A business owner is responsible for prioritizing a safe work environment and preventing workplace incidents that may harm their employees. A secure work environment not only boosts employee morale but also enhances their productivity. However, it is unfortunate that workplace accidents occur frequently across various industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2017, businesses registered over 2.8 million occupational injuries and illnesses, demonstrating that there are approximately three work-related injuries per 100 employees.
Workplace-related diseases and injuries are often caused by workers not following safety guidelines. While every industry has safety regulations, accidents occur more frequently in construction. Over the years, construction companies have become more proactive in providing employees with a secure working environment. With that in mind, here are a few steps that all construction workers must follow to ensure safety at construction sites:
1. Always Wear Safety Gear
Construction sites are prone to unforeseen incidents and safety hazards. As a result, it is crucial to equip workers with modern safety gear and equipment to ensure their safety and security. In fact, the chances of workplace-related injuries and accidents increase tenfold if you don’t have the necessary safety gear for the job.
So, every construction site worker must wear essential protective gear such as hard hats, hearing protection, prescription safety glasses, and three-point harnesses.
2. Actively Communicate with the Construction Site Manager
Communication plays a pivotal role in maintaining safety and security on construction sites. So, workers must always remain vigilant and identify potential health hazards and external threats.
This is why construction workers must communicate proactively with management to address any safety plan modifications and report any potential areas that may pose health risks to all involved in the project.
3. Inspect Tools and Equipment Regularly
Construction workers need heavy machinery and equipment to complete their tasks efficiently. However, if the machinery breaks down, it can lead to severe health risks and accidents, including limb loss and even death. OSHA states that 75% of construction site accidents occur due to failing equipment and machinery.
So, to prevent such incidents, construction workers should request site managers to conduct regular inspections on heavy equipment and machinery. This will ensure that any unexpected breakdowns or malfunctions can be avoided. Additionally, well-maintained equipment will function more effectively, ensuring construction projects are completed within the deadline.
4. Follow Safety Signage Religiously
One of the most significant hazards that construction workers need to be mindful of is the risk of electrocution. This can occur when workers come into contact with high-voltage cables or other areas with electricity. It’s, therefore, essential to take adequate precautions to prevent any accidents from happening.
Besides informing the workers about the risks and hazards of electrocution, construction managers and safety engineers must ensure that the power supply is turned off in areas where employees are working. This step can go a long way in preventing accidents and ensuring worker safety.
To further enhance safety, construction company owners and project managers must use fences, ropes, and pylons to demarcate high-risk zones. This will prevent workers from accidentally entering these areas and coming into contact with high-voltage cables. Additionally, posting warning signs like “Risk of Fall” or “Danger” is a simple yet effective way to promote safety at construction sites.
5. Thoroughly Inspect the Construction Site
The construction company is responsible for inspecting the site to find potential risks or hazards before beginning any project. When creating a safety plan, construction managers may consider all factors by identifying safety risks and hazards as well as the potential accidents they can cause. Therefore, examining the job’s hazards and thoroughly inspecting the building site will help prevent occupational risks and injuries.
That said, construction workers must actively participate in these inspections and provide their managers with a comprehensive list of areas prone to accidents. Once they do this, they must wait for the safety plan to be approved by the manager. Once this plan is approved, all construction workers must carry a copy of this safety plan and refer to it in case of any doubt.
6. Take Regular Breaks
Working on a construction site can be physically demanding and exhausting for employees. Despite their hard work, they are not immune to fatigue and exhaustion. Therefore, construction managers must prioritize their on-site employees’ health and well-being by providing regular breaks. This includes lunch breaks and shorter rest periods to stretch and recharge.
While some employees may want to use their breaks to earn extra money, managers must encourage them to rest and care for their bodies. Ultimately, the likelihood of accidents and mishaps occurring on the site decreases when workers are well-rested.
7. Take Advantage of Employer-Provided Resources and Training
Do not assume that all construction workers are knowledgeable about all aspects of exposure to toxic chemicals and chemical spills. Therefore, it is essential that these workers completely familiarize themselves with the SOPs (standard operating procedures) for managing chemicals in case of spills.
This typically means taking advantage of employer-funded training opportunities and resources to learn more about certain chemical kinds and their health risks. By doing this, construction workers will be able to learn how to employ safety equipment to prevent ingesting, breathing in, injecting, and being exposed to such dangerous toxins and chemicals.
8. Keep Your Workstations Organized
Employee workstations should be kept tidy and organized to prevent accidents. On the other hand, spills and chemical mixing are more likely to occur in a messy and cluttered workspace. So construction workers must tidy their workspace and keep chemicals in their respective containers until needed. Additionally, they should dispose of any used chemicals in the assigned disposal area.
Additionally, employees should you washing machines installed by the construction manager on the job site. By doing this, they will be able to clean soiled clothing without bringing contaminants inside and risking their family’s health.
The Final Words
When working on a construction site, you will likely be exposed to potentially toxic clouds of dust and gases. Besides being a potential health risk, construction workers are more likely to contract respiratory diseases such as Aspergillus, Alternaria, or Legionella and experience life-threatening accidents. Fortunately, with the right safety gear, techniques, and aids, workplace-related accidents can be prevented and even treated more effectively.