Work injuries are devastating to both the employee and the employer. It can cause debilitating injuries to employees, which may result in thousands of dollars of medical bills. At the same time, it can drastically reduce productivity and morale in the workplace. Hence, there must be precautionary measures to prevent accidents that may lead to work injuries.
Workplaces, particularly construction sites, are prone to hazards that can almost be everywhere you go. To prepare prevention measures, you must first be aware of what these hazards may be.
With that in mind, here’s a look at the four major hazards in construction sites.
On a construction site, it’s pretty common for construction workers to perform various tasks while standing on a platform several feet away from the ground. Naturally, falling from such a height can lead to a work injury. In the worst-case scenario, the worker may even die.
It’s not too far off since falls from height are the most common cause of fatal work accidents as of 2021 and 2022. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction sites must have fall protection measures for platforms that are six feet high.
Examples of fall protection include:
- Guardrail systems
- Safety nets
- Personal fall arrest systems
OSHA also advises workers to avoid performing tasks at high platforms if possible.
Slips, trips, and falls are the most common type of accidents across different sectors, including the construction, industrial, and warehouse industries. According to OSHA, slips, trips, and falls account for 37% of fatal injuries on a construction site. It results mostly from slippery surfaces. It may not be as severe as falls from heights, but it can still result in a debilitating injury, such as:
- Dislocated joints
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken pelvis or hips
These injuries can result in workers missing several days of work. Though it’s unlikely, slippery surfaces can also lead to death, especially when the surface in question is on a high platform.
Examples of measures for slippering surfaces include:
- Mopping floors regularly
- Removing debris from floors or surfaces
- Marking wet areas
- Cleaning spills as soon as they’re identified
You’ll rarely find any moving object in an office that’s particularly dangerous. However, on a construction site, it’s one of the major hazards where workers must be on guard.
Moving objects like heavy machinery, delivery vehicles, and lifting equipment can prove to be fatal to workers due to their overwhelming weight. Though companies may have protocols to prevent the misuse of these objects, uneven terrain can make them difficult to control. Therefore, even with the best operators, there must still be safety measures for this particular hazard.
Examples of suitable measures include:
- The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Getting the help of a banksman to guide the vehicles while reversing
- Separating the work area of workers from the moving objects
It’d also help if workers simply avoid working near these objects if possible.
A hazard is an element in the workplace that may cause not only injury but also death. An injury can be temporary or permanent. A work injury is usually temporary and may take a few weeks or months to heal. However, certain hazards in the construction industry can cause permanent injury, and noise is one such hazard. To be precise, it can cause permanent, or at least long-term hearing problems. It may not be as impactful as a broken back at first, but it’s certainly debilitating.
Another reason why noise is a major hazard is the fact that it can be a major distraction to workers. The distraction can then cause fatal accidents, one way or another.
For example, a worker may not be able to hear the sound of a vehicle moving toward them due to the background noise. Unfortunately, there are a ton of sources of noise, so it can be difficult to deal with this particular hazard. It can come from machinery and particularly loud tools.
Examples of measures to reduce the noise hazard include:
- Buying more quiet tools and equipment
- Isolating the sources of noise in a separate area, like a room or enclosure
- Placing a barrier between the workers and the source of noise
- Maintaining vehicles, tools, and noise with lubrication to minimize their noise
In addition, workers must also pay attention to their surroundings both visually and auditorily.
While the construction company is typically the one responsible for maintaining the site, workers must also strive to do their part by being careful of their actions. Built-in precautionary measures for these major hazards can only do so much. It should be a combined effort from both the employer and employee, which is only fitting since these hazards can affect both.