Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,102 fatal injuries in the construction industry in 2019. That figure represents 20% of total workplace fatalities in the United States - a highly disproportionate figure given that roughly 6% of the US labor force works in construction.
Below, WCCTV lists the ten significant hazards on construction job sites and ways to mitigate them.
1. Working From Height: Falls from high places such as scaffolding, rooftops, or ladders is the most common accident at US job sites. Almost 35% of all injuries on construction sites result from falls from height.
Unfortunately, the requirement to work from heights is not something companies can prevent, so the best form of mitigation is to make it as safe as possible.
Mitigations can include ensuring all access routes are clear, plenty of room to work and maneuver, and that all staff has had safety training.
2. Falling Debris: Any construction material, tools, scaffolding, or other supplies that fall from height can do severe damage if they land on a worker.
Mitigating this risk relies on all contractors taking care of their working space, ensuring items are not left unattended, and they are fully aware of their surroundings.
3. Electrocution: Electrocution is one of the construction industry's 'fatal four' causes of death on site. Cabling can be left exposed throughout the construction phase, creating a severe hazard.
Mitigating electricity accidents requires site managers to regularly communicate any hazards and provide regular training to their workforce if needed to work near electricity.
4. Slips, Trips, and Falls: The layout of a construction site changes from minute to minute, with materials, tools, and debris left laying around for someone to trip over.
With a combination of holes in the ground, buildings at various stages of completion, scaffolding, stored materials, and equipment: the threat of falls, trips, and slips are a constant danger. It requires construction workers to be continually vigilant.
Empowering your team through regular training and communication to recognize and report hazards is critical to mitigating their threat.
5. Machinery accidents: Construction workers are regularly required to handle and operate machineries such as jackhammers, cranes, bulldozers, or even smaller power tools like nail guns and drills.
In untrained hands, all of these pose a threat to safety and can cause serious injury.
Ensuring that machinery is only operated by well-trained and experienced staff will help limit the number of accidents.
Caught Between Objects: The continually moving world of a construction site can present severe risks of workers becoming trapped between walls and materials, causing significant injury.
Clear communication is one of the key ways to prevent this, but our next highlighted risk can often hamper this.
Noise: Noise on-site presents a dual-threat. Continually loud reverberating sound can have a long-lasting impact on workers' hearing, preventing communication across sites. This can create distractions of miscommunications that result in accidents and injuries.
Mitigating this is a significant challenge as it is part-and-parcel of a construction project, so having daily debriefing and promoting effective communication is vital to ensure workforce safety.
Trench or ground collapses: Trenches and other excavations are often necessary as part of a building project, but they can cause the soil to become unstable and lead to a collapse that traps workers.
Taking the necessary precautions at the outset of your projects and regularly checking the integrity of trenches will help limit the occurrence of collapse.
Moving Objects/Vehicles: Injuries involving vehicles are prevalent on highways projects, where a careless (or reckless) driver trikes a construction worker.
But this type of injury can occur on a typical construction site, too, as vehicles are often maneuvering in areas of limited space, visibility, and uneven terrain.
Exhaustion: Construction crews often work long hours and are exposed to extreme heat and humidity elements. As a result, injuries from dehydration, fainting, or even strokes are not uncommon.
WCCTV is the USA's leading supplier of managed surveillance cameras for construction job site security.
Our health and safety experience comes from managing a team of engineers who service or install equipment on job sites every day. We pride ourselves on our safety record and practices.
Our mobile surveillance cameras enhance construction sites' security and provide site managers with a remote project management tool that can help improve safety in real-time and by retrospective review.
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