Construction workers and professionals have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Construction sites are riddled with life-threatening and grave injury hazards, and despite the danger, safety is often overlooked. Employers and construction managers must effectively mitigate safety hazards to ensure worker safety at the site.
There are a series of protective equipment and measures that we can use to mitigate hazardous conditions and ensure worker safety. Most of the hazards occur due to improper use of scaffolds, lack of fall protection, lack of excavations, and head protection.
This article will walk you through effective strategies and protective measures to ensure worker safety on construction sites.
Here, take a look:
Protective Equipment & Tools
Construction sites must be furnished with a series of tools and equipment to safeguard workers and prevent hazards. Protective gear and tools will cement a safety-focused culture around the construction site, allowing workers to feel valued. Lack of protective equipment gives rise to mistakes and hazards by creating opportunities for injuries and accidents.
Scaffolds are the most crucial protective measure, and they should be used and installed correctly. For elevated platforms, construction sites must be equipped with aerial lifts to prevent falls and provide safe working surfaces. All heavy machinery and tools must be regularly maintained and inspected to avoid accidents and oversights.
Workers should not enter trenches unprotected and without adequate excavations. Construction workers should not use metallic ladders near power grids and lines, or electrical wiring. Appropriate body harnesses, head protection, and safety net systems are mandatory to prevent bodily harm.
Managers can provide workers with slip-resistant and puncture-resistant boots to prevent falls and hazards. All electrical tools and equipment must be regularly inspected and maintained to overrule defects. There are various styles of safety glasses designed for multiple construction sites and their nature of work. It is crucial to equip workers with safety glasses to protect their eyes and face against flying sparks and other hazards.
Construction companies must also focus on creating healthy and inclusive work environments to safeguard workers’ physical and emotional well-being. Specific tools and equipment ensure worker safety and health but may not directly contribute to the project. For instance, providing workers with water filtration systems and shady areas helps reduce heat exposure and dehydration.
Workers must be provided with fabric structures to find shelter and store their belongings at under-construction sites. Construction managers must maintain First Aid care and medical safety tools to cater to injuries and minor accidents without delay.
When it comes to worker safety on-site, hazard communication is of the utmost importance to ensure that safety protocols are well-understood. All information must be accessible to workers in multiple languages and formats to effectively address safety hazards and protocols. Initiating a robust fall-protecting training program before starting construction is the best strategy to mitigate safety hazards effectively.
Before a worker sets foot on the construction site, he/she must be aware of all potential hazards and how to mitigate them. Ignorance leads to mistakes and safety hazards, as workers who don’t understand safety protocols can put everyone at risk. It is crucial to inform the workers of all the perils and dangers of working on a construction site to maintain alertness.
Effective Training Programs
Most construction managers believe that their workers will gain all the skills they need on-the-job. Many regard training programs as a waste of time and money and initiate work on the first day. It is a dangerous and deadly decision that has adverse consequences for both the workers and the construction firm.
Worker safety is a necessary precaution before the workers set foot on the construction site. Various resources are available by construction safety organizations, such as training videos and worksheets, vital for training sessions. (OSHA) Occupational Safety and Health Administration has offered numerous valuable resources for practical worker training.
Seasoned construction workers and engineers can lead the training efforts and inform the workers of standard safety protocols. Training sessions can be held regularly and throughout the year to enforce safety standards. Once the training ends, monitor workers to ensure their compliance and understanding of safety protocols.
On-site safety training is just as essential to ensure that workers can practice these safety skills in high-risk environments. Given the COVID-19 threat, the construction industry should focus on awareness and training to allow the successful resumption of activities. Workers need awareness to adopt sanitary practices, maintain practical social distancing, and prevent needless contact.
When workers are combatting uncertainty and ambiguity, they become more vulnerable to accidents and safety hazards. Direct and robust communication is crucial to eliminate all surprises that might lead to injuries. Managers must begin each day by clearly spelling out the agendas and goals.
Workers must have access to communication devices, such as headsets, walkie-talkies, or smartphones, to maintain communication. These devices will allow them to inform managers of potential safety risks without delays. Lack of communication can put everyone at peril as workers wouldn’t know how to mitigate safety hazards and continue working.
Validating Credentials & Licenses
To reinforce construction safety protocols, managers can document all the on-site processes and protocols. Hazardous chores, such as underground blasting, should be delegated to certified, experienced, and fully-licensed professionals. All supervisors, contractors, and skilled workers must validate their credentials by providing their certification. When undertrained and unlicensed professionals work on the site, the safety of other workers is compromised.
Safeguarding construction workers is ultimately in the interest of the firm and its managers. Increased safety hazards and accidents can push construction firms towards legal troubles and penalties. These hazards also undermine construction firms’ reputation, discouraging developers, workers, and industry bigwigs from working with them.
News regarding a construction firm’s inability to protect its workers tends to spread like wildlife in a jungle. It can ruin your reputation and dissuade new prospects from collaborating with your firm. On the other hand, a focus on safety hazards and training can cement a powerful and dynamic image industry. Firms must choose between short-term budget reductions to long-term legal challenges and a diminishing reputation.