The construction industry is one of the major sources of employment, all over the world. In fact, in Australia, it is one of the “high demand and high paying” industries. However, along with the bright side, there are a few extremely dangerous hazards that accompany the work at construction sites.
Irrespective of whether the construction project is very small, like a small part of a residential apartment, or a large one on a construction site, the risks of injury and damages always exist. Thus, proper planning and precautions play a critical role in safety of workers or for anyone passing through the construction site.
So, just before you go ahead and start your work, here are a few common hazards that occur at construction sites, and some key safety tips for you to avoid these risks.
5 Most Common Hazards at Construction Sites and their Safety Tips
Working at Scaffoldings
Scaffolds are the most frequently used equipment at any large construction site. And, over a million of workers use on these foldings, day and night. Hence, the risks of falling from these scaffold or getting under one, is high.
- Do not alter the scaffoldings without consulting with the manufacturer
- Make sure the scaffoldings are set on solid and sound footing
- Always make sure the scaffoldings are fully planked or decked
- Replace or repair any damaged parts that have, even, the slightest risk of breaking
- Provide the required training to all the employees who work on the scaffolds, especially, when the scaffolds are designed to be mobile and can move horizontally
- Prohibit all the workers to work on scaffoldings, when these are covered with snow, ice, or any other slippery materials
- Do not move or erect scaffolds within 10 miles(approx.) of the existing power lines
- Avoid working on the scaffolds during the bad weather or high winds
- Do not build up anything on the platform, to increase the height of the scaffoldings
- Avoid overloading
Falling is most common, yet life threatening accident that occurs at construction sites. There are a number of factors that cause falls, including unstable working surfaces, misuse or failure to use fall protection equipment and human error etc.
- Provide a safer elevated platform or aerial lifts to the workers
- Install control line system near the edges of the roofs or floors of unfinished levels. Also, consider using erect guardrail system with toeboards and warnings
- Provide the workers with a personal fall arrest system and use the safety nets
The another very common hazards is falling of the objects from the constructions sites. Sometimes such objects can be significantly big in size,and hence it becomes all the more important to take due precautions towards protecting workers and equipment.
- Make it mandatory for all the employees to wear hard hats/helmets, especially, while working on the areas where there is a high risk of objects falling from above
- Use safety-toed footwear to prevent crushed-toes, when working around heavy equipment or falling objects.
- All elevated surfaces that have working area beneath them should have four inch toeboards
Hazards Associated with the Ladders
Misused and poor quality ladders or stairways, can cause injuries or other accidents at the construction sites. There is a huge number of workers who go through such accidents every year, and sometimes these accidents quite serious and can lead to time-off from the job.
- Appropriate ladder according to the tasks should be used to avoid risks
- Before using the ladder always conduct a check on them for any damage or defect, including:
- Any kind of structural defect, broken or missing steps and split or bent side rails
- Damaged safety devices
- Any kind of greasy or other kind of slippery material on the steps or side rails
- Make sure that none of the stickers or pain hide any defect beneath them, except for the warning or instruction labels
- Check the height of the ladders for easy reach to the work area
- Tag the defective ladders as “Do Not Use”, to avoid any possible hazard
- Avoid overloading – check the weight capacity marked by the manufacturer. Also, check if the ladder is capable of supporting the weight of the worker along with their equipments and other stuff
- Be careful with the electric wiring or power lines, while placing any metallic ladder at any place
Forklifts and other Powerful Hardware
The construction equipment are also upgrading with constant changing automobile technology. In fact, every now and then we get something smarter and more powerful. However, no matter how smart or powerful these tools get, some human involvement is needed to operate them.
The accidents occurring while using forklifts, are also, one of the most common but dangerous hazards that take place at construction sites.
- Make sure that all the workers, who are going to work with forklifts, should be perfectly trained to drive and operate them
- Make sure that all the employees, who are going to work on these equipment, are of legal age
- The forklifts should be properly maintained with all the haulage
- Do not modify the capacity and safety equipment, until you get an expert view and approval from manufacturer
- Examine the equipments or the trucks before every use
- While working on the forklifts:
- Follow the safety procedures provided by manufacturer to operate it for picking, moving, or putting down heavy materials
- Always drive safely according to the legal speed limits and other regulations
- Operators should always wear seat belts
- Make sure the reverse signal alarm is working and is set to the sound level above all the surroundings
- Never allow any of the workers or yourself to do stunts or horseplay with the vehicle
- Do not allow overloading
- Examine the trucks and equipment on a regular basis and remove the defective ones from service