Construction workers are exposed to a range of hazards that can increase their risk of serious injuries. Every day on a construction site, the staff is exposed to risks that include working from height, moving or falling objects, collapsing trenches, and electricity, to name a few.
Despite these possible risks, there are many ways and practices to ensure safety in the workplace. First, let’s see why it is important to address safety risks and some compliance requirements.
Why Safety Matters in Construction Sites
Essentially, construction safety means implementing rules, regulations, and safeguards at construction sites to keep workers safe from possible injury and harm.
OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), an organization that governs workplace safety, sets rules, enforces them, and provides resources that employers—and employees alike—have to be compliant to.
Implementing safety rules and measures while also providing workplace safety training helps to significantly mitigate common injuries such as slips, falls, collisions with objects or vehicles.
OSHA compliance requirements
All businesses in the construction industry are subjected to OSHA compliance requirements. These are some of the key responsibilities employers have under the OSHA law:
- Ensure that employees have and use safe equipment and tools and properly maintain those tools.
- Keeping records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Establishing or updating operating procedures and communicating them so that employees follow safety and health requirements.
- Providing the names of authorized employee representatives to the OSHA compliance officer if they may be asked to lead the compliance officer during an inspection.
- Posting OSHA citations at or near the work area involved.
Ways to Ensure Worker Safety
Although construction work has been around for centuries, the concept of construction safety has only been around for the last few hundred years. These are some ways employers can ensure that the staff is safe while working at the construction site.
Arrange Health & Safety Training
Within a field like construction, before you allow workers or subcontractors on the construction site, proper training is essential to steer clear of possible fatalities that will hurt your business.
Workers should be trained on operating heavy machinery that may include ladders, deck screens, elevators, belt feeders, and other equipment used on the construction site. Even if it may seem redundant to the workers, safety training can only increase any knowledge they may already have.
As a part of safety preparation, it is also recommended that staff have proper first aid awareness and, if needed, can perform necessary life-saving procedures.
OSHA has created workplace safety training courses for various topics related to construction, some of them include:
- Aerial Boom Lift Safety
- Arc Flash Safety
- Chemical Hazards and Toxic Substances
- Construction Asbestos Awareness
- Construction Electrical Safety
- Construction Fall Protection
- Nail Gun Safety
Routinely Inspect Equipment
Construction workers depend on their tools to work efficiently and get the job done. The risk of serious accidents increases if tools are unsafe or broken, that is why equipment should regularly be examined and tested. It is both your responsibility as an employer but also of the worker to ensure there are no malfunctions or defects or to highlight issues if there are any.
Additionally, to form a culture centered around site safety, you must supply workers with adequate work equipment. Gears such as proper personal protective equipment (PPE) are designed to endure rough conditions and hazards, and it is up to the manager to provide the appropriate gear based on the task at hand.
Assure Workers are Aware of Possible Hazards
With construction sites being full of potential dangers, workers need to be fully competent to work with dangerous machinery and aware of the risks of their actions, not just for themselves but also for others and the public.
As the employer, you should encourage and call attention to why workers must highlight any hazards with signs and posters as a warning to everyone nearby to take precautions. These precautions are a convenient way of reducing accidents. Said posters and symbols can be used to indicate dangers such as falling objects, large vehicles, or the presence of potentially harmful chemical agents.
Encourage Efficient & Clear Communication
As the employer, you need to be an example of effective communication for your employees. It is important for staff to communicate with each other and any alternative party if they identify potential risks.
When you create a relationship reliant on open communication, consequently it allows workers to regularly give input about what they think could make their job safer and have the opportunity to report any accidents or near-misses.
At the end of the day, no construction worker wants to show up to work for a firm that doesn’t put the worker’s safety first. Implementing measures and practicing construction site safety methods prevents casualties, which in turn makes for a successful business. There is no guaranteed way to reduce the number of accidents to zero, but following these safety practices will undoubtedly help alleviate them.
Elias Parsons is an LA-based Digital Marketing Specialist who works with Workwear Guru to inform, educate and help readers through engaging content pieces.