Common Safety Mistakes Made on Construction Sites

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Construction industry professionals are well aware of the occupational hazards involved with their line of work; they are hard to ignore when nearly 1,000 workers died on the job in 2017. Despite the inherent risks, construction pros can avoid almost all injuries and fatalities by staying current with safety standards, procedures and practices on site. Being aware of the most common mistakes made on construction sites is another way mistakes can be avoided. In this article we are going to touch on these mistakes to help make you better aware of the potential risks around you.

Scaffolding Mistakes

There are plenty of ways scaffolding can be erected and maintained improperly. Everything from constructing a scaffold on an unstable surface to failing to repair damaged scaffolding accessories immediately can contribute to a system’s failure. Without these common mistakes in play, around 4,500 injuries plus 50 deaths could be avoided in the construction industry each year. Having a qualified point person on site can help ensure that the proper system and accessories are used on an appropriate surface in the first place, and that no safety hazards arise before or during dismantling.

Fall Protection

It’s no secret that falls are the most pervasive threat to construction industry workers. Failure to use guardrails, restraint systems and other precautionary measures greatly increase the likelihood of injury or death from a fall. These protection systems may feel cumbersome to workers who are confident on sites, but the alternative is much worse. A proper education on which fall protection system is appropriate for a given site is critical.

Head Protection

Construction sites pose multiple threats to the head of a worker: falling items, collisions with stationary objects and even contact with electrical components are all major common hazards. These hazards are the easiest to avoid: workers must simply wear a hard hat in any areas of the site posing a risk.

Trench Collapses

Especially for those who have had a long career in the industry, it’s easy to get complacent about following safety specifications to the letter, but it can save dozens of lives each year to prevent trench collapses. Workers should always be aware of the appropriate slope for the depth of a trench and also use shoring and shielding to protect against collapses. A safe point of entry and exit is also an important consideration.

Hazard Communication

It is absolutely vital to communicate any potential hazards on site – recognizing these hazards sets a motion of practices in place. Chemicals is one of the leading hazards in construction- they have the potential to cause burns, fires and even explosions. And what is more important than recognizing these hazards on site, is communicating that they are present. It is crucial to keep a Material Safety Data Sheet on each chemical in a work site and also to ensure all workers have received proper training in handling them.