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Construction Safety Tips  

 

Construction is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. In 2016, 21.1 percent of all job site fatalities were in construction. Additionally, 63.7 percent of construction fatalities fell into four categories: falls, struck by an object, electrocution, and being caught in or between objects. If those fatal four were removed, 631 people would have come home to their families and friends, instead of dying on the job. With statistics like this, construction safety is no laughing matter. Yet in an industry with so much change, how do you keep your crew safe on the job?

 

Here's a quick look at some of the major categories where a few steps can drastically reduce construction accidents.

 

Watching Out for No. 1

You’ve probably heard all kinds of excuses as to why workers don't use personal protective equipment (PPE), but that equipment is there for a reason.

 

Here are a few tips to encourage proper PPE usage:

 

  • Make sure the equipment fits right. Gloves that are too big or bulky, goggles that leave gaps, and safety jackets that are too long in the sleeves can cause accidents. Check that your crew's PPE fits correctly.
  • Make sure the equipment works better. Respirators with a one-way valve and metal strip to fit at the nose reduce condensation on safety glasses. Adding a thin film of Rain-X® to safety glasses prevents fog from forming. Gloves with thinner leather and stretchy material across the back improve dexterity.

 

Keeping the Jobsite Safe

Beyond simple PPE, there are practices you can put in place on the jobsite in general to improve safety. Here are a few to note that you may want to make part of your company's policies to help guarantee compliance:

 

  • Watch that climb! Consider high-grip gloves or grip tape to improve handholds and require mud to be scraped off boots before climbing. There are any number of simple tools, such as a square with angle iron welded onto it to make a simple boot scraper for the jobsite.
  • Don't crowd machinery. Sliding parts and the motion of the equipment can cause a serious injury, especially if the workers on the ground aren't paying attention to what's going on around them and the operator in the cab has poor visibility.
  • Lockout and look up (and down). It's easy to lose sight of utilities above or below ground. Flag any underground obstructions. Use lockouts and insist that anyone doing electrical work inform the foreman so that the information can be passed to everyone else.

 

Be Aware of the Situation

In emergency management and disaster response, the first facet taught in every course is to assess the situation and remain aware of changing conditions. Situational awareness makes a huge difference in worker safety.

 

Here's how to make it happen on the jobsite:

 

  • Look out for rollovers, even on level ground. Working on slopes, loading, unloading and operator inexperience can increase the risk of rollovers. Require crews to stay out of the way of heavy equipment.
  • Add backup alarms. It's very difficult to see around heavy equipment. Thus, if your crew's attention is elsewhere on a noisy jobsite, they may not realize machinery is backing toward them, until it's too late.
  • Monitor the weather. Cold, heat, ice, rain and snow can all create unique safety hazards. Keep a weather radio on site to stay aware of any severe weather alerts. You don't want the first sign of bad weather to be lightning hitting the structural steel you're welding.

 

Take a few minutes with your crew every couple of days for a safety break to give them information on staying safe on the job. Make a game of finding an out-of-place object, such as a toy dump truck, to improve situational awareness. Update your safety orientation, making it clear that failure to follow safety requirements creates serious consequences. Lead by example to improve jobsite safety. By improving construction safety at the jobsite, safety professionals help ensure that hundreds more people across the United States go home at the end of the day.

 

 

Author bio: Eric Block is VP of Sales and Marketing at USA Hoist. Being in the industry for 15 years, Block has a wealth of experience and knowledge to help achieve the most effective hoisting solutions for general contractors. Block assists with everything from value engineering to clients’ logistics plans

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