Working in construction is by default a dangerous activity. That is not to say that every construction worker is doomed to suffer an injury over the course of their career, but accidents can happen even when the right safety protocols are implemented and followed to the letter. In fact, the construction industry is constantly recording a disproportionately high number of occupational accidents.
Workers’ safety is defined by Safeopedia as “the provision of a safe environment, safe equipment, and safe procedures in the workplace in order to ensure workers’ health and safety. While organizations certainly have a moral obligation to ensure the safety of workers, an unsafe workplace can also have serious legal and financial consequences for employers.”
Safeguarding health and safety in construction sites is crucial for preventing not only injuries, but also long-term damage, illnesses (from prolonged exposure to harmful substances, for instance), and mental health issues.
Implementing rigorous safety protocols protects workers, but also the general public, as many construction sites are located in populated areas. Any kind of construction hazard—like a fire or an equipment malfunction—could put bystanders at serious risk of injury or even death.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the four most frequent construction hazards are:
For workers and contractors alike, having a construction safety checklist can be very useful for identifying and planning for any potential construction hazards. Here are 6 construction safety rules that construction teams should be always aware of in order to prevent unfortunate accidents:
Prior to starting work on a construction project, a risk assessment for the construction site should be dutifully performed. Then, all workers should undergo a site induction, where all the site-specific safety rules and potential risks are explained in detail.
Storing construction equipment and materials safely helps keep the site tidy and prevents accidents like slips, falls or exposure to dangerous substances. Entry and exit areas in particular should be kept clear, so workers can easily escape in the case of an emergency.
The golden rule of construction site safety is to wear protective equipment such as hard hats, safety boots, and hi-vis vests at all times. PPE is a worker’s last line of defense in the face of a construction site hazard, so it should never be overlooked.
A construction site is not a good place for wandering around. Workers should follow signs placed around the site and remember all the instructions provided in their induction. They should also be always aware of their surroundings.
To ensure safety on a construction site, a site-specific emergency evacuation plan should be created that accounts for all kinds of hazards that may happen: equipment malfunction, fires, chemical exposure and so on.
Any equipment defects or incidents should be brought to the site supervisor’s attention immediately. That way, they can be resolved in time and no other workers will be at risk of using broken equipment or unsafe materials in the future.
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