Keys to Hazard Free Construction Sites
There are many different types of hazards that construction professionals must be aware of on the job. It’s critical that all personnel on a construction site be aware of dangers and take the necessary precautions to reduce incidents to a minimum. What’s more, they must affirm their commitment to an incident-free workplace every single day!
Since every workplace is unique, both managers and individual contributors need to be aware of the hazards on any given job site. By watching out for themselves and other team members, they will make it much less likely that someone will get hurt during a shift.
Let’s look at five crucial keys to construction site safety.
Protect Workers from Falls
Falls are the #1 cause of workplace fatalities in the construction industry. Luckily, there’s a number of easy, effective ways to implement fall prevention at even the busiest worksite. Most workplace falls are traceable to issues like unstable surfaces or failure to wear the appropriate personal safety equipment. Many falls can be prevented by implementing safety nets. Guard rails or control line systems are valuable for anyone who must work at the edges of roofs or floors.
Ensure Ladders are Appropriate and Stable
Official estimates place ladder-related injuries at just fewer than 25,000 incidents annually. Dozens of workers lose their lives on ladders in incidents that could take only seconds to unfold. Ladder injuries are unique in that nearly half require time off to recover. Many ladder incidents can be prevented by ensuring the ladder used is the right one for the job and having a safety professional examine ladders prior to use. Ladders should be cleaned regularly to prevent slippage.
Practice Proper Crane Safety
The majority of crane incidents involve workers being injured by an overhead load or struck when the crane is in motion. Many of these incidents can be prevented by ensuring personnel on a worksite have good familiarity with the cranes in use. Chains, rope, hooks, and rigging should be examined before use and loads should never be moved directly over workers. Before moving any load, raise it just a few inches to verify that the crane’s brakes are working properly.
Understand and Use All Personal Protective Equipment
Many accidents are made worse when personnel fail to use protective equipment or do not use it as intended. Eye and face protection is especially vital in preventing dangerous mishaps when fire or sparks are in the working environment. Hand, head, and foot protection are also important. Ensure that all personnel receive full training on safety equipment and that occasional refreshers are available. Posted signage should remove personnel to adhere to safety best practices.
Communicate Hazards Clearly
For personnel to be fully alert around hazards, they need to be aware of them. Workplaces where chemicals are handled should have an updated Material Data Safety Sheet for all personnel to access. On-site training and regular safety meetings should cover the key points of materials safety and make staff aware if there are any major changes in the nature of the hazards at the workplace. Personnel must be aware of hazards to respond to them appropriately!
Best Practices for Safety Managers and Personnel to Remember
Although maintaining optimum safety is a challenge, the factors that contribute to hazards in the workplace are often familiar. It’s up to the on-site safety supervisor or “safety champion” to be aware of these and take action proactively to prevent them.
Some of the most important steps toward general workplace safety are:
- Keep Communication Clear, Timely, and Accurate: Managing hazards correctly requires that staff understand them, know where and when they will be encountered, and understand the right steps to take when they are present. A morning safety meeting can give all members of the team the knowledge they need to adapt to changing conditions.
- Ensure All Signage is Legible and Placed Properly: The right signage helps to externalize safety procedures and place reduced stress on the memory of hard-working personnel. Signage must be legible and accurate to be effective, and it can be damaged by ordinary work processes without notice. Check on all signage regularly.
- Give Everyone a Stake in the Safety Process: Studies have shown that personnel at all levels are more likely to practice safety diligently if they feel responsible for the well-being of others in their team. Pairing personnel up can enhance safety and ensure that common mistakes are corrected before they can result in any harm.
- Ensure Scheduling and Staffing Contribute to Safety: Fatigue is a contributing factor to all kinds of safety incidents. One of the most dangerous situations anyone can be in is working at a hazardous site with reduced cognitive ability and reflexes. Although the safety leader might have limited say in staffing, it is important to question any practices that might reduce safety readiness in the team at large.
- Drill for Common Safety Hazards: Different construction situations lend themselves to different types of hazards. A safety pro should know which kinds of hazards are most likely for the type of project being undertaken, then develop occasional drills to keep personnel alert and performing at their best.
- Inspect the Environment Daily: Some hazards, like trench collapse and arc blast, are difficult to drill or prepare for. The conditions that contribute to these issues are best spotted before they happen. It could take as little as fifteen minutes to make an observation that could save a life later on down the line.
If a worksite is managed properly, safety will become second nature to everyone on staff. This is true whether personnel typically work alone, in pairs, or in teams. However, not all staff will have the opportunity to monitor the latest safety trends. A dedicated safety professional is a truly indispensable part of any OSHA-compliant workplace. For full cooperation, personnel must see safety pros as partners who have their interests and safety at heart!
Learn to identify and analyze potential workplace hazards, infractions and risks through a bachelor of science in occupational safety online. At Eastern Kentucky University, you will gain a graduate-level education by industry-experienced educators and fire and safety professionals who are committed to teaching and preparing you for continued success.