Construction site safety is one of the most important elements of owning, operating or managing a construction business. Approximately 47% of all work fatalities in 2018 occurred among construction workers, which is why construction site safety is so essential, regardless of the types of jobs you manage or oversee. Implementing a few safety tips and guidelines for employers and employees who are working on a construction site can significantly decrease the chance for serious or fatal injuries while on the job.
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Fall Prevention and Protection
Many construction workers are familiar with working on roofs and from tall buildings and typically do so without batting an eye. However, this does not reduce the risk of falling and causing injury or even falling to their death.
Construction workers should avoid working in any area on-site that does not have tested fall prevention and protection system in place. It is imperative to equip all workers who utilize ladders or work from tall structures with proper lifelines or lanyard solutions.
For those working from great heights, it is also advisable to ensure that there are proper fall arrest systems as well as commercial-grade safety nets in place. Additional protection systems may include guardrails and intentionally blocked-off areas. Testing all protection and prevention systems prior to beginning work is essential.
Ladders and Stairs
Ladders and stairs must always be accessed and used with caution, especially for construction workers who are working on unstable terrain or in less than desirable conditions. For construction workers, it is important to maintain three points of contact (both of your feet as well as one arm and hand) while holding or transporting a ladder, especially when doing so via a stairway.
In the event of a slip or a potential fall, having three points of contact can help you to better regain your balance, thus preventing a fall or a serious injury from occurring.
Ladders should also always be secured and tied into place before they are used, even if you are experienced in construction and working from a short height. Always use professional-grade tool belts to store and carry materials as well as construction tools up ladders to provide yourself with as much control and grip as possible while working your way towards your destination.
PPE – Personal Protective Equipment
OSHA currently requires that all construction workers are properly geared up with eye and face protection whenever they are actively working on a construction site. Without proper face and eye cover protection, you may encounter acids, liquids, chemicals, gasses, and even radiation or vapors which can lead to serious irreversible damage or in some cases, even death.
The use of proper personal protective equipment for your face and eyes can also protect you from the hazards of various jobs such as sanding, drilling, welding, grinding, or even chipping away at rock, stone, concrete, and other hard and heavy material. Wherever there is a possibility for flying hazards in the air, additional eye protection that includes side protection for the face is also required.
Employers are required by law to provide all their workers and construction workers with proper face protection as well as full and complete eye protection at no charge to the workers themselves. Even construction workers who require prescription eyeglasses while on the job are permitted to eye protection that incorporates the use of their current prescription that is to be provided by their employer.
A scaffold is one of the most prevalent tools used by construction workers, especially by those who intend to work from greater heights or require a specific angle to complete a task. Whenever you are using a scaffold as a construction worker, do not do so without wearing a proper professional tool belt as well as a hard hat. Wearing a hard had should always be done whenever you are on a construction site, even if you are simply walking the site as a manager, supervisor, or employer.
Equipping proper gear is also important wherever you are using a scaffold, even if you do not intend to do so at great heights. Equip proper non-skid work boots along with your hard hat as well as a professional tool belt and tool lanyard.
Always check a scaffold’s maximum weight load and never exceed the weight load with workers or even with heavy tools and equipment. It is not permitted to use additional items such as buckets, boxes, or even ladders to increase your height once you are using a scaffold to prevent potential slips and falls.
Learn to inspect fall arrest systems as well as safety nets and ropes used in keeping the system in place prior to entering a scaffold. Ensuring your safety and the safety of all your construction workers is the top priority for any construction site.
General Health and Safety Tips
For those working in construction, it is always important to do so only once you have the proper tools and equipment to handle your designated job or task. Some of the most important PPE, or personal protective equipment to keep on-hand always when on your construction site, even when you are not actively working, include:
- Eye protection with the use of protective eye goggles
- Eye protection even for those with prescription eyeglasses
- Face protection to protect from potential flying hazards, chemicals, vapors, and in some cases, even potentially deadly radiation
- Professional grade toolbelt
- Safety gear such as lanyards and lifelines
- Non-skid work boots or shoes
It is also important to ensure the safety protections and prevention systems in place prior to going to work, even if your construction site seems relatively safe and minimally risky. Never take unnecessary risks.
All construction sites that require the use of ladders, scaffolds, or great heights should always include the use of lanyards, lifelines, and if possible, safety nets.
It is also highly advisable to use proper and professional traffic safety signs to help provide guidance and direction to anyone who is currently working on an outdoor construction site. The use of professional traffic safety signs can help inform drivers and passersby of construction workers who are present to preventing speeding and to encourage slower and more cautious driving.
The use of traffic safety signs can also help construction workers to work more productively and efficiently as drivers and those in the nearby vicinity remain aware and vigilant when driving pass an active site that may involve complete repairs.
Having the proper tools and equipment for each individual construction site you are on helps to significantly decrease the risk of injuries and fatalities, even if you believe your construction site is relatively low risk itself. With the right gear and preparation, gain peace of mind knowing that your construction site is always safe for both construction workers and employers.
If you own or manage a construction business and oversee a construction site, you may be considering traffic safety signs or construction traffic cones to help ensure the safety of both employers and construction workers. When you need traffic safety signs and are searching for a provider that you can trust and rely on, turn to Worksafe TCI. Visit the official website of Worksafe TCI to learn more about or traffic safety sign services and to order the signs you need for your next construction site today.