According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were over 4,000 fatalities in the workplace in 2020. This shows the danger of the construction industry.
Construction is a high-risk occupation. The potential for severe injury or death is ever present on construction sites. However, by understanding the most common construction-related injuries, you can take steps to prevent them.
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction, accounting for nearly 40% of all fatalities. Workers often fall because they are not provided with the proper safety equipment or training to use it. Other times, workers are simply not paying attention and fail to see a hazard until it’s too late. There are various ways to prevent falls in your projects. Here are two of the most common methods:
It’s common to see tall construction sites without any guardrails. This puts workers at a high risk of falling off the edge. Ensure guardrails are installed on elevated surfaces and regularly checked for damage or weakness.
Using Fall Arrest Systems
Fall arrest systems, such as harnesses and safety nets, can save workers if they fall from a height. However, all workers should be trained to use and set up these systems before starting any work at heights.
Reduce Working From Height
Lastly, you should do your best to reduce the number of tasks needed to be done from a certain height. You can do this by properly managing your projects. Additionally, providing scaffolding or elevating work platforms instead of having workers balance on top of unstable surfaces is also a good option.
Struck by Object
An object is striking another common construction-related injury. This type of accident typically occurs when workers are not paying attention and fail to see a falling object until it’s too late. To prevent this, OSHA recommends that employers provide workers with hard hats, other personal protective equipment, and safe training on working around falling objects. Additionally, using specific equipment to carry heavy objects can also help reduce the chances of this kind of injury. A robust lifting block can allow workers to transport heavy materials without the risk of dropping them on themselves or others., It’s a piece of excellent equipment, and it’s also quite affordable.
Caught Between Objects
Being caught in or between objects is another common construction-related injury. Unfortunately, these accidents often occur when workers are unaware of their surroundings and fail to see a hazard until it’s too late. To prevent being caught in or between objects, OSHA recommends that employers provide workers with training on how to work around moving machinery safely.
Electrocutions are also a common cause of death in construction, accounting for hundreds of all fatalities. These accidents often occur when workers come into contact with power lines or other electrical hazards while working on roofs or scaffolds. Thankfully, there are many ways to avoid electrocutions in your projects. Here are three of the most common ways to do that.
Rubber is a material that does not conduct electricity. Workers should use rubber equipment, such as insulated gloves and boots when working around electrical hazards.
Electrical Safety Training
Before starting a project involving electricity, all workers should be trained in basic electrical safety. This training can cover identifying potential risks and proper working procedures.
Equipment that has wires is more likely to cause electrocution accidents. Using battery-powered equipment can reduce the risk of electrical hazards on the job site.
Overexertion is another leading cause of nonfatal injuries in construction, accounting for nearly 20% of all injuries. These accidents often occur when workers lift, push, pull, or hold heavy objects for long periods without taking breaks. Thankfully, a good construction manager can help avoid overexertion in their projects. Here are three ways you can do that.
Construction workers aren’t machines. They can’t work continuously without rest. So make sure to schedule regular breaks for workers and enforce them so that they have time to rest their muscles and avoid overexertion.
Proper Lifting Techniques
Train workers on proper lifting techniques, such as using their legs rather than their back, to reduce the strain on their muscles and prevent overexertion injuries.
Frequent Breaks and Rotations
Rotate workers on tasks, so they are not continuously performing strenuous activities and give them frequent breaks to rest and avoid overexertion.
As construction managers, it’s crucial to prioritize the safety of our workers. By identifying common construction-related injuries, implementing appropriate prevention methods, and constantly inspecting for hazards, managers can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents on their job sites. Keeping your workers safe should always be at the forefront of your mind as you work towards completing a project successfully.