World Day for Safety and Health at Work promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases worldwide. Occupational hazards in construction put the sector in a leading position compared to other industries. For that reason, safety and health measures can help reduce the number of work-related deaths and injuries. There are a number of occupational hazards in construction that tend to cause most accidents. We explain what they are so that you can avoid them.
There are certain common causes of injuries in construction work. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration(OSHA), the four most common causes of fatalities related to the construction industry are falls, being struck by heavy objects, electrocutions, and being caught in the middle of machinery.
Studies on the incidents in the sector have shown that 80% of accidents are caused by organizational, planning, and control errors. The remaining 20% are caused by failures in execution. In general, work on construction sites is often associated with numerous risks that can lead to accidents of various kinds, including potentially fatal ones such as falling from a height, cuts, and bruises, being trapped in the ground or under debris, and even coming into contact with hazardous substances. Statistics on these cases confirm how important it is to prioritize measures that eliminate or minimize risk at source by providing protection for all staff. Let’s find out more about this.
Areas of Greatest Risk
Activities and areas at greatest risk during working hours include:
– Normal Falls: can occur in any area of the site due to irregularities in the ground, obstructing materials or untidy or misplaced tools, materials and machinery.
-Falls to different levels: these tend to occur when there are collective and individual protection problems in necessary places, such as those of great height or depth.
– Vehicular accidents: these include run-overs or other incidents involving a construction vehicle. The people most at risk are the operators of such vehicles and workers in related areas.
– Tool cuts: can occur when work tools are not in proper working condition or when safety guards are not used. Again, the greatest risk is to the operators.
– Overexertion: these tend to occur more frequently in workers in load handling areas, especially when manual handling is performed.
– Contact with contaminants or toxic products: the danger of these accidents increases when products are not stored properly and precautionary measures are not followed during handling.
Preventive Measures To Avoid or Reduce Risks
There are a number of actions that can be taken to reduce the risk of accidents related to construction work. This is especially true of falls. To prevent falls, it is essential to maintain the general organization and tidiness of the site. Companies must ensure that workers or operators have safe and unobstructed access from all workplaces, e.g. stairways, pedestrian crossings, walkways, scaffolding, etc. To prevent falls, personal safety equipment including harnesses and safety lines must be provided when working on top of scaffolding or elevated platforms.
It is also essential that materials are properly stored, that there is adequate lighting in the workspace, and that all openings are covered and properly marked. For work at heights, guardrails, toeboards, and safety nets must be installed to prevent people and objects from falling. It is also important to set up fences with red and white stripes at least 1.50 meters away from the edge of the casting. To prevent falls when working on a ladder, the ladder must be in good condition and properly secured to prevent it from moving or slipping.
Those are some of the kinds of construction accidents you can look out for. Most of them can be avoided with the preventive measures discussed here. Try to be as careful as possible, but if you do have a construction site accident, there are legal measures you can take.