Construction is one of the most essential industries in the world, and it also happens to be one of the most dangerous to work in. Thousands are injured at sites each year due to hazards, and many of these accidents could have been prevented.
With so many risks, businesses must be able to identify issues and determine exactly how they can be eliminated. This keeps workers safe, improves productivity, and reduces downtime.
Below we are going to take a look at some of the most common hazards in construction and provide advice on how they can be avoided.
Interested in learning more? Then let’s get started.
With so many different tools and materials being used on site, construction workers are often struck by objects that fall or are thrown by heights. Thankfully, this is something that can be prevented in various ways.
Firstly, care should be taken by employees to wear the necessary safety gear, such as face guards and hard hats. Secondly, those working from heights should ensure they are utilizing tool lanyards and tethering to keep items secured properly.
Construction employees are often exposed to hot and humid conditions, especially during the summer months. By working in this environment regularly, they may experience stress, exhaustion, cramps, and heat stroke.
Staying hydrated is incredibly important, but it’s also best for workers to dress in light-colored clothing during the day. They should also be given regular breaks in shaded/air-conditioned spaces to limit the amount of time spent in direct sunlight.
Prolonged exposure to high noise levels can cause hearing damage. With machinery and other loud processes occurring on builds, workers must take extra care to avoid these situations.
Ear protection such as ear plugs and muffs can assist when required, but it’s also wise to reduce overall exposure. Rules should be set for how long an individual can spend in an extremely noisy environment.
Heavy Equipment Accidents
Heavy equipment such as bulldozers, cranes etc, all pose a considerable risk to workers. Operating these machines requires extensive training, and certain measures must be taken when they are active.
Be sure that all your team members have the necessary certifications to operate and drive these vehicles. Bright-colored vests should be worn at all times, and blind spots/swing areas kept clear.
During construction, electricity can be present in dangerous ways. Electricians may be putting in new lights, installing power outlets, or even testing existing wiring.
To reduce the risk of electrocution, employees should take care to never touch live wires. Equipment should be tagged correctly and turned off when it is being inspected, repaired, or cleaned.
Electricity is also a common cause of fires, another dangerous hazard that can have devastating consequences. They can occur by things such as flammable liquids, faulty wiring, and welding sparks.
Again, the correct safety protocols should be followed to prevent them from starting. There should also be available resources, such as fire blankets and extinguishers nearby in case of an emergency.
Build sites often contain a host of indoor and outdoor air pollutants. Common respiratory hazards include things such as dust, asbestos, and mold. Like many other issues, protective gear is crucial here.
Workers should also take steps to make sure that closed rooms are ventilated. Cleaning may also need to be done regularly to eliminate the pollutants before they spread to other areas.
During construction, various chemicals such as adhesives, paints, and solvents are often used. Exposure to these can cause a variety of health issues, including respiratory problems and skin irritation.
Again, wearing the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) can help reduce the risk of exposure. It’s also critical that any chemicals are sealed and disposed of correctly.
Confined spaces may be one of the least common hazards, but they should still be included on this list. Small rooms and crawlspaces can pose dangers such as suffocation and explosions.
Employees must be trained to be aware of these and wear the necessary equipment, including harnesses. Steps should be taken to reduce the amount of time spent in these locations by workers.
As you can see from the above, working in the construction industry certainly has its challenges. However, by following the correct procedures and being vigilant, risks can be greatly reduced.
Remember, prevention is always better than cure – your employees will be protected and your business can continue to flourish.