Construction is one of the most dangerous professions. There are many factors that make construction a risky industry to work in, including large equipment, hazardous materials, and electrified wires. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 4,764 workplace deaths in 2020, over 21% occurred in the construction industry. Understanding risks and taking precautions help keep you and your employees safe when working.
What are the Top Construction Safety Risks?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the “fatal four” construction hazards that are the leading cause of deaths. These include falls, struck-by accidents, electrocutions, and caught-in/in-between accidents. Other safety risks include extreme weather and working with harmful substances.
Falls account for the largest number of fatalities. In 2020, falls accounted for 368 workplace deaths. Improper tool use, lack of protection, inadequate equipment, and lack of communication are some of the common reasons these incidents occur.
In order to reduce the number of injuries and deaths that happen, it is important to make improvements to protocols and follow guidelines to keep your team safe. Here are the top four ways to enhance construction safety for your employees.
Offer Safety Training
Training and education help keep your workers aware of potential safety hazards. Knowing the proper protocol and how to use equipment properly can help accidents from happening in the first place.
Additionally, OSHA offers certification in safety training that your team can take. There are various types of training opportunities and topics you can take. Online courses are available on OSHA’s website and many companies offer classroom-style OSHA certifications.
In the event of an emergency, it is important to have a CPR/First Aid certified person on-site at all times. This person can provide care and get a life-threatening situation under control prior to the first response team arriving on the scene.
Follow OSHA Guidelines
OSHA is responsible for ensuring safe working conditions and providing regulations and standards across industries. It is important to stay up-to-date on their current guidelines and make changes when needed.
Following safety guidelines can sometimes feel unnecessary, but they were created to protect you and your employees. To keep your team safe, have one person on your team dedicated to all safety issues. This person can come from within your existing team, or you can outsource a safety professional. This way, one person is responsible for monitoring training and certifications, staying up-to-date on guidelines, creating safety plans, and keeping inventory of first aid kits and gear.
Your employee in charge of safety should develop a safety plan for each job site, keep a copy on-site, and require all subcontractors to submit a plan of their own. Each job site should be evaluated and analyzed for potential risks during the project. If an employee is not following safety guidelines, don’t hesitate to remove them from the project so they don’t injure themselves or others.
Provide Construction Safety Gear
Providing proper safety attire, also known as personal protection equipment, is essential for protecting your team. Not only does it protect your workers, but it shows them you value safety and their wellbeing.
Personal protection equipment includes boots, hard hats, hearing protection, safety goggles, harnesses, gloves, and more. It is important to provide these at your construction site, as well as make sure the gear is in good condition.
Technology is a great way to improve your safety culture. There are many apps available that can track safety meetings, incidents, provide guidelines, and more.
iAuditor is an app created by SafetyCulture and used globally by companies like Toyota and Schneider Electric. It allows you to create checklists, track inspections, build reports, and more.
The American Red Cross has a mobile app that can provide first aid advice and send weather alerts. Extreme temperatures can put outdoor workers at risk, so it’s important to keep track of the weather. OSHA also has a Heat Safety Tool app that keeps track of the heat index, gives precautions, and provides first aid information.
Keeping safety top of mind is imperative to reducing incidents and preventing fatal injuries in construction. Offering training, following OSHA guidelines, and providing safety gear and technology all help keep your construction site a safer place to work.
A.R. Brouwer Company is committed to taking precautions and following safety guidelines at all of our construction sites. We are a full-service commercial design/build, construction management, and general contracting firm ready to meet the needs of your project. Contact us to learn more about how we can help.