Wouldn’t it be nice if construction were a completely risk-free venture? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. There are many construction safety hazards to avoid, hazards that can result in injury, claims against your business and more. Here are some of the most common hazards along with a few construction site safety tips to help you keep your workers safe!
Common Construction Safety Hazards
There are a few hazards that are more common than others on construction sites. Here are the top seven:
- Falls from great heights
- Excavation/trench collapse
- Scaffolding or ladder collapse
- Electrical hazards, both shock and arc flash
- Not using proper personal protective equipment
- Injury caused by repetitive motion
- Hearing damage caused by exposure to loud noise
While there are other hazards present on the jobsite, these are the ones that you will see most often. Now let’s find out what you can do to safeguard against them!
Construction Site Safety Tips
Now that you know what some of the most common hazards are, what can you do to minimize the risk? Let’s take a look at each individually.
- Fall Hazards: To reduce the danger of workers becoming injured in a fall, protective equipment such as body harnesses are essential. Harnesses (along with other safety measures) can also be paired with safety nets. Other methods to prevent falls include making sure that aerial work surfaces are stable and include guardrails to prevent workers from stepping off of the platform.
- Excavations and trenches: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists a couple of requirements to protect workers in trenches. Excavations that are no deeper than five feet don’t require protective systems as long as they have been judged sound. Deeper than that and you will need to employ sloping or benching tactics to the walls of the excavation. Specific rules vary by soil type, so make sure to refer to OSHA for specifics.
- Ladders and scaffolding: To minimize the risks with ladders and scaffolding, consider having the equipment inspected before use and make sure to use the proper ladder or scaffold for the job. Do not exceed structural weight limits and make sure that scaffolds are equipped with toeboards, guardrails and midboards.
- Electrical hazards: Minimize risk of shock or arcing by making sure that your workers are using properly rated extension cords at all times. Also be sure to replace damaged cords immediately. When working on a site with live wiring, implement a Lockout/Tagout system and ensure that no work moves forward until power has been shut off to the site.
- Failure to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The use of PPE varies depending on anticipated hazards. Hardhats should be worn to guard against falling objects, gloves should be selected as appropriate to the job (specialized gloves for concrete, electrical work and so on), and safety glasses or face shields must be employed when flying objects or particles are a threat.
- Repetitive motion: The best way to prevent repetitive motion injuries is to allow workers regular breaks and to implement a job rotation so that workers are able to use different muscle groups or parts of their bodies at regular intervals, thus preventing undue strain to one area of the body.
- Exposure to noise: Ideally, to prevent hearing damage, the best thing you can do is lessen exposure to loud noise. However, this is not always possible on job sites, so employees should be provided with hearing protection. Earplugs can work but bear in mind that objects inserted into the ear canal can do damage of their own. Noise cancelling earmuffs are your best option.
Using these tips, you can minimize the risks to your employees along with potential claims against your construction business. Remember to always be on the lookout for construction safety hazards so that you can properly safeguard your workers!