When it comes to managing construction, keeping your construction crew’s health and safety throughout the project’s duration. The construction industry is very prone to delays, risks, and accidents. Keeping clear visibility of every intricate detail of the project is a tedious task. There are additional concerns to consider for construction employees working in high-risk locations.
As a construction project manager or site manager, it is your responsibility to take the appropriate safeguards and protect your workplace from unnecessary dangers. This post lists the top ten strategies to keep your construction site safe so that you and your staff may avoid unneeded stress. But first, let us look at the common causes of risks and accidents in the construction industry.
10 Causes of Risks and Accidents in the Construction Industry
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous workplaces in the world. Those who work on construction sites are frequently required to use extensive tools and machinery, work at height, and work in environments where hazardous materials are present. As a result, these crews are prone to many hazards resulting in accidents or even death. So, when it comes to project management for construction, your priorities should also include your construction crew’s safety. Aside from keeping your project on schedule and within budget, creating a safe, healthy, and excellent workplace for your employees can significantly boost productivity and profitability.
This section will list some most prevalent building dangers. Let us look into this list of common construction risks and accidents in the construction industry.
Construction Crews Working at Height
Construction crews must work at height, whether a two-level custom home or a thirty-story high-rise building. However, working at a height is one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. Even though federal and state laws govern safety measures and training guidelines to ensure that personnel are well prepared and protected while working, accidents are still bound to happen. Individuals must have acquired the necessary training and use the appropriate safety equipment and regulations to operate.
Your employees should be taught to work safely on equipment and surfaces, such as scaffolding, ladders, and roofs. Working at a height requires careful planning, supervision, and unique procedures and precautions. Luckily, various equipment can help add an extra level of safety, such as safety nets, harnesses, or scaffolds with double guard rails.
Millions of Moving Parts
A construction site is complicated and ever-changing, making it even more dangerous. There is always something fresh and different regarding where things are located and what environmental hazards may exist. This is why safety training is so essential in the presence of moving items and machinery. Risk reduction should always be a top focus. You can evade accidents by reminding your crew to avoid working near moving objects and be more aware of their surroundings.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
Slips and trips are the most prevalent non-fatal workplace accidents and having injured crew members can lead to low productivity or even work stoppage. In practically any environment, slips, trips, and falls can occur. Slips, trips, and falls are common hazards on construction sites, which often feature uneven terrain, buildings in various stages of completion, and underused goods on-site. However, slips and trips can be avoided with adequate work area management.
Loud Noises Resulting in Hearing Damage
A noisy environment is a typical construction danger, and it can have a substantial influence on the worker who is exposed to it day in and day out. Long-term hearing impairments, such as deafness, are caused by loud, repeated, and excessive noise. It can also be a significant distraction, impairing one’s ability to concentrate, think effectively, and work safely.
Noise is a dangerous distraction, as it can take the worker’s attention away from the activity at hand and possibly result in an accident. As a project manager, you are responsible for inspecting and conducting a thorough noise risk assessment and providing suitable PPE to your crew.
Hand-and-Arm Vibration Syndrome
HAVS is a painful and debilitating condition affecting the blood vessels, nerves, and joints. It can affect workers for the rest of their lives, and in difficult situations, the damage and harmful effects might be permanent. Long-term use of hand-held power tools, such as vibratory and ground-work equipment, is the most common cause.
HAVS is avoidable, but it is irreversible once the harm is done. Construction workers should be given sufficient protection when employing vibrating tools, and equipment should be well maintained.
Material, Equipment, and Inventory Handling
Materials and equipment are continually moving throughout the building site, whether manually or by equipment, lifted, pushed, dragged, and transferred. In any case, handling these huge loads and varied materials entails some risk. When manual handling is required, employees must receive enough training to ensure they do not injure themselves by lifting too much incorrectly. If an individual is required to utilize lifting equipment, they must have sufficient training to operate it safely.
Construction Debris and Collapsing Trenches
Collapsing trenches with personnel inside are a typical occurrence on construction sites. Furthermore, a structure that is being demolished or constructed can collapse abruptly, badly injuring or even killing everyone inside. Before any work begins, safety precautions must be taken to prevent the building from collapsing or any construction debris falling and hitting a crew member. Examine the area before, throughout, and after the work shift, and keep an eye out for anything that looks suspicious.
Asbestos is defined as a group of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals, many of which are utilized in insulation and other building products. Unfortunately, while it is widespread in construction, it can pose a substantial health danger to people. Asbestos is also thought to be the primary cause of mesothelioma, a kind of lung cancer. It kills over 5,000 workers each year, posing a threat to construction works. As a result, workers must be well-informed about asbestos on the building site. They must be familiar with how they should act if they encounter asbestos-containing products.
When utilized improperly, electricity can be a powerful force that causes construction tools to run quicker, but it can also be deadly. Contact with overhead or subsurface power wires and electrical equipment/machinery causes most electrical job site accidents. Electric shocks frequently cause falls from ladders, scaffolds, and other work platforms. Trained electricians must only handle wires and cables, and all workers must know where these lines are buried.
Airborne fibers, such as construction dust, are often an invisible, refined, and toxic mixture of hazardous materials and fibers, damaging the lungs and leading to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, and silicosis. All employers must ensure that protective equipment is used. Masks and respirators are routinely utilized on large-scale building projects because of this.
10 Strategies to Keep Your Construction Site Safe
Part of an efficient construction crew management system is to promote a healthy work environment that can make your employees feel safe and well-protected. However, the construction industry is known for being one of the hazardous environments in which to work. Luckily, there are several strategies you can follow to keep your construction site safe. With these safety measures, you can ensure that your site is a safer place to work and prevent accidents by wearing PPE and following procedures.
Start with Safety Training Seminars for Every Crew Member
Before starting work on-site, all personnel must have a current white card. Each employee should also receive site-specific training to identify high-risk areas and provide emergency management instructions. Construction personnel who work in high- and medium-risk areas need to be well-trained in construction health and safety. They should be wholly competent and aware of the hazards involved in their actions, mainly while working at heights, with machinery, or in restricted areas. Your team should have a fundamental understanding of first aid and can perform basic life-saving measures.
Minimize and Manage risk
No doubt that it can be hard to eliminate all safety dangers due to the nature of our industry. However, as the saying goes, “prevention is still better than cure. Many common safety hazards may be prevented by conducting frequent safety audits and having procedures to report, assess, and mitigate risks. Each site has its own set of dangers and work procedures, so you have to make sure that you and your crew understand what is going on to work safely.
Site Access and Security
Site access restrictions should be implemented for various reasons, not just to protect equipment from damage or theft. Security is critical in safeguarding people from potential construction dangers outside working hours. If they follow strict security and safety measures, contractors will also be protected from accountability and negligence in a safety incident or security breach.
Ensure That Safe Work Method Statement Standards Are Reached
Before beginning work on any high-risk construction project, a safe work method statement (SWMS) must be prepared. The SWMS should include information about the scope of work, any potential safety concerns, and how risks will be avoided and managed. According to the legislation, construction work cannot begin unless the SWMS standards are reached.
Clear Signages and Site Entry/Exit Points
At the construction site, the site SWMS should be presented. All safety protocols, including a 24-hour emergency contact number and a map or directions to the site office, are readily available. Site utilities, entry and exit points, and first aid or emergency fire equipment should be marked.
Separate entry and departure points for heavy machinery/vehicle access should be established at high traffic points to improve pedestrian safety.
Compliant Warehouse Storages
To avoid fires, explosions, asphyxiation, chemical damage, and pollution, chemicals must be kept extreme caution. To segregate chemicals and prevent spillage, use high-quality, compliant outdoor storage options like explosive storage cabinets.
Extreme weather conditions can put people’s lives in jeopardy. In a natural disaster, harsh environmental conditions, or another emergency, your worksite emergency plan should provide clear directions for staff who need to halt working. During the preconstruction phase, you must incorporate possible delays due to weather conditions in your schedule. You will not have to rush and risk your crew’s lives during inclement weather to finish the project on time.
Prepare First Aid and Personal Protective Equipment
It is excellent practice to have one first aid officer for every 25 workers in the construction business. First-aid supplies and equipment must be kept in a visible location. Depending on their tasks, you should also provide PPE to construction site workers – from high visibility vests to safety goggles and harnesses. Once you arrive on-site, double-check that you have all the necessary PPE before starting any activity.
Utilize a Construction Scheduling Software
In today’s technology environment, nearly every adult owns a mobile phone. In an emergency, a lone worker safety device is a discreet technology that allows companies to find employees and dispatch relief swiftly and efficiently. Construction scheduling software allows everyone to have clear visibility of what each team is working on and will enable them to check in once they have safely completed this session. In an emergency, every stakeholder can be alerted and make necessary plans to solve the problem.
Prioritize Constant Communication
When it comes to keeping employees safe, communication is crucial. If possible, dangers are identified, and employees should communicate with one another and any other parties involved. Those working on-site should be aware of possible current hazards and other potential threats. Ensure that all of your employees, including subcontractors or other trade partners, are aware of the processes and procedures. You can also utilize subcontractor scheduling software to fast-track all the communication and collaboration between you and your subcontractors.