Builders face many health and safety issues at work. From minor trips to falling debris, maintaining safety on site can seem very difficult. We have looked at the top five hazards construction workers come across in their day-to-day operations:
Construction sites typically feature scaffolding, tall buildings and significant drops. To avoid accidents on scaffolding, ensure that daily checks are made – particularly during times of bad weather. Wind, rain and snow can all cause the scaffold to sway.
Ladders should also be checked on a regular basis. By making sure that all ladders are stable and secure, workers are less likely to use faulty sets, which will prevent them slipping to the ground.
Smaller trips can also occur on construction sites. Uneven terrain, tools left on the ground, wires, cords, wet areas and other hazards can lead to minor falls. To prevent injuries, make sure that all pathways are clear and free from any unnecessary obstructions, such as tools or pieces of machinery.
Building sites contain multiple drops, therefore objects can easily fall to the ground. Materials, machinery, wooden planks, tools, debris and other hazardous objects can fall. Such objects may be accidentally knocked by workers operating on scaffolding or at higher levels, putting workers on the ground at risk.
However, a few simple precautions can prevent serious injuries. Hard hats, for example, prevent head trauma when objects fall. Employees who work at higher levels should be fully informed of the risks. They should be instructed to watch their step, pick up their tools and generally check that their work areas are tidy. By ensuring that employees follow these key steps, dangerous and even fatal incidents could be avoided.
Sadly, many accidents on building sites lead to serious injuries and fatalities. Such incidents often involve vehicles – typical examples include when workers are hit by forklifts or reversing vans.
Double-checking the safety features of all vehicles on site is a great preventative measure. By ensuring that brakes, reserving lights and beepers are working, all employees will be aware of vehicles that are in operation.
Vehicle-only areas should also be designated on the construction site. Clear signs and barriers can highlight such places and prevent people from entering them on foot.
Exposure to Irritants
Chemicals are used in almost every industrial work environment and the construction industry is no exception. Substances of particular concern include corrosive liquids, vapours, gases and dust particles. Resulting injuries can include irritated eyes, burns and blistered skin.
If a worker is subjected to a dangerous element for a significant amount of time, the resulting physical symptoms can develop into a serious injury or condition. Emergency Safety Showers and Eye/Face Wash Stations must be easily accessible throughout the construction site – to be ANSI compliant, within 10 seconds of a hazard – in order to ensure employees can decontaminate themselves quickly and easily in the event of an accident and minimise the risk of a long-term injury.
Construction workers endure long hours yet this issue is often overlooked. They also take part in physically demanding tasks outdoors, meaning that they can suffer from exhaustion especially after a long shift. Such employees should not operate tools or machinery.
Dehydration, tiredness and overexertion can all lead to lapses in concentration, which can in turn lead to mistakes and injuries on site. In these cases, the individual in question is both a danger to themselves and others. Ensuring that workers have regular breaks and access to water can make all the difference.
Maintaining a Safe Construction Site
Whether you are concerned about trips, falling objects or any other problem highlighted in this blog, it is clear that health and safety can be difficult to oversee.
Despite this, keeping on top of such risks is extremely important on building sites. With attention to detail and careful planning your workplace can be safer.
This guest blog is brought to you by Hughes Safety Showers, experts in Emergency Safety Showers, Eye/Face Wash Stations and Decontamination Equipment.