The construction industry requires that you maintain a safe work environment and job site. When working with heavy machinery and labor intensive tasks there are many hazards.
Every construction site is subject to hazards. These hazards are the leading cause of death on a construction site. Below are five hazards that can be avoided if you and your employees are properly trained on how to handle them. Knowing and understanding these hazards are a great starting place and will help you develop a plan and strategy to keep your construction site safe.
Falls often happen because of unstable working surfaces, failure of use or misuse of fall prevention equipment, and unsafe use of a ladder or scaffolding. To avoid these accidents, make sure your ladders and scaffolding meet the safety standards. Be sure they are free from holes, stable, and have good traction. Make sure your employees are trained properly as well.
Another major cause of death on a construction site is “being struck by objects.” Vehicle hazards are a major issue. To avoid these accidents, make sure there are clear routes for vehicles and motorized equipment. Your employees should be aware of these routes and avoid positioning themselves between fixed and moving objects. Misuse of heavy equipment can also be hazardous. Make sure your employees are properly trained in how to use this equipment.
Electrical hazards are another cause of death on a construction site. You should always locate the utilities and power shutoff before beginning a project. Locate the overhead power lines and be sure that your employees know the minimum safety distance. To avoid any electrical accidents make sure your employees are properly trained and know the electrical hazards on a construction site.
Many construction fatalities happen due to the collapse of construction site trenches. Be sure your trenches are five feet or deeper to have sufficient trench wall support and safety measures. To keep your employees safe, mark all utilities before digging, provide qualified personnel to inspect safety trench, and train your employees how to properly protect themselves.
Hazardous materials are on every construction site. These include toxic airborne materials and chemical spills that can release toxic fumes or burn. You can protect your employees from these hazards by providing the right PPE and proper training on how to safely handle hazardous materials.
Every construction site needs a system in order to maintain a safe workplace. Therefore, creating a risk management system can keep everyone on the same page. This system can promote general safety and make sure that the members on your construction team know about these safety measures. A risk management system should be put in place before beginning a project to avoid potential hazards in the future. Some procedures may include setting up and putting away equipment, communication with team members, and using machinery safely.
Communication is key to keeping a safe workplace. Your team should be in constant communication with one another. Because of the many different tasks on a construction site, your team should maintain communication across all teams to ensure everyone is aware of each other. They can give each other the space they need to perform job duties safely and stay away from areas where others are working in case of potential hazards.
Because of the many hazards, such as machinery and potentially falling objects on a construction site, it’s imperative to supply your team with the right protective gear. This gear can include: hard hats or helmets, slip-resistant boots, heavy-duty gloves and masks or goggles.
Encourage your team to clear their work areas and put away equipment when they finish working there. This will ensure the workspace is ready for the next individual who may be working there to continue working smoothly. To keep a safe job site, establish a system for cleaning a workspace when a task is complete. This system may include moving tools to a specific place and excess materials out of the way.
Be sure that your construction team is aware of their surroundings. Many different jobs and projects take place at the same time on a construction site. Knowing your surroundings can help avoid accidents and injuries. To promote awareness, create a schedule for your team or encourage them to pay attention to their peers when traveling across the job site or areas between tasks.
The proper PPE on a construction site is essential when providing your team with a safe workplace.
PPE or Personal Protective Equipment is anything that protects an employee from injury or illness caused by workplace hazards.
Hard hats protect industrial workers from accidents such as flying or falling objects. Hard hats must be penetration-, shock-, water-, resistant and slow-burning. They also must provide impact and penetration protection and some protection from electrical hazards.
Leggings, foot guards and safety shields protect workers from falling, rolling or sharp objects; wet, slippery, hot surfaces; and electrical hazards.
Earplugs and earmuffs protect employees from excessive noise which can cause hearing damage and stress. Employees who are subjected to loud, constant noise should be fitted for molded earplugs.
Gloves protect employees from skin damage from cuts, punctures, thermal and chemical burns. Hand protection provides different levels of thermal protection and grip requirements depending on the employee’s work. Gloves are made of many different materials such as leather, canvas, mesh, and liquid- or chemical- resistant materials.
Eye protection can protect employees from flying particles, hot liquids, chemical gasses, and harmful radiation. The eye protection must fit closely, comfortably and not restrict vision.
Respirators protect employees from inhaling air contaminated with harmful dust, gasses, fumes, or sprays. This PPE must be OSHA approved and fit closely to the face and cover the nose and mouth to be effective.
Construction site safety is more than just using PPE. The use of industrial barrier protection will also keep your construction site a safe workplace. There are many options to safeguard your workplace.
Noise control systems can lessen loud sounds in a gymnasium, church, warehouse, and other spaces with loud noises. There are many screens to choose from such as modular acoustic screens, ceiling baffles, quilted fiberglass panels, acoustic foams, and more.
Industrial curtains are designed to help create partitioned areas in a warehouse, manufacturing plant, or other industrial space. Most recently, to protect from COVID-19 industrial curtains are being used to protect and distance workers from each other. These curtains can also help to conserve energy, privacy, and provide an overall safer work environment.
Vinyl strip doors provide easy access and visibility. They also conserve energy and reduce noise to keep a workspace safe. They are effective noise barriers and increase safety and productivity.
Welding and safety screens protect workers from a variety of manufacturing operations like welding, grinding, and cutting. These screens are versatile and provide a safety barrier between welding operations and workers and bystanders.
Fire safety tools help you locate life-saving tools quickly, even in large industrial settings. This equipment includes blankets and covers vinyl-coated flame resistant nylon to keep safety equipment clean. The fluorescent orange color enhances visibility in an emergency.
Automotive curtain systems provide an enclosed but see-through workstation. They glide easily when you want them out of the way. These curtains are great for auto, truck, and aircraft shop operations. Automotive curtains keep dust, water spray, and sparks out of the painting area. If you’re a construction worker or in an industry in which this safety equipment applies, keep these safety tips in mind and start 2022 off with a safe workplace for you and your team.
By following these tips and maintaining a safe work environment, you will have a healthy and safe workplace for you and your employees. Avoiding accidents whenever possible is everyone’s goal!
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