Best Practices to Follow to Improve Construction Site Safety

Best Practices to Follow to Improve Construction Site Safety

A blue safety helmet with construction workers in the background

Every year, thousands of Americans die in construction-related accidents. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the rate of fatal injury for the construction industry is higher than the national average for all industries. Improving the training, education, and safety measures placed on the construction site can cut the alarming number of construction-related fatalities by half, the OSHA said.

Accidents can happen anytime on a construction site, more so if the site did not follow the recommendations made by OSHA. Workers can get electrocuted, caught in an explosion of the air compressor in an industrial setting, struck by falling objects, or fall from high-rise buildings. Construction sites are incredibly dangerous workplaces. That’s why even if there is a high demand for jobs to be available, workers seem not to want to have anything to do with construction sites.

But there are many safety hazards and precautions that employers can put in place to ensure the protection of their workers. That should not make workers complacent, however. They need to ensure that they are well-protected, too, by following the guidelines of the OSHA and building a buddy system with their workmates.

Building Awareness

Before workers are deployed to a construction site, they need to be made fully aware of the implications of working on a hazardous site. Ignorant workers are the greatest threat to everyone involved in operating the construction site. Understanding how the site works and what safety measures must be taken is the best way to prevent accidents. Peruse the OSHA Safety Check Lists to familiarize yourself with the various precautionary measures required by federal agencies.

Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

In April 2016, OSHA updated their standard personal protective and life-saving equipment requirements, putting special emphasis on protecting the eyes and the face from flying particles, liquid chemicals, chemical gasses or vapors, molten metal, and potential radiation. But when wearing protective gear, workers must make sure that they don’t interfere with their movements and that they fit snugly over their faces.

Handling Hazardous Chemicals

Some examples of hazardous materials that can be found on construction sites and have the potential of infecting workers are silica, lead, asbestos, and treated wood. Some building materials also contain cadmium, mercury, zinc, and beryllium. There’s a guideline that has to be followed when it comes to handling hazardous chemicals in the workplace. Make sure that this is followed. Workers also need to wear protective clothing and clean up any spill when it happens.

Unclogging Work Areas

Two engineers wearing safety helmets and safety jacket

Workers tend to crowd a working area if a large machine or piece of equipment is being operated. It seems to be a bad force of habit for some construction workers. There is no reason for workers to watch a piece of heavy equipment being used. It only increases the risk of someone getting injured. When you are operating a heavy piece of machinery, beep continuously to let everyone know that you’re backing up or moving forward.

Workers on a construction site also need to develop a kind of a buddy system. This means that if one worker needs to get off a machine or climb down from the ladder, another worker near him can spot him and guide him to safety. While these tips here do not guarantee the protection of workers on the site, it lessens the risk of injuries and accidents. When followed, these best practices can actually save lives.

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