Construction site accidents are common, but the majority of the time they are so easily avoidable. Working on a construction site should always be a safe operation. Here’s everything you need to know about the most common type of on-site accidents and how you can prevent them from happening.
The topics we’ll cover are:
Most Common Types of Construction Site Accident Falls From Height Falling Objects Tripping Hazards Defective Equipment Vehicle Accidents Excessive Noise and Vibrating Tool Hazards How to Prevent Construction Site Accidents Provide Safety Training Hold Frequent Crew Meetings Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Keep the Workplace Clean Prevent Falls Recognise the Hazards and Make a Plan Follow OSHA Guidelines and Report Any Dangerous Working Conditions Most Common Types of Construction Site Accident Falls From Height
The most common type of a fall from height is when workers fall off unsecured ladders or scaffolding. These type of falls can leave your team with broken bones, fractures, back and injuries or even cost them their lives.
Ladders should always be used in the correct way to prevent this from happening. Overleaning or setting them up in an unsafe place is very dangerous. Where scaffolding is erected, all walkways need to be appropriately guarded to ensure that there is a safe route from the site.
Waste items or spare parts are often transferred between tiers of scaffolding and as a result, workers may find themselves being struck by them. If communication is poor, items can be dropped onto you from above without any warning, giving you little time to get out the way.
Injuries can vary from minor cuts and bruises to more serious crush injuries or head and brain injuries.
Slips, trips and falls are the most common accident in any workplace. And the construction site is no different. Workers can easily find themselves tripping over loose cables or even falling into holes in the ground that have been dug and not signed correctly.
The level of injuries sustained with this kind of accident can really be anything - it depends on the person, how they fell and how they landed.
Tools should regularly be tested and maintained. If the tools become defective, it’s the owner’s responsibility to oversee the maintenance and carry out the repairs. Should your staff be injured from faulty equipment, it will be classed as your fault and would leave you liable for the compensation.
Vehicles and pedestrians need to cooperate, allowing them to circulate safely together. But if a collision does occur between pedestrian and vehicle, or even vehicle on vehicle, there will no doubt be injuries to one or both parties. Not to mention the costs of the repairs needed and potential compensation.
Excessive Noise and Vibrating Tool Hazards
Excessive site and tool noise raises a huge cause for long term problems. Tinnitus can develop over time (ringing of the ears) if you’re exposed to deafening noise for too long without the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The employer has a duty to check and monitor noise and where possible, reduce it and the length of time exposed to it. If this is not possible, the correct PPE should be bought for the staff.
Vibration from power tools can also prove to have serious effects on health. It can cause nerve and tendon damage to the hands, arms and wrists which can be extremely uncomfortable. It can sometimes result in total loss of grip too.
How to Prevent Construction Site Accidents Provide Safety Training
All employees, whether old or new, should undergo regular and thorough training regimes. Your team need to be educated on and be aware of all workplace safety standards and hazards. Employees should not operate equipment that they are not qualified to use.
Policies should be drawn up and revised for every job that you carry out. This written safety policy should include the name and location of a first-aider on the site.
Hold Frequent Crew Safety Meetings
These meetings should be held regularly. Dependant upon on the risk level and size of the job you’re tackling, they could even be held daily. They should be short and focused meetings, discussing all the relevant risks and hazards to watch out for on a particular site.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is crucial to keeping construction workers safe and staff should wear the correct protective gear for the job at all times.
Here are some examples of what a construction site worker should be wearing:
Hi Vis clothing will make your workers stand out on-site. Thus, reducing the possibility of an accident and keeping them safe constantly. We recommend the Xamax Hi Vis Vest. Hard hats are a great way to protect against falling debris. On a site where things are being passed from different levels of scaffolding, a hard hat is a must. We recommend the Delta Plus Zircon Hard Hat. Gloves are a necessity if your workers are handling and lifting a lot of items on site. We recommend the Portwest Criss Cross Glove. Safety boots with protective toe caps. We recommend the Portwest Protective Boot. Safety goggles protect you worker from flying debris. We recommend the Portwest Slim Safety Goggles. Ear defenders (ear plugs) should be provided to workers who are exposed to excessive noise. We recommend the Portwest Super Ear Protector. Suncream or sunblock needs to be provided to those working outside in the summer months. Keep the Workplace Clean
By keeping your site clean and free of debris, you will lessen the chances of injury and help prevent site accidents such as slips, trips and falls. Make sure that your tools are stored away after completing a job and clear walkways.
Hiring a labourer just for keeping a tidy site will help foster a “neat and tidy” culture on site and work to reduce the risk of accidents as a result.
Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the industry. The installation of fall protection systems, such as guardrails, toe boards, screens, canopy structures or nets, would reduce the number of fall accidents on-site.
If scaffolding is in place, ensure that it is erected properly. Only staff who are fully qualified to erect scaffolding should be doing so. It must be fully inspected by a professional before work can commence on the structure. Moving forwards, it should be further inspected every 7 days until deconstruction. If the scaffolding is majorly altered, it should be inspected before work can resume. For further detail into making sure your scaffolding is as safe as possible, click here.
Recognise the Hazards and Make a Plan
Before any work is carried out, you should inspect the site and point out the various hazards. This will aid your risk assessment and help you be more accurate. Next, you should list the preventive measures that you’re taking to avoid these hazards. And finally, incorporate your findings into your staff training and crew safety meetings.
Follow OSHA Guidelines and Report Any Dangerous Working Conditions
Quite simply, don’t cut corners. This increases the risk of putting your staff in danger and potentially your business in hot water. Violations of best practice should be reported immediately and rectified as soon as you can.
If you are unaware of the OSHA guidelines, you can read more here.
Protect Your Team This Summer
Many hazards, likes the ones above, you can control to a certain extent. However, during the summer months, there are various hazards that are out of your hands. If you’re not aware of them, don’t worry. Download our free guide for everything you need to know.