The Dangers of Construction
If your occupation falls within the construction industry—your job is labeled one of the most dangerous in the United States (The United States Occupational Health and Safety Administration).
When working with heavy machinery there are four leading causes of injury:
- And smashing
The Main Causes Of Injury In Construction Explained
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry; yet, they are preventable. Although construction jobs oftentimes require employees to work at extreme heights, there are safety precautions you can take to prevent fatal injury.
Step One: Plan
Every successful job starts with a well-thought-out plan. Injuries occur when a job site becomes frantic or the necessary tools are not prepared beforehand. That is why it is imperative that a construction site has an organization. Make sure all required equipment is up-to-code and at the ready before any work commences.
Step Two: Train
All construction employees working 6 feet above the ground or more must have training on fall protection and protocols. Knowing which ladder and scaffolding to use, understanding how to set up safety gear properly, and recognizing hazardous conditions are all imperative to a safe working environment.
Step Three: Provide
Supplying up-to-code equipment and the correct tools and machinery is essential in preventing injuries and mortalities from occurring on the job. Fall arrest systems must be provided on all construction sites. For roof work, each worker must have their own harness that is anchored down.
There are many moving parts at a construction site—quite literally. From forklifts to cranes, heavy objects are swinging, looming above the heads of working people, all day long.
Falling objects can become problematic when:
- Machines malfunction
- Insufficient barricades are installed
- Or the materials are not properly fastened to the equipment
Communication Is Key
Workers must have open communication. Without a clear understanding, securing objects and misplacing items can get lost in the hustle and bustle that exists on site. Use hand signals to relay messages, as machines make loud, rumbling noises that make it hard to hear.
Training Is Needed
Before anyone steps on a live project site, they must be informed about the operations and whereabouts of machinery to avoid injury from ignorance.
Live electrical equipment and wiring are present on most construction sites. Coming in contact with either can be deadly. Failure to maintain proper clearance from power lines and forgetting to de-energize those lines may result in injury. The improper use of extension cords is also a common electrocution hazard.
Construction workers are not trained, electricians. They require the teaching of the following practices:
- Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) when a temporary power supply is needed
- Understand where the overhead and underground power lines are located
- De-energize power lines
- Keep a distance of ten feet or more from overhead power lines
- Make sure all electrical equipment is properly grounded
- Check all extension cords for wear and tear
- Inspect all tools before use
- Leave all electrical equipment disconnected when not in use
- Refrain from placing metal objects anywhere near live electrical circuits
Getting caught in between the components of heavy machinery will cause devastating injury. There should never be a wrong place, or wrong time accident on a construction site.
These tips must be taught to construction workers:
- Learn to identify cave-in situations
- Always communicate with co-workers
- Properly plan heavy equipment schedules
- Be conscious of the situational awareness of others
- Consider and follow all access hazard signs