Construction site safety isn’t a secondary issue when you consider industry statistics. Every year, about 150,000 injuries occur at construction sites. That’s approximately one out of every 10 workers. In a typical year, over 1,000 construction injuries result in fatalities. While some are simple accidents, many result from causes that aren’t random and could have been prevented if safety regulations were observed and employees were properly trained.
Everyone in the construction industry—from company officers to site supervisors and workers themselves—must take responsibility for construction site safety. Here are specific areas that shouldn’t be neglected:
- Personal protective equipment – Technology that enhances personal protection against many common injuries is now widespread and should be available to all workers. Available PPE options include hearing protectors to guard against loud equipment like pneumatic tools, advanced safety glasses and helmets of high-tech materials that offer superior impact protection while permitting full mobility and comfort.
- Vibration – Frequent use of vibrating tools is linked to specific injuries like hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS) and the more familiar carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS.) The hazards of vibration can be mitigated by limiting the sustained use of vibrating tools and taking other steps to support blood circulation. Warm clothes should be worn to ensure normal blood flow. Be aware of tingling sensations or numbness in hands and arms that are early warnings of vibration injury.
- Training – Employees should be trained in both general safety measures as well as specific techniques that apply to their individual duties. Risks must be clearly identified and preventive measures to minimize injuries detailed. Training should be structured to comply with the 1999 Health and Safety at Work requirements.
- Equipment maintenance – Safety checks should be performed regularly and maintenance procedures carried out according to a schedule. Clearly identify individuals responsible and require and retain written confirmation of inspections and maintenance. Make reporting and replacing defective equipment, or ordering needed parts, a standardized process that all affected employees understand and have access to.
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