Construction is a high-risk industry that requires proper training and safety precautions to keep workers safe. Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show that construction workers account for one out of every five workplace fatalities. Construction companies need to identify the leading causes of workplace injuries to implement safety measures that effectively prevent them.
The following steps can help prevent injuries and reduce construction-related claims:
- Know the risks. Every company has a unique risk profile, but some hazards exist on every construction site. Falls, caught-in or -between, electrical incidents, and being struck by an object are the leading causes of injuries and fatalities on construction sites.
- Invest in fall protection systems. Of all the above hazards, falls are the most lethal. They account for one-third of construction-related fatalities, most of which are preventable with the right equipment. Some examples of fall protection systems include guardrails, scaffolding, canopies or nets, and harnesses.
- Wear the necessary safety gear. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) isn’t negotiable, as it prevents injuries and saves lives. PPE protects construction workers from some of the most common injuries. Hard hats protect heads from falling objects, protective eyewear shields eyes from flying debris or hazardous chemicals, and harnesses systems prevent deaths due to falls.
- Cultivate a culture of safety. Parroting safety regulations isn’t enough to reduce injuries and fatalities within the construction industry. Safety isn’t just a management problem or the sole responsibility of the individual construction worker. An effective safety culture requires a team effort. Some examples include developing a safety committee with employees from all levels of the organization, establishing an accident response team that includes several employees with basic first aid training, and seeking input from frontline workers.
- Keep the site clean. Workers are much less likely to experience an injury on a tidy construction site. Debris can become a trip hazard, loose tools can become lethal falling objects, and greasy or wet surfaces can cause falls. A clean worksite prevents these hazards and eliminates unnecessary risks.
Protecting equipment from damage can further enhance safety efforts. Well-maintained and fully operational equipment often stays in service for longer without creating safety hazards. Some tips to protect construction equipment include:
- Follow a maintenance schedule. Waiting until a machine breaks to maintain it puts undue strain on the tool, diminishing its service life. Additionally, equipment operating at an impaired capacity can cause injuries.
- Train and enforce authorized personnel limits. Allowing unqualified employees to operate heavy machinery is a disaster waiting to happen. They lack sufficient training to manage the equipment safely and may inadvertently damage it or other construction personnel. Ensuring that only well-trained employees use construction equipment is essential to protect it and employees from harm.
- Address electrical hazards. Electrical incidents are among the leading causes of construction worker injuries and fatalities. Electrical incidents can also cause significant damage to equipment. Encapsulating electrical cables with tubing can fortify them to reduce the likelihood of damage or injuries. Monitoring the environment is also critical for equipment with electrical components. Humidity can cause moisture to accumulate and gather on the electrical components, which may result in short circuits, corrosion, and malfunctions.
Protecting construction employees and heavy machinery requires a multipronged approach. Safety training, PPE, and other steps to minimize site hazards are a few ways to achieve that goal. However, accidents can still occur even with robust safety protocols in place. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more about reducing risk on your construction site.