If you’ve been in the construction industry long enough, you are probably aware by now of the hazards associated with this type of work. Regardless of where in the world you work or what type of trade you’re involved in, there are just certain incidents that seem to keep popping up time and again on the construction site.
Try to avoid these common mishaps on a construction site.
1. Slips, trips and falls
All over the world, this hazard seems to be the most common on all work sites, not just construction sites. Slips and trips can be minimised by paying particular attention to housekeeping, cleaning up spills immediately, not leaving tools, equipment and debris lying around and posting signs wherever there is a risk of a slip, trip or fall.
The first employee to discover a slippery surface should report it immediately to their manager, who must ensure the hazard is dealt with – don’t assume that any reported issue is not important enough to attend to immediately
2. Falling from a height
A common yet unavoidable part of construction work is working from heights. Falling is a common cause of fatalities on construction sites and even if you survive, serious, debilitating injuries can result from falls even from a relatively low height.
Builders fall off scaffoldings for a number of reasons, but the most common cause is a lack of guardrails being in place. Site controllers need to ensure workers aren’t being placed at risk because of failure to provide a safe work environment and system of work.
Scaffolds need to be solidly built and guardrails should be placed wherever necessary. In addition workers should be equipped with appropriate fall protection such as harnesses and rope grabs.
Unfortunately these accidents are 100 per cent avoidable, yet they claim so many lives every year. Common causes of death and injury involve contact with exposed wires, defective machinery and electrically charged metal objects.
Another problem is that workers are often unaware of the minimum clearance distances from power lines, causing further unnecessary deaths.
4. Vehicle related accidents
In Europe 1 in 3 fatal construction site accidents involve vehicles. Although these accidents aren’t as common here in Australia, they do still occur. The most common accident is when people are hit by reversing vehicles and equipment.
Another major concern is when pedestrians are struck by forklift trucks. Another serious cause of vehicle accidents on a construction site is a lack of training and poor vehicle maintenance have often been cited as major causes of these accidents.
Those in control of the site need to ensure they review the site’s traffic plan and routes in order to minimise the risk of these incidents. For example site controllers should consider keeping pedestrians and vehicles on separate routes. They should also design the site in a way that removes the need for vehicles to reverse.
Employers should never skimp on vehicle maintenance. Vehicles need to always be checked before use, especially the brakes and reversing lights/beepers.