Reducing Risks in the Construction Industry

Reducing Risks in the Construction Industry

29th October 2014

If you work in the construction industry, you’re sure to be aware that it has the highest number of work related deaths and injuries.  The death and injury statistics have fallen impressively in recent years, but the risks still remain and it’s up to all of us to be vigilant and sensible at all times.  We’ve put together a handy guide for reducing risks – you probably know most of this, but we’ve put them all together in one handy place that you can bookmark as a future resource.

Here are some of the most common hazards on a construction site:

  1. FALLS FROM SCAFFOLDING OR FIXED LADDERS - This is the top construction site hazard, accounting for more than 50% of accidents.  While many general falls are as a result of slips and trips, unstable scaffolding is the cause of some of the most dangerous accidents, one in five of which are fatal.  There are many reasons for unstable scaffolding – improper erection, loss of a load, damaged components or being struck by suspended materials.  To reduce risk, a daily inspection of the scaffolding to make sure the tubes, boards, guard rails, fittings, braces, joints, etc. are free from damage or wear and tear is necessary.
  2. LADDER INJURIES – Although they account for fewer accidents, ladders and stairways are responsible for many incidents which lead to lost man hours in the construction industry.  To reduce risks a pre-inspection of the ladders is necessary to ensure that rungs, stiles, the platform, handrail, feet and fittings are all free from damage or general wear and tear.  You can get detailed information on how to do a pre-use ladder inspection in one of our previous blog posts.
  3. HEAVY CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT - Many of the accidents that occur in the construction industry involve heavy construction equipment.  Ground workers are at the greatest risk – they could be struck or crushed by vehicles changing direction or reversing or they may be struck by equipment falling from buckets.  Brakes that are not set properly may lead to mechanics getting injured or vehicle operators can be seriously hurt in a rollover.  A pre-use inspection of hazardous equipment will enable you to set your own safety inspection questions and ensure that everything is in safe working order which will reduce the risk of injuries.

 

One of the most powerful weapons we have in the fight to reduce deaths and injuries in the workplace is education and training.  Ensuring that construction industry workers are adequately trained is essential and ongoing health and safety training sessions for everybody is a must if we are hoping to lower the figures even more.  Everybody needs an update or a reminder every now and again.  After all, as new technology and equipment becomes available, there are more factors to consider when it comes to ensuring health and safety at work.