Those who work in construction find themselves in one of the most dangerous industries for accidents and injuries.
Due to the nature of work being carried out they are more inclined to encounter injuries than other types of workers. In figures just released this week, the HSE reported that the most fatalities occurred in the Construction industry with 30 deaths in the past year alone. Although these are extreme examples, the sector suffers a higher accident rate than any other. Some accidents are more serious than others however it is important to protect yourself from any form of injury at the workplace.
We have assembled ten key tips on how you can help to avoid accidents as a construction worker.
Although it may seem inevitable that a construction worker must wear the appropriate clothing when performing any form of building work, many incidents do occur due to a lack of protective apparel. Ultimately, what you wear whilst working is going to act as the biggest barrier to an injury due to the nature of the job being very physical. At an absolute minimum hard hats, safety boots and high visibility clothing must be worn at all times to help to protect you from danger. However, there are many other types of safety garments on the market such as respiratory masks, safety goggles, high grip gloves and noise cancellation earmuffs that although less heard of, should be used to limit any chances of injury and/or long term developing conditions.
Back aches and strains are any construction workers worst enemy. Not only it can prevent you from doing your job but can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. It is important to ensure when lifting heavy objects you always bend your knees, avoiding twisting from side to side. When lifting objects, ensure that one leg is positioned in front of the other to give you a more grounded surface area to balance your body.
Industrial and construction work place environments can often be extremely busy. It is important that extra care is taken to ensure that areas where machines are active should be clear of people at all times of operation. The horn of the vehicle should be used to warn people of active machinery. The reverse gear warning sounds should be tested on the machinery regularly so that people on the site can be aware of when a vehicle is reversing.
At different times of the year weather conditions can vary immensely and it is therefore important to be wary of this. When operating machinery on slopes in wet and icy weather conditions take extra care and time to carry out maneuvers as surfaces can be slippery.
As a construction worker you are exposed to machinery with electrical installations. It is important that you fully understand the safety precautions of the electrical equipment before using it. If you are using portable devices such as drills, always check that the power supply is provided with an earth leakage circuit breaker and ensuring that they have no contact with water.
Accidents and injuries can occur at any place and at any time, however they can be prevented if the area you are working in is kept tidy. Ensure all wires, loose tools and equipment are moved from the work area when they are not in use. This not only provides yourself but other workers with a clear working space. This can prevent you from tripping over objects or any other obstacles that may be in your way.
Getting on and off equipment can be a very dangerous task if it is not performed in a safe way. To avoid any injuries in this process it is important to ensure you use high grip gloves which will allow you to grasp the machinery easier when getting on and off. If you have access to hand and foot holds use these when maneuvering yourself up and down the heavy machinery, if you do not have access to these then a stepladder will also do the job.
It is important that all workers are certified as skilled, knowledgeable, experienced and physically able before carrying out work at height. Training should be provided to anyone who is not experienced which can be done onsite.
Although some more serious injuries will need more advanced medical assistance, on most occasions injuries such as minor burns, cuts and grazes can be treated with a first aid box. It is important that both the site supervisor and contractor should ensure that first aid is always accessible to workers. If you are missing a necessary first aid supply on the site, inform your supervisor immediately and contact your branch. Some injuries are immediately treatable which helps limit the damage and prevents the infections from spreading.
Although all of the previously mentioned tips can help to avoid accidents as a construction worker, on some occasions accidents may not have been preventable. In case of any real emergency it is a good idea to carry a personal safety device with you at all times such as Skyguard’s MySOS device. These devices enable you to press an emergency button which will then raise an alarm to our Incident Management Centre where controllers can view your location; listen in, communicate with you and send for the emergency services if they feel urgent assistance is required.
To find out more about our MySOS personal alarms, click here.