Safety on construction sites is a must because we need to keep people safe while doing their jobs; even though working in construction is a high-risk job, it doesn’t mean that people should be afraid to go to work every day.
Safety is king when it comes to construction sites, and it is primordial to keep both employers and employees safe. And not because it is a high-risk job doesn’t mean that you have to be unsafe on the job. So, let’s dive into this blog and learn more about construction safety without further ado.
1. Why make a construction site safe?
On a construction site, the risk of accidents is omnipresent. Every day, workers are exposed to important risks for their health and safety. Work accidents in the building industry still represent a large majority of the accidents on the worksite. But above all, they are generally more serious in their consequences.
The construction sector is associated with the highest risk of fatal accidents in Europe. The construction sector still accounts for most workplace fatalities and a high rate of non-fatal accidents. Taking measures to ensure safety on construction sites is essential.
Physical risks are the most important, ranging from a minor injury to permanent physical disability or even death of the worker. For the employer, even a minor accident can have important consequences on the company or the progress of the construction projects. The consequences of a construction accident can be:
- Direct- injury/death of one or more workers, property damage, lost time on a project, etc.
- Indirect- lack of personnel, lawsuits, delays, budget overruns, changes in insurance costs, management time required, etc.
In the long term, these tragic events can also damage the company’s image and reputation, cause a loss of confidence in workers and customers, and lead to strikes.
2. Identification of hazards
Workers entering the worksite must be fully aware of the potential hazards. This means that they must be able to identify the hazards in their workplace and know how to prevent them. In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has identified the ten most frequently involved activities in reported construction accidents.
Scaffolding is the number one cause of accidents, and the danger arises when scaffolds are not erected or used properly. It is the foreman’s responsibility to ensure that each worker is fully aware of their hazards. OSHA estimates that better protection of workers from such accidents would prevent approximately 4,500 injuries and 50 deaths each year.
The foreman must ensure that each worker is fully trained to perform the job without endangering their safety or the safety of other workers. If workers are not fully trained or aware of the hazards, they shall be denied access to the worksite.
3. Safety training
While workers can learn many skills by working directly on job sites, they must acquire safety knowledge before entering the job site. Learning does not stop with one training session. Even experienced worker must regularly update their knowledge of job site safety.
They may also be faced with a type of hazard they have not yet been trained for (chemical, electrical, etc.). Job site safety training teaches workers how to identify and prevent hazards (for example, fall protection or the proper use of scaffolding, ladders, etc.).
It also reminds them of setting and following specific safety rules. It is the responsibility of the foreman and the construction company to ensure that workers cannot enter a worksite without proper safety training.
4. Appropriate supervision
The site manager must ensure the safety of the workers by applying the safety instructions and enforcing the safety rules. He must have excellent visibility on his site, and the workers present to do so.
When a worker arrives on a construction site with specific risks for the first time, he is given a safe welcome. This reception guarantees that the worker is well informed, from a reminder of the risks involved to the instructions to be adopted.
In case of an accident on-site or control by authorities, providing the list of people present on site is essential. Mobile applications now offer an easy way to record the entries and exits of the site (based on declarations, badges, etc.) to obtain the attendance list at any time.
Although all workers should be able to identify and avoid hazards on construction sites, the reality is much more complex. For example, a worker may have a moment of inattention, feel that their way is better, or not be fully aware of a hazard. An accomplished supervisor with real supervisory expertise must supervise each job site. The foreman must ensure that all safety measures are followed without exception.
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