Construction is a dangerous industry where minor to fatal accidents are common due to the nature of the work. Using tools, equipment, and working outside in all conditions are risk factors of potentially receiving an injury. According to Osha, the four most common construction fatalities are caused by falls, struck-bys, caught-in/between, and electrocutions.
Along with these are hazardous materials and other harmful environmental elements that can harm construction workers. A lack of training workers and a skilled workforce inflates the risk of an already perilous business.
Falling off a roof or falling to lower levels is the most common cause of death among construction workers. Falls are also the number 1 Osha violation for the past ten years, making it understandable why falls cause many deaths. Equipment like safety nets and harnesses should be used, and all gear should be in excellent condition.
Struck-by injuries are caused by equipment, falling objects, tools, and being hit by a vehicle. Being hit by moving objects not appropriately secured or not paying attention to what is going on leads to a struck-by.
Caught-in/Between happens when trenching and a cave-in occurs or being pressed between two objects like a wall and equipment. Not wearing the required PPE can increase the chances of accidents when something does go wrong, which can occur without knowing how to prevent cave-ins.
Electrocutions can ensue when someone comes into contact with a defective device that uses electricity, power source, or power lines. Failing to de-energize electrical circuits and working with faulty equipment known to have issues can lead to death and injuries.
Encountering chemicals like mercury, lead, zinc, and breathing in substances like silica dust can cause severe health conditions. Demolition and building processes can open people up for a chance at exposure. Silica dust can be inhaled and cause lung cancer or COPD if precautions are not taken seriously. Similarly, asbestos exposure can cause COPD and the cancer mesothelioma. Demolition of older buildings from periods where asbestos was more frequently used poses a high risk.
Did you say something?
Construction sites are obnoxiously loud and being closer to the origins of the noise without protection can be permanently damaging. Hearing loss cannot be reversed but can be prevented by monitoring how close you are near loud equipment. The NIDCD states that repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels will result in hearing loss. Construction workers once again lose with most construction equipment ranging from 80 to 120 decibels!
Training and Safety Is A Must!
Ill-prepared workers may not identify serious risks compared to more experienced counterparts. To avoid all injuries, one needs to be aware of their surroundings to stop oneself and others from being affected. Training should be given to all workers, especially the most inexperienced ones. Training will make it easier for them to identify what should be happening and what may be unsafe.
Several measures can be put in place to reduce the number of workers harmed or killed on construction sites. Using PPE like harnesses to prevent falls, using up-to-date gear that isn’t worn out, clear communication with others on the site, replacing and reporting unsafe equipment, and using a mask when necessary. Safety measures are in place for a reason, but that doesn’t stop corner-cutting. Never permit others or yourself to use equipment known to be faulty, as all it takes is one time for it to be the last time.