Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the U.S. Employers follow strict rules and guidelines to keep workers protected, but accidents nevertheless occur. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there’s been a 16 percent increase in fatalities for construction workers over the last half decade.
Nearing the end of summer, you might be finishing up projects and shooting for deadlines. As a construction worker, the stakes can be high. You want to do everything in your power to end the season on a good note, which means avoiding accidents is ideal. There are some construction safety tips that can help reduce risk, such as:
- Wear head protection. You should always wear a hard hat when there’s potential for falling objects, bumps or electrical hazards. Additionally, your eyes and face should be protected. Be sure to wear safety glasses and high-quality ear plugs, especially in loud environments.
- Always inspect the ladder. Stepping up on a weak, defected or damaged ladder is a recipe for disaster. When using a ladder, choose one that’s taller than what you need to reach, by at least a few feet. Also, avoid using metal ladders during questionable weather days.
- Avoid unprotected trenches. You should never enter an unsupported or unprotected trench. Safe exits, like ladders or ramps, are beneficial to place throughout the trench. Check for debris that might block the exits, as well. Make sure another person is standing by if you enter a trench, in case of an emergency.
- Be cautious using heavy equipment. Always be aware of the placement of your hands and feet when operating heavy equipment. Use proper gloves and footwear for adequate traction. Avoid leaving a machine unattended when running. It’s also beneficial to have a spotter around when maneuvering.
- Reduce slip and falls. Only work on surfaces that are sturdy and dry. Surfaces that are slippery or dirty should be cleaned immediately. If that’s not possible, use small steps when crossing. Floor holes should be covered, with warning signs.
- Never step on damaged scaffolding. Avoid standing on weakened scaffolding at all costs. A safe scaffold should feature protective guardrails, a tightly-planked platform and tight rigging. If you are unsure about stability, find a qualified supervisor for inspection.
- Be aware of your surroundings. In general,you want to be aware of your surroundings. It’s good to have a sense of what’s happening, in case of any present or future dangers. Be on the lookout for potential hazards such as overhead lines, low clearances and spills.