Construction sites are considered to be one of the most potentially hazardous working environments and excessive exposure to hazards places workers at risk of injury and possibly even death. It is for this reason that companies engaged in construction activities need to identify all these hazards and address them by either eliminating them, minimising the risks associated with them and implementing the necessary control measures so that everyone on site is kept safe.
Unfortunately sometimes hazards can go unnoticed and sometimes even when the risk associated with a hazard is obvious those in charge of the site still fail to address them. For some reason there are certain hazards that are ignored more than others, perhaps because it seems like too much of an effort and expense to implement the necessary control measures. Here are a list of commonly missed hazards on construction sites although not all inclusive the list can be useful in identifying any problems you may have missed on the construction site. The number of construction accidents relating to these hazards is the basis for the list.
1. Electrical Hazards:
In light of multiple electrical accidents which having been taking place on Aussie worksites, many of which have proven fatal, it is important that we address general electrical safety on the construction site. Although the subject of electrical safety is too vast to cover in a brief paragraph having the right mindset, being alert and attentive to hazards is vital to avoid injury due to this hazard.
Workers need to learn how to recognise electrical wires whether they be in the form of power lines, electrical wiring exposed on the site due to work processes being undertaken or cables buried underground, particularly when working on renovation construction sites.
2. Slips, Trips and Falls
Some of the injuries associated with slips, trips and falls include cuts, sprains, fractures, spinal injury, strains and possibly death. As numerous as the possible injuries are, so too are the hazards that contribute to these injuries. By paying attention to these hazards, it is possible to reduce the risk involved.
Factors that contribute to slips, trips and falls include wet or oily floors, uneven or slippery surfaces or slopes, working on ladders or scaffolding or in fact working from any height, stairs, areas with bad lighting, working near trenches or pits etc.
Each of these need to be considered individually and if they cannot be eliminated or replaced with less hazardous work, the necessary control measures should be implemented to deal with them.
3. Hazards associated with Heavy Construction Equipment –
A number of construction workers die every year due to heavy construction equipment. The main causes of such accidents include ground workers struck when a vehicle is reversing or changing direction; equipment rollovers that injure the operator; mechanics run over when brakes are not properly set and ground workers crushed by falling equipment from backhoes, buckets, and other moving construction vehicles. To prevent these risks, workers should follow all construction safety guidelines necessary to eliminate the exposure to such injuries and accidents.
Safety risks on construction sites are unavoidable; however, these can be prevented if workers are instructed on how to identify the hazards that might be present at the work-site. The employer must establish proper safety standards that meet Australian regulations. This will ensure that workers will have a safe working environment during normal operation.
Most importantly ensure that all staff are aware of the risks and control measures implemented to deal with hazards on construction sites. Training and ongoing education of workers is vital in avoiding incidents on construction sites.