Even though every single workplace poses a risk, it’s ludicrous to assume that you’re exposed to the same kind of danger in an office as you are on a construction site. The number of serious and fatal injuries is fairly high in the construction business, mostly due to the hazardous nature of this occupation. After all, great heights, heavy machinery and dangerous equipment are essential to this line of work. Therefore, while safety matters universally, on a construction site it’s a priority. Because of this, as a contractor, you need to learn how to safely manage and govern the construction project and ensure the safety of structure, equipment, and personnel. Here are several tips worth having in mind.
Before you even start sending people out onto the site, you need to make sure that all training requirements are fulfilled. For instance, falls are usually the main cause of worker death (almost 40 percent), yet most of these accidents can be prevented by efficient drilling of your employees. The employer’s role is the one of a supervisor but also of the officer in charge of training. You need to be the one who picks topics like proper scaffold erection, use of the heavy machinery, and the integration of fall protection system. One more thing – keep in mind that the training process is never really over, which is why you need to reschedule retraining as often as possible.
Scaffolding is one of those construction trends which seems to be efficient even after millennia of use. In fact, this is such an essential piece of equipment that about 65 percent of all construction workers use them in their everyday work. The most common threats are the prospect of falling, or dropping (getting hit by) a heavy object from above, which are great hazards to look out for. Another problem with scaffolds is that, due to their metallic nature, they’re also at risk of electrocution. So, if your project is taking place near a power line, try to additionally protect your scaffold with an insulated fiberglass screen.
In order to protect themselves, employees should wear proper equipment like helmets and non-skid boots. In this way, they’ll become much more stable on the scaffold and minimize the risk of falling. Furthermore, there’s such a thing as the maximum load of scaffold, which is something to be taken in mind. Lastly, don’t presume that you’re equally as competent on a scaffold as you are on the ground.
3. Face protection
Some tasks, like welding or breaking concrete, cause debris and particles to fly all around. Needless to say, if some of it were to end up in your eye, you’d have a serious problem at hands. This is why it’s pivotal that every single employee wears eye and face protection at all times. Consequently, it’s an employer’s duty to provide this necessary equipment, and failing to do so is punishable by law. Moreover, you’re in obligation, both legal and moral, not just to provide this equipment but also to ensure that everyone’s properly using it. Moreover, some of your employees may wear prescription lenses, which gives you yet another variable to look out for.
4. Toxic substances
On some projects, your employees may be in touch with hazardous chemicals. Here, most people think about lead or asbestos, if, for instance, you’re demolishing an old building in which place you’re making a new construction. On the other hand, even treated wood can be particularly troublesome. Moreover, when inhaled (especially in high enough quantity), even sawdust can be particularly problematic. With that in mind, you need to ensure that everything is properly labeled and that everyone wears a mask in a situation which mandates it.
5. Head protection
In one of the previous sections, we talked about the importance of helmets, but a lot of people misunderstand this requirement. For instance, they assume that their primary purpose is to protect one from fall damage when this is clearly not the case. After all, fall damage is (commonly) absorbed by one’s neck, legs or back, which are areas that are not protected by the helmet. On the other hand, when it comes to electrical shock or flying objects, helmets can be quite effective.
Finally, even with all the best practices and intentions in mind, it’s fairly possible that an accident will occur. When this happens, you can’t allow getting discouraged by it, seeing as how your reaction may make a difference between life and death. For instance, providing general safety and health provisions, having them close at hand and having a trained health officer nearby are just some of the things you can do. Hope for the best outcome, but always be ready for the worst.