working
This will prevent any electric shock injuries. Consider asking any contractors on-site to inspect their equipment before allowing them to use that equipment.
It goes without saying that all staff on your construction site should be using safety equipment, such as harnesses when working on roof tops or working on scaffolds, and wearing safety goggles, boots, gloves and hard hats.
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