How To Avoid Disasters On A Construction Site

Five Opportunities for Disaster on a Construction Site

Construction has come a long way since the days of the robber barons and the Empire State building, where many workers died building what we consider today to be our greatest achievements of the time. Today, safety procedures and industry regulations work every day to save the lives of construction workers across the country, and we are a better country and a better construction industry for it.

As many policies and procedures as there are for construction work, there are still plenty of opportunities for a construction worker to be harmed. This may happen as a result of negligence or ignorance of the rules and regulations in place to protect the workers. Other times, workplace injuries occur because some potentially dangerous element of the job was not adequately prepared for, even though all of the required safety measures were taken. Sometimes, required safety measures aren’t enough.

That’s why it pays to be aware of the potential danger posed to your construction employees by their work, above and beyond what the government requires and recommends. In fact, there are several areas of construction work that see many workplace accidents as a result of poor preparation. These include…

 1.      Scaffolding

Whenever an employee is working with heights, there is a serious danger of injury or even death. Nevertheless, scaffolding is an essential part of construction work, which means that construction companies must pay special attention to their scaffolds as well as the people who work on them.

Scaffold workers should be trained to be aware of the dangers they face while on the scaffold. Are they watching for falling debris? Are they careful of power lines and other delicate but dangerous wiring? Are they properly secured in case of a fall?

While the workers may be well-trained and on point, the scaffold itself oftentimes presents dangers. If the scaffold cannot support weight well beyond what you are expecting it to support, you are inviting danger. While there are OSHA regulations about what a scaffold should be able to support, it often pays to go above and beyond OSHA regulations.

 2.      Fall Protection

Falling is the traditional threat to the construction worker, but thankfully modern construction offers a variety of ways to prevent dangerous falls. This begins with thoroughly training employees to prepare them for working in conditions where a fall is possible.

Employees should learn to work with fall prevention equipment, and your company should regularly inspect the quality and condition of its fall prevention equipment. Given the amount of stress this equipment can see, this is only common sense.

3.      Ladder Safety

As dangerous as ladders can be to use around the home, they are just as dangerous on the work site if not properly used, secured, and monitored. Portable and extendable ladders are just as capable of causing injury as scaffolding when not used safely.

 4.      Respiratory Safety

While heights have always posed a danger to construction workers, in recent decades the very materials they work with has caused problems for workers. Asbestos and other toxic chemicals top the list of these dangerous materials, but modern science has revealed that many particles, once released into the air, can cause serious and lasting harm to whoever breathes them.

Top quality respiratory equipment suited to working with the materials you expect your workers to be using is, therefore, necessary. This equipment, much like your fall prevention equipment, should be regularly inspected and kept up to date with your company’s projects and practices, and your staff should be trained on how to use this equipment.

 5.      Personal Protective Equipment

Finally, personal protective equipment – everything from padding and helmets to goggles, gloves, harnesses, back braces, and anything else your employees may need to do their job safely – must regularly inspected and replaced.

More importantly, its use must be regularly enforced. This equipment isn’t always the most comfortable thing to work in, which is why many employees neglect to use certain pieces of equipment – even when they shouldn’t, for their own health and safety. By vigorously enforcing the use of personal protective equipment, you can save lives and protect your employees.

Construction offers many other opportunities for disaster, but it is key to the advancement of our economy, our society, and our very way of life. As we move forward, all we can do is work to make our lives and the lives of construction workers safer. By being aware of the greatest opportunities for danger on the work site, we do just that.