Workplace injuries are costly. They play a big part in robbing victims of their livelihoods and strain company legal and financial resources. The construction industry has some of the highest rates of workplace accidents.
Most of these accidents are avoidable. It takes a collective effort from everyone involved to ensure that every worker is safe against construction site accidents.
Site safety begins with the provision of a conducive working environment. Further down the channel, site managers should show a genuine interest in the safety of the workers.
Types of Construction Accidents
There are five common categories of construction site accidents.
- Electrocution: It may result from exposed live wires, miscommunication or negligence.
- Exposure to hazardous components: A simple mishandling of hazardous materials can cause injury
- Blunt force trauma: The scale of construction projects exposes workers to getting hit by objects.
- Trenching: This accident can occur due to the presence of open spaces left exposed. It is easy for a worker to get snagged in a construction site trench.
- Falls: Falls are common workplace accidents, especially at sites which involve digging and high rise buildings are particularly at risk
Companies need to go an extra mile to ensure that the workplace is safe for workers. These ten tips should help improve construction site safety standards and avoid otherwise fatal accidents.
1. Ensure Proper Pre-Planning
Before the start of a project, conducting comprehensive site safety checks lowers the chances of construction site accidents. Having teams conducting safety checks on mission-critical equipment such as scaffolds, ladders, wiring, and piping significantly enhances construction site safety. Inspectors can check on potential hazards such as proximity to power lines and exposed holes.
2. Engage Workers in Safety Conversations
Construction sites can get noisy, and as a result, there can be a breakdown of communication between workers. It is vital that teams get proper safety conversations before the start of a project to set ground rules. The rules serve as a reminder that every worker on the site is responsible for their safety and the safety of their peers.
It is crucial that site workers become educated on the risks of flouting safety rules. Supervisors can achieve this through pre-workday exercises and safety drills.
3. Encourage an Open Policy on Safety Issues
Reporting construction site oversight or negligence can result in negative consequences for those involved. An environment where workers speak out when they notice possible dangers in a goes a long way in avoiding accidents.
Site managers can open up private forums where workers can voice their concerns without the fear of victimization. Fixing an issue also helps reduce post-accident costs.
4. Put in Easy to Follow Prompts
To minimize miscommunication, you need to put in place communication channels that are accessible at all times. Contractors should invest in communication tools that ensure everyone on the site gets the same message at all times. Being able to convey a message quickly can help to stop preventable workplace accidents.
In high-impact or movement-intensive areas where verbal communication might not be sufficient, use highly visible signage. Signs and marked areas pass the message to the site workers and inform outsiders of the possible dangers at the site.
5. Invest in Proper Safety Gear
Using appropriate site safety gear is a great way to prevent construction site accidents. Companies need to invest in proper and enough equipment to cater for all the site workers and any possible visitors to a site.
Additionally, there are emerging technologies that improve the quality of site safety. According to the findings of Dodge Data & Analytics, up to 80% of contractors noticed an instant positive change in safety standards when they introduced wearable technology in site safety gear.
6. Using Up To Date Equipment
Faulty equipment is common in construction sites. OSHA places high-powered machines at position nine in the most cited violations list. Each worker in a construction site is responsible for their assigned tools. However, they are also responsible for the tagging of the tools if they are defective.
If left unsupervised, the tools and equipment are likely to cause harm to other site workers. On the company’s end, supervisors need to ensure that all machinery within a construction site is up to date. Equipment must also be functioning properly and marked appropriately.
If there is any construction going on at night, site managers need to ensure that the vicinity is well lit. If the power is unstable or the area is due for connection, generators can play a huge role. Kubota generators, for instance, are a great alternative.
7. Conduct Post-Workday Inspection
At the close of each business day, site managers need to assess the condition of the site. This evaluation is to help verify the extent of any damage that may cause accidents later. It also helps in reducing emergency costs that may have a more significant effect if they are unchecked.
8. Regular Training
Regular training for the workers ensures that they know that the organization is paying attention to their welfare at every stage. Training could be in the form of classes, forums or as simple as updating workers on policy changes. A good starting point would be a general OSHA 10 hour course.
9. Reward Systems
Setting up a reward system for workers and site managers is a superb way to build a positive mentality. It also promotes better safety. It is also important to handle disagreement subtly and professionally.
10. Immediate Response
It is advisable to have a medical team on standby at all times. The unit should help address accidents immediately. It also helps in reducing the chances of a fatality.
Construction Site Safety – Final Thoughts
Construction site accidents will always be a looming possibility. It takes a collective effort from both ends to reduce these accidents and promote construction site safety.
Managers need to find common ground to address these accidents before and after they happen. They also need to commit to providing safety information to workers and providing feedback to higher-ups in the organization.
If accidents happen, site managers need to set an example and help the affected party. Putting the workers’ safety first is a great way to enforce a culture of good leadership.
If you own a construction firm, be sure to learn why you need general liability insurance.