Contractor Essentials: Construction Site Safety Guide

Posted on November 5, 2013

Contractor Construction Site Safety

A safe work environment is important no matter what type of field you are employed in, although there are some industries that warrant more effort in this respect. While you can certainly fall victim to carpal tunnel, a stiff neck, and similar conditions at a desk job, the nature of manual labor almost always places employees at higher risk.

Accidents, injuries and fatalities in the construction industry comprise more than any other occupation. The hazards associated with these lines of work range from falls to electrocutions to being hit by dropped equipment. These incidents are directly reflected in the annual statistics that are released by agencies such as the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

Most accidents can be avoided

Approximately 25,000 construction workers are hurt on the job as a result of falls alone, with the average death rate for these accidents coming in around 36. In a field that employs nearly 7 million people, the numbers may seem insignificant, or at the very least, expected. The point is, however, that with proper safety training and effective implementation, a majority of job-site injuries and fatalities can be prevented. Although sometimes there are forces beyond our control, more often than not, accidents can be avoided. This construction site safety guide is a great place to start minimizing your personal risk.

The importance of taking action

Before the creation of regulatory agencies like OSHA, the statistics in question were much worse. Thus, construction companies across the world deserve credit for their efforts to minimize risks. Needless to say, there is still a long way to go. Until it can be said with certainty that no job site accident is the result of irresponsibility and/or carelessness, every employee should take it upon themselves to lead by example. Here are some of the top ways you can make a positive contribution to your place of business and the industry at large.

Safety advice to remember:

  • Be alert and be aware: construction job sites are always teeming with people. There will often be a general contractor and many sub-trades, including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, roofers, HVAC and other general carpentry trades. Successful completion of a project entails keeping what often seems like a chaotic layout in order and on deadline. With hundreds of people scrambling to finish their work, it can be all too easy to misplace a tool or forget about those who are working around you. This is often when accidents happen. Never leave equipment or materials laying around or unaccounted for, and always clean up after yourself.
  • Report unsafe practices: the sooner everyone realizes that they are also responsible for everyone else around them and not just themselves, the safer the job-site will be. If you see someone acting in an unsafe manner, whether that means not wearing proper apparel (hardhat, steel toe boots, safety glasses, etc.), or operating a tool the wrong way, report them to the job-site supervisor or foremen immediately. Many people fail to do this because they don’t want to be perceived as a snitch, but biting your tongue could be at the expense of someone’s life.
  • Have help when loading and unloading heavy equipment: if operating a forklift or similar piece of machinery, make sure to have someone nearby to help you complete the job. Roll-overs can happen even on flat surfaces, which is why using a spotter is a must. In addition, utilizing correct tie-down methods will prevent potential accidents from occurring. Never rush and always double check your work.