Construction site workers and laborers are constantly vulnerable to a range of hazards including but not limited to falls from buildings, scaffolding collapse, ladder slippage, and neglecting to put on or use personal safety equipment. On any working day, an estimated 6.5 million individuals are engaged in about 2, 52, 000 constructions sites throughout the country. Accidents and injuries that turn to be fatalistic leading to the death of workers or their becoming crippled so as to render them indisposed for employment are much higher in construction industry compared to all other industrial segments.
The ‘Occupational Safety and Health Administration’ agency under US Department of Labor has listed the following 10 types of hazards that occur most frequently at construction sites. Additionally, the agency has also listed the solutions or precautionary measures that the workers and their employers can take for personal safety in construction.
The top 10 OSHA standards that are cited on a recurring basis are:-
- Fall protection in construction
- Excavations (general stipulations)
- Head protection
- Excavations (measures to be taken for protective systems)
- Hazard communications
- Fall protection (training prerequisites)
- Construction (health provisos and general safety)
- Electrical (wiring systems, layout, and protection)
Inefficient erection of scaffolds or using the same inappropriately leads to falling incidents. Nearly 2.5 million workers have to work on scaffoldings frequently. Furnishing protection to such workers would check about 50 deaths and 4,500 grave injuries that occur each year.
Fall Protection in Construction
Falling from scaffoldings situated at a great height or slipping from a precarious section of the elevated stories in a building is the number 1 cause of fatalities in this industry. Using safety nets, guardrails, fall prevention systems, and covers could go a long way in preventing injuries and deaths resulting from falls.
Ladders and Stairways
As per OSHA estimates, approximately 36 deaths and 24,882 grave mishaps and injuries occur every year on account of falls from ladders and stairways. Almost 50% of such injuries are severe necessitating the workers to stop working till they recuperate. Using the right ladder for a particular task and having an experienced and skilled person fully check the ladder before the same is used are two practical safety measures.
Trenching and Tunneling work also cause a good number of deaths and innumerable injuries every successive year. The percentage of deaths due to trenching was significantly high in the year 2003. Some solutions include is refraining from entering a trench that is not protected, making use of a safety system when going into a feet-deep trench or higher.
Protection for the head
Injuries to the head can more often than not be serious and fatalistic as a result of the top taking blows. Construction site employers should ensure that workers put on toughened helmets to safeguard their heads from falling or fixed objects or unintended contacts with electrical equipment.
Checklists for personal safety in construction
The ensuing checklists will help workers and employers take measures for preventing risks and hazards that lead to fatalities and injuries:-
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)-eye and face protection, hand protection, head protection
- Secure scaffoldings
- Electrical Safety
- Protected elevated surfaces
- Hazard Communication system
- Crane and Forklift safety
Picture Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969