Last year, we were told by OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) that each day, 13 people never come home from work. This, by any standard, is unacceptable. The only acceptable number is zero. Many injuries, incidents, and fatalities occur within the construction industry. This isn’t a mark against the industry (famous for their adherence to high visibility clothing, hard hats, and safety inspections), but against the work itself. Still, every person on a construction site has a responsibility for their safety and the safety of those around them. This list is available as a guide to staying healthy and alive.
About the Fatal Four
In 2011, 17.5% of all deaths were in construction, and three out of five deaths were caused by this fatal four. Helping to eliminate the four leading causes of construction fatalities could save hundreds of lives each year. Read about the Fatal Four.
– Falls â€“ 35% of all deaths in construction in 2011.
– Electrocutions â€“ 9% of all deaths.
– Struck by Object â€“ 10% of all deaths.
– Caught-in/Caught-between â€“ 3% of all deaths.
How To Stay Safe On Site
Machine operation is responsible for a large number of injuries. Often, the operator is the culprit, but many accidents also involve coworkers, spotters, ground crew, and passersby. The nature of construction means that any accident could be a fatal accident, and ambulances are more common than first aid kits after such a mishap.
1) Ensure that all workers have verifiable training on any machine or equipment they may use. It isn’t enough for a foreman to say, He’s my guy. He can run this thing, has done for years. They need to have training that can satisfy OSHA.
2) Always maintain proper attire and safety gear. There is absolutely no excuse for allowing yourself, your employees, your co-workers, or even your superiors on-site otherwise. Safety regulations and guidelines allow employees on a job site to insist that foremen, managers, visitors, and executives wear hardhats and visibility gear at all times.
3) When getting on and off machines and equipment the leading cause of injury to operators and drivers make sure you triple check safety. Get mud off your gloves and boots, use a proper stance and avoid climbing into equipment while carrying things.
4) When loading and unloading equipment or trucks, watch out for roll-over. Center the vehicle on ramps, check maneuverability, and always use a spotter. Make sure all machines are shut down, tied down, and locked in. When unloading, be careful with ratchet belts, as they can sometimes spring. Use caution and proper protective eyewear, just in case.
5) Keep people away from the machines. It isn’t uncommon at all for people to crowd around and stare during big construction jobs. Ask anyone who has operated a backhoe.
6) Be careful on slopes, and always watch for swing radius.
7) Always follow lock-and-tag (or Lock Out, Tag Out, or LOTO) procedures. In any piece of equipment where unexpected startup could be a serious hazard, it is required to lock (turn off and physically disable any possibility of accidental start) and tag (put a physical tag in a prominent and visible location) before any repairs or resumption of operation can occur.