10 Construction Safety Facts that May Surprise You
Make Construction Safety a Priority
Everyone knows that construction sites can be very dangerous. The more you know about the types of danger you will face, however, will help you to take steps toward keeping everyone safe. Look over the following 10 safety facts and see what you can learn about how to improve the overall safety of your facility.
In addition to using this information to help you to make safety improvements, you can also show these items to the workers at any site so they can be more aware. Some of these facts may surprise people, and cause them to be more aware of their surroundings.
According to OSHA,
“Nearly 6.5 million people work at approximately 252,000 construction sites across the nation on any given day. The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all industries.”
10 Tips to Improve Construction Safety
Fact #1 – Losing your Load
On construction sites, people use machines to lift and move all sorts of things regularly. Whether it is lifting wood or metal beams, or you are digging out dirt to prepare to lay a foundation, this is an essential part of most jobs. The vast majority of times this type of activity goes very smoothly and the jobs are completed without incident.
The fact is, however, that having loads come loose while in transit is actually a leading cause of injury on construction sites.
You need to keep in mind that even if you don’t lose the entire load, people can be severely injured from even one thing falling out of a crane or backhoe. With this in mind, people working on site need to know to stay well away from this machinery, and the machine operators need to know to avoid moving items when people are nearby.
Fact #2 – Entering and Leaving Heavy Machinery
Another safety issue related to working with heavy machinery is related to operators getting on and off of the rigs that they will be working on. While this is something that they often do several times per day, it can be quite dangerous.
In fact, for machine operators, this is the most hazardous part of their day and the time when most injuries take place.
Many things contribute to these types of injuries. One major thing to keep in mind is that many machines are parked in difficult positions which can make entering and leaving the cab quite hard. In addition, these machines can get dusty or even wet, which can make them very slippery. Taking extra precautions whenever entering or leaving these large machines is very important.
Fact #3 – Slight Heights
Everyone knows that people frequently have to work in very high places when on construction sites. When working hundreds of feet off the ground, people will be wearing safety harnesses and other equipment to help ensure they are kept safe. What people often overlook, however, is that they can get seriously hurt when working even just 5-10 feet up.
The fact of the matter is that if you fall from more than about 3-4 feet (and sometimes even less if you are carrying something) you can get severely injured.
Many people fall from relatively short distances each year, which can cause broken bones and other serious problems. This is why it is so important to think about fall prevention and safety no matter how far off the ground you happen to be working.
Fact #4 – Digging for Trouble
Most construction sites require that the area is dug out properly to provide for a basement or even just a level surface to pour a foundation. In most cases, digging these areas isn’t much of a safety concern, but when there are buried electrical lines or pipes, it can be a major hazard.
In fact, people can get hurt or construction projects delayed when these types of things are accidentally damaged while digging in an area.
All too often everyone assumes that someone else checked with the local buried utility authority in the area. If this wasn’t done properly, or someone forgot to do it at all, it can lead to serious dangers. Make sure you are 100% sure that there is nothing below before you start digging.
Fact #5 – Problems from Above
An equally, yet opposite, hazard is running into electrical lines or other equipment that is located above you. When working with heavy machinery, things are often lifted and moved around throughout the day. Some people make the mistake of only checking for obstructions at the beginning of their shift.
The fact is, however, that new things could be placed above them at any point.
This is why it is so essential to make sure you are checking the area above you before activating a machine every single time. It will only take a quick glance up to confirm that the area is clear, and then you can move the items freely.
Fact #6 – Balancing Machinery
Whether you are driving a large truck full of dirt and debris, or you are digging an area out with a backhoe, you need to make sure the machine is always on firm ground. If you, or another machine, is digging in an area, it can cause the ground beneath to become unstable.
The fact of the matter here is that you need to always watch to make sure you are keeping your machine on solid ground or it can collapse under the heavy weight, causing serious injuries.
Always take the time to survey the area around you to make sure nobody is, for example, digging in a ravine below or doing any other activity that may have destabilized the ground you’re driving on.
Fact #7 – Lock-Out / Tag-Out
People working on construction sites often need to go into areas that could potentially be dangerous if someone activates a machine in the area. For example, they may need to move into a pinch point near a crane or under a heavy load to make sure it will be placed in the proper spots.
These situations are, in fact, the cause of many injuries because someone else activates a machine when they didn’t realize someone was in a dangerous position.
This is why using the lock-out/tag-out system is so important whenever you need to be absolutely sure that nobody will engage a machine that could cause injury.
Fact #8 – Be Careful in Reverse
Moving large machines or vehicles can be difficult enough when going forward. If you have to back up, however, it can be impossible to get good visibility of the area behind you.
This fact is shown when you look at how many accidents and injuries are related to situations where people back up without securing the area where they will be traveling.
Any time someone is going to be backing up a large machinery, they should take the time to make sure the area is clear and then put up safety signs or safety barricade tape to make sure nobody enters an area where they could be potentially hurt.
Fact #9 – Opening the Wrong Pipe
There are often new pipes running to different areas of a construction site to ensure easy access to water, air pressure, or any number of other things. Unfortunately, these pipes are not always properly labeled, which can lead to serious problems.
Many people each year are, in fact, injured because the proper labeling is not in place on these types of pipes and faucets.
The proper construction safety procedures will require that you use pipe labels or other indications to show what is being transported within a pipe. Having an industrial label printer on the job site makes this a fast and easy step to take.
Fact #10 – Overcrowding
Many places in construction sites need a lot of work done. If you don’t have the work planned out properly, this can result in many workers being in the same general location. This can raise the risk of things like overloading electrical lines, bumping into each other, and much more.
In fact, having an overcrowded work area is a major problem for construction safety, and has caused many unnecessary injuries.
Watching out for overcrowding and taking steps to spread the work out is a great way to improve construction safety, while still getting the job done promptly.
Of course, these are just ten safety facts that you need to consider. Whenever attempting to improve construction safety, you need to make sure you are keeping a close eye on the entire worksite and take steps to ensure you do everything you can to minimize risks.
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