A construction project is an amazing thing. You get to see something be made from nothing. But, construction projects come with their own set of risks as well – mainly the injuries that can occur while work’s being done. The first step to working safely on a construction project is learning the safety tips and putting them into practice. Whether you’re a contractor, an architect, or a developer, there are things that you can do to increase your productivity and reduce the number of injuries and accidents on the job.
1. Fire Safety
There are a lot of different materials and tools used on a construction site. From wood beams, paint, and concrete to cement mixers, welding equipment, and circular saws, there are many things that can cause injuries if they aren’t used safely. Because of this, it’s important that you have all the necessary safety equipment on hand. That said, fire hazards are among the most serious issues on construction projects. Whether you’re dealing with electricity, or are simply around a lot of flammable objects, securing a fire extinguisher for construction site work is one of the most important things you can do. The last thing you want is for a smoke break to turn into a disaster. It’s also a good idea to make sure all of your workers know how to use all of the safety equipment properly.
2. Heavy Machinery
Whether you’re operating heavy machinery or simply working in the vicinity of it, learning how to operate machinery properly and knowing what safety precautions need to be taken is critical. You should always provide adequate training for forklift drivers and any other personnel that will be using heavy machinery. If you’re working with construction equipment like cranes or trucks, make sure that your workers are well versed in the proper safety protocol for operating them. If you’re hiring a crane operator, make sure they have all of their certifications and qualifications readily available for inspection, as this is an absolute requirement. As a general rule, keeping any loose garments out of harm’s way and making sure that anything close by – such as items on a shelf, personal effects on your person, etc. – are secure is a good first step to using heavy machinery in a safe way. This will help to prevent the machine from making contact with anything that could cause injuries or accidents.
3. Personal Protective Equipment
Another important step to safety is wearing the proper protective equipment. Whether you’re dealing with dangerous substances, chemicals, or airborne particles that could prove harmful to your lungs, it’s important to always err on the side of caution. Personal protective equipment includes things like gloves, face shields, hard hats, and earplugs. For best results, encourage your workers to wear the appropriate protective gear at all times for their tasks. Sometimes it’s okay to remove PPE if you’re working on a task that doesn’t pose as much of a hazard, but it’s best to keep it on for the duration of the project.
4. First-Aid Kits
Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime – but especially on a construction site. If any of your workers get injured, it’s important to have a well-stocked first-aid kit nearby. It should contain adhesive bandages and gauze pads for minor scrapes and cuts, alcohol prep wipes to clean wounds before covering them with bandages or tape, disposable gloves, and triangular bandages for immobilizing limbs that might be in need of a cast or sling. You should also stock it with antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, scissors, tweezers, anti-itch cream, sunscreen, bug spray – the list goes on. Keeping your first-aid kit fully stocked will help to ensure that your employees have everything they need in the event of an emergency.
5. Good Work Environment
The human body simply wasn’t built to operate under intense physical exertion for long periods of time. If you’re working on a construction site, it’s important that your employees take regular breaks so they can restore their energy and focus. It’s also necessary to ensure they drink enough fluids throughout the day, as this will help to avoid heat-related injury. On any construction site, you should always encourage your workers to abide by the “safety first” mentality, no matter how insignificant it might seem to them at the time. This is because even seemingly innocuous tasks like sweeping up sawdust or stacking wood can suddenly become very dangerous if your employees aren’t aware of the hazards they’re facing.
6. Avoid Crowding The Work Area
When there are too many people in one area, there’s a greater risk of an accident occurring. This is especially true if the area in question is extremely crowded and lacks space to move around freely. If you’re using ladders on your site, make sure they’re properly placed and securely fastened in place so they don’t end up tipping or falling when someone climbs them. Besides the safety hazards of overcrowded spaces, they also pose a productivity risk. If you have too many people crowded into one area, it’ll take them longer to complete the task at hand. This will ultimately lead to more time being spent on the project overall, which may not sit well with supervisors or other stakeholders if they feel unnecessary delays are being introduced.
7. Weather Conditions
The weather can also pose a significant safety risk on construction sites. Make sure that all of your workers are using the right type of equipment for the season so they don’t overheat or get cold. If you’re working on a site where there’s snow, encourage employees to use proper footwear with treads so they don’t slip and injure themselves. Strong winds can also pose a danger during the construction process, so make sure that all your equipment is secured accordingly. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that construction sites are inherently dangerous places. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to safety because you don’t want any serious injuries or accidents to happen before the project is completed.
Construction projects carry a wide range of risks and hazards that can cause injuries and even fatalities if they’re not properly dealt with. That being said, good worksite management practices and safety awareness on behalf of the employees can greatly reduce these risks and encourage productivity at the same time. Take some time to familiarize yourself with your state’s construction regulations and safety codes, and make sure you’re fully compliant with these laws.