Construction is a high-risk industry that encompasses a wide range of alteration and repair activities. As a result, construction workers are exposed to various risks, including falling from rooftops, unprotected machinery, being struck by heavy construction equipment, electrocutions, silica dust, and asbestos.
Construction sites are hazardous environments in which to work. Thousands of individuals are harmed on building sites every year. As a result, if you work in construction, it's even more critical that you prioritize health and safety.
During a building project, one of the most neglected aspects is construction site safety. Accidents are a pain for employees and a hassle for HR in most businesses. Accidents on building sites have the potential to be fatal. Construction sites are becoming less enticing with news about environmental disasters, earth-shattering explosions, and stranded employees.
Safety is critical to completing your project on time and within budget. Downtime is costly, and so is replacing workers who can't perform their duties due to an accident. In addition, claims for workers' compensation and lawsuits might raise your insurance premiums. Focusing on safety can save money.
1. Public Safety is Protected on Construction Sites
Safety on construction sites protects your staff and protects the public. Construction sites are typically located in high-traffic regions with a lot of foot traffic. As a result, inadequate safety standards can cause objects to fall on onlookers, putting people who aren't even involved in the project at risk.
2. Workplace Safety Reduces Workplace Accidents
Construction site safety minimizes the risk of public injuries and reduces the risk of work-related injuries and accidents. According to OSHA, the construction industry accounts for a quarter of all workplace deaths, with many more injuries that do not result in death.
The four most common causes of accidental deaths and injuries are falls, being struck by an object, electrocution, and being stuck between equipment. These types of mishaps are less likely when a safety culture is in place.
3. Reduce the amount of time and money lost following an accident.
Work is halted when an accident happens that result in injury or death. This is because the seriousness of these accidents necessitates inquiry, and work cannot proceed while the investigation is underway.
Accidents on the job site could raise the overall cost of your project. For example, damage to equipment or supplies is common, and your overhead will rise. In addition, worker's compensation claims might raise total operational costs for injured personnel.
A lawsuit is likely if the building company does not employ the person hurt. Maintaining a safe construction site reduces this risk, allowing your project to be completed on time and within budget.
Safety Lessons that can be learned for Other Sectors
[A] The Agricultural Sector
1. Appropriate Clothing
In agriculture, loose clothes are a common cause of damage. Gears, pulleys, and sharp edges on most agricultural equipment can easily trap clothing.
Wear close-fitting clothing; button cuffs and tuck shirts in; avoid wearing a tie while working and remove any loose jewelry. To avoid getting caught in equipment, wear long hair under a cap or head covering.
It is required that farmers should also wear a broad-brimmed hat to prevent sun exposure, which is a primary cause of skin cancer.
Likewise, the essential clothing material must be worn to prevent an accident in the Construction Sector. Therefore, loose clothes, jewelry, ties, and cuffs should be avoided when working on a construction site.
2. PTO Safety Recommendations
PTO drives (power take-off) are extremely dangerous. To keep moving parts safe, today's equipment must include adequate guarding.
On the other hand, older machines are rarely guarded, and many of the guards on newer machines are bent, broken, or missing entirely.
While the following suggestions may seem self-evident, they are helpful reminders.
• A PTO shaft should never be stepped on.
• Replace PTO guards if they are not covering the shaft and u-joints properly.
• Before exiting the tractor seat, ALWAYS disengage the PTO, turn the tractor off, and remove the key.
• While the shaft is spinning, NEVER grasp a PTO guard.
In the construction industry, these should be noted. The PTO in any machines used on any construction site should be guarded if not covered.
3. Preparedness for Emergencies
Every member of a farm family, as well as their hired workers (supervisors on farms with a large number of migrant workers), should be trained in life-saving techniques such as first aid and CPR.
In remote places where medical assistance may be several minutes distant, the first responder may need to begin life-saving measures before emergency rescue professionals arrive.
Ensure that everyone knows where to dial 911 and that emergency numbers are written on a laminated sheet near the phone. Provide bilingual resources, as necessary.
Install an emergency notification system.
Maintain a well-supplied first-aid kit.
Employers in a construction site should train their workers in life-saving techniques such as CPR and First aid. First aid boxes should be provided, and emergency numbers written in plain sight.
4. Field Services
An injury that would not be considered life-threatening in the shop can turn lethal in the field. When an operator works alone in a field, injuries can leave them isolated for hours. Always use a two-way radio or a cell phone to warn someone before dismounting a tractor or other piece of equipment.
Someone should call you if you do not call back within 10 minutes. Also, call someone frequently to let them know where you are and that you are fine. Finally, someone should call to check on you if you miss a scheduled call-in.
While the equipment is running, do not attempt to clean the clog. Unfortunately, many injuries and deaths occur when someone becomes trapped in a running machine and cannot escape.
To avoid rollover, keep field rows straight. To maintain a safe and secure roadway that will not collapse, widen roads and bridges.
Maintain enough turning room at the end of the row for safe turns.
Control vegetation that hides risks (such as ditches, holes, and rocks) and removes hazards whenever possible. If this is not practicable, ensure that hazards are marked.
When working on the construction sites, regular checking should be done. A walkie-talkie or a cell phone should be with every worker when working on sites. Also, notes that machines used should not be cleaned while running as this has proven to cause more injuries and deaths.
Workers should be alert whenever they are using a machine.
On the farm, a few efforts toward fire prevention and preparedness can lessen the likelihood of a fire and the level of damage if one does occur. The following suggestions are suggested:
Keep ignition sources away from flammable materials in and around your farm buildings. Keep combustible liquids in safety containers with labels and store them in a flammable-liquid safety cabinet.
• Regularly test your fire and smoke alarm systems (at least once a year).
• Make sure that your electrical power requirements are covered without overloading your system.
• Keep dust and oil off of motors and machine tools.
• Electric motors and appliances should have their wiring inspected.
• Choose a suitable fire extinguisher for the type of fire that could happen. Extinguishers should be inspected and serviced at least once a year. Ensure that everyone has read the instructions and is familiar with how to use an extinguisher.
• Invite your local fire department to check the best access routes to buildings and water sources for pumping at your farm. They can also perform an examination and provide recommendations for lowering fire risks.
As these are important in the agricultural sector, it is in the construction sector. Employers should train and prepare their workers on fire and how to extinguish it. Fire extinguishers should be provided and must be checked regularly.
Fire officers should be invited to inspect the sites at least twice a year.
[B] The Health Sector
1. Limit shift durations
If feasible, keep shift lengths for medical residents and other hospital employees to a minimum. According to research, medical residents who are acutely or chronically tired are more prone to make mistakes. Therefore, ensure that residents receive enough sleep and work no more than 80 hours per week. For example, residents working 30-hour shifts should only treat patients for up to 16 hours and should get a 5-hour nap between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
If workers were required to work 24 hours on the Construction site, shift lengths for the workers should be reduced. Workers that are tired due to lack of rest are more prone to make mistakes. This can cause injuries and accidents. Therefore, workers should take plenty of rest of at least 5 hours.
2. Effective Communication
Train hospital workers to work together efficiently. Evidence-based techniques for promoting effective communication and other teamwork skills among staff in various units or as part of rapid response teams are provided in a free, customizable toolkit called TeamSTEPPSTM, which stands for Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety.
Materials can be customized for any type of health care facility, from emergency rooms to ambulatory clinics. A free two-day train-the-trainer course is now available at five sites around the country.
Employers in the construction sector should ensure that they train the workers to work together. There should be effective teamwork among members. Effective-based techniques should be provided to enhance effective communication and teamwork skills among workers.
Employers should also enroll their workers in courses that would promote this.
3. Wear a comfortable dress that will not restrict your movement.
Comfortable clothing allows medical personnel to move freely, avoiding uncomfortable movements that could result in damage during patient handling. In addition, due to the strong physical demands of their jobs, healthcare personnel are at an increased risk of back pain.
This has been seen in the agricultural sector. Therefore, construction workers must take note of the clothes they should and should not wear on sites.
4. Implement Appropriate Training to Prevent Patient Handling Injuries
According to a study by the University of Maryland School of Nursing, nurses were 9 to 12 times more likely to have a neck or back injury on the job.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, healthcare spending on musculoskeletal injuries and diseases reached $183 billion.
Appropriate training must be given to all workers before being allowed to work on construction sites.
5. Ensure that all employees are trained in fire safety.
Medical workers work in potentially hazardous conditions every day, exposing themselves to combustible gasses and chemicals, necessitating regular fire safety training.
Fire training must be given to any worker working in the construction sector as they are exposed to many combustible materials and chemicals.
Sharps and other hazardous waste should be disposed of properly.
While the use of needles has decreased, best practices such as double gloving can help to protect both staff and patients even more.
Construction workers should make sure that they dispose of sharp and hazardous waste properly. In addition, nails, planks, and other waste products should be disposed of properly after work each day.
6. Get Enough Sleep Between shifts.
Healthcare workers are more likely to be injured due to excessive drowsiness and other sleep disorders due to the high physical and mental demands they confront. Shift workers are particularly at risk.
Workers in the construction sector should take enough rest and sleep. Their energy is needed for the next day's work.
7. Monitor personnel safety procedures regularly.
The presence of senior management on the site can assist prevent further problems with proper safety procedures. It can also promote a positive work attitude, boosting staff morale.
Employers should ensure that procedures on the construction site are monitored and well supervised. The presence of senior colleagues can assist in preventing further accidents and problems.
[C] The Business Sector
TEAMWORK IS KEY TO SAFETY.
Everyone in the workplace should be aware of the safety regulations, and a list of workplace safety advice should be posted. In addition, occupational safety training will assist them in reducing or eliminating workplace injuries and illnesses.
To develop and maintain a safe atmosphere, keep lines of communication open with your coworkers, employers, or employees.
Notify others right away if you notice any dangers.
Always maintain a team mentality and be aware of hazards that could affect anyone, not just yourself.
Notify your boss or supervisor right away if there is a dangerous situation.
Be aware of what others are doing in your immediate vicinity and do your best not to endanger them.
Teamwork is vital in the business world, so it is in the construction sector. Teamwork is the key to safety. Always be alert and be aware of what your Co-workers are also doing. Make sure that as much as you do not want to endanger yourself, put your Co-workers in mind.
If you are an employer, welcome and involve your employees in safety planning; get their feedback, accept, and implement suggestions, and make sure everyone is on the same page.
As a Construction worker, ensure that you take note of these.
• If your load is too large for you to carry alone, do not be afraid to seek assistance.
• Before going abroad, make sure the ladders are solid and stable.
• Never use improvised ladders to ascend. Shelves and storage units are inadequate replacements. Don't be a slacker; find a sturdy ladder.
• Don't be fooled by appearances. Railings may look sturdy and secure, but they may not be at the very least, test them beforehand.
• As your work will require you to work at heights, use safety harnesses.
• Avoid distractions when working on a roof, scaffold, or another elevated platform. Instead, stay focused and vigilant now more than ever!
• Keep an eye on the floor for any potential impediments or spillage. If it is not, tidy it up!
The construction industry's goal is to eliminate all workplace accidents, injuries, and deaths. The building industry will become more popular if there are fewer accidents.
The best method to reduce the number of accidents is to keep workers informed about safety concerns, train them about these worries, communicate and discuss ways to enhance these safety programs and concerns, and document these concerns.
In addition to these procedures, workers must have the correct equipment, be appropriately supervised, be creative in seeking solutions, and be transparent if a problem arises.
Find out how to manage your business' health and safety better
Many employers are concerned about their reporting obligations for COVID-19/Coronavirus/SARS-CoV-2 under RIDDOR in the ongoing pandemic. You may be pleased to know that you do not have to report everything to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We'll provide more info about when, what, and how to report.
The most common concern we've seen recently from employers is whether they need to report all COVID-19 and coronavirus testing results to the HSE. The short answer is no. According to the HSE: “There is no requirement under RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013) to report incidents of disease or deaths of members of the public, patients, care home residents or service users from COVID-19. The reporting requirements relating to cases of, or deaths from, COVID-19 under RIDDOR apply only to occupational exposure, that is, as a result of a person's work.”
Generally speaking, the ordinary RIDDOR rules already cover COVID-19. You should only make a report under RIDDOR when one of the following circumstances applies:
• an accident or incident at work has or could have caused the release of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). (Report as Dangerous occurrence)
• a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19 due to occupational exposure. (Report as Disease)
• a worker dies because of occupational coronavirus exposure. (Report as Work-related death due to exposure to a biological agent)
The bottom line is that existing rules cover most COVID-19 measures, and most of the COVID-19 guidance comes from public health authorities rather than the HSE. The environment remains chaotic, but you can minimize your legal exposure by continuing your existing compliance steps. This will include communicating with your insurer about risks, following public health guidance, and communicating regularly with your workers or unions on any of their concerns.
© Gavin Coyle, 2021
© Gavin Coyle, 2021