A construction site can seem like a scary place for those without much experience. There’s all kind of sharp, blunt and heavy metal objects constantly in motion, sometimes dangling over people’s heads.
It’s no wonder why there are so many safety precautions and procedures observed every day on a worksite. Whether it is workers using heavy equipment and vehicles or just ascending scaffolding, there’s an inherent danger involved in nearly everything that goes on.
No matter how much construction experience someone might have, there’s always a risk of serious injury or even death if care is not taken. That’s why workers are always supervised closely to make sure they don’t pose a risk to themselves or others because of negligence.
The following details some of the biggest safety hazards that exist on the modern construction site.
Heavy Collisions with Moving Objects
A construction site is a high intensity area with a lot going on at the same time. Due to the nature of the work, many tools and materials will collide at a high velocity. The power and speed of these heavy objects presents a serious danger to anyone who is not careful or wearing protective gear.
As a worksite progresses it expands upwards and outwards. This creates more risks from different angles and heights that workers need to keep aware of. Vehicles are often moving over uneven terrain with heavy loads that requires a skilled driver to navigate safely.
Workers will also often need to lift and carry heavy objects which can itself present its own health risks. All workers should be properly trained in the correct lifting techniques so as to minimise risk of strain and injury.
It may not be a danger that springs to mind but it is definitely real. The repetitive, high volume noise that is constantly occurring on a construction site can cause serious hearing damage if not properly prepared for.
Workers are usually required to use hearing protection such as earplugs or earmuffs when working with and around loud machinery.
Electrocution and Electrical Fires
Many workers will have to deal with an electrical hazard at some point on a construction job. This can be because of working near exposed wiring or too close to overhead power lines. There is also a risk of electrical fires when installing outlets or fixtures.
All electrical work should only ever be carried out by a qualified electrician and workers need to be educated on the electrical risks of their worksite. Electrical tools that are used should be grounded and double insulated to prevent electrocution.
Falling From Heights
Falling while working in a high up area is one of the biggest killers of construction workers. The risk of injury or death increases dramatically as work moves upwards.
When mobility or access is restricted on platforms such as scaffolding then the risk of an accident becomes ever greater. This is why it’s important that all workers are familiar with the correct procedure for using platforms and harnesses.
Any openings in the floor or gaps in a protective permitter should be clearly identified and labelled so as to prevent anyone from accidentally falling through them.
There is also a great risk of tools or materials falling from heights and injuring workers or pedestrians below. It should always be a priority to keep tools tidy and accounted for so that there is no risk of them being knocked off high surfaces.
During any construction project a large amount of dust and chemicals can end up in the air. This is a constant risk to workers as they can breathe in this toxic mix of particles and develop respiratory issues.
Equipment such as masks, respirators and even SCBA equipment should always be used in areas or confined spaces where a large amount of dust or chemicals is present.
Collapsing Excavations, Materials and Partial Constructions
Many times temporary excavations and trenches become unstable and can collapse on top of workers. It is even more common that a platform or partially constructed wall can fall and kill workers before they have a chance to react.
Extra care needs to be taken at all times to ensure any elements that could potentially collapse are closely inspected and prepared for.
There is a wide range of dangers associated with construction work, some well-known and others more obscure. Regardless, tackling them requires care and due diligence from every worker involved in order to prevent anyone from suffering serious injury or death.
The proper use of scaffolding, machinery, vehicles and other construction tools are all necessary in ensuring a safe work environment.