It’s no secret that construction sites can be dangerous places. From heavy machinery to heights to live electricity to hazardous chemicals, any number of parts of a construction site can pose a risk at any time.
More than 150,000 construction accidents happen every year, resulting in thousands of deaths and injuries. Some of these accidents are largely unavoidable, but many can be eliminated or minimized.
Here are some precautionary measures that can cut down on the likelihood of experiencing a construction accident.
Make Sure Everyone is Wearing Proper Clothing and Gear
Before even getting onto the job site, it’s important that everyone is dressed and outfitted properly for the task at hand.
It starts with clothing – Make sure that your clothes fit snugly, as loose ends can get snagged in machinery or on protruding objects. Tough, durable materials like heavy denim are ideal, as they provide some protection from collisions and punctures.
Beyond that, there is a wide array of safety gear that may or may not be appropriate for your given job.
It begins with hard hats, work gloves, goggles, and/or rubber-soled shoes or steel-toed boots, as needed. Possibly hearing protection in high noise environments. High visibility or reflective clothing may be necessary. All these items can be the difference between an injury and safety.
Establish Safety Protocols Ahead of Time
Before breaking ground on any construction project, management should create a series of safety protocols, and those protocols should be communicated to the entire team at the beginning of the project.
The individual protocols will vary by job and environment, but they typically include instructions on how to handle hazardous materials and dangerous equipment. They should also have procedures for what to do in the event of an accident. It’s important to note that even following all safety protocols, accidents may still happen. And in that event, injured parties may consider hiring construction injury lawyers.
Construction teams should review their safety protocols periodically as the job goes on, as it’s easy to forget, cut corners, or get lax with enforcement as time goes on.
Maintain Equipment and the Environment
Two of the biggest drivers of unnecessary construction accidents are old or poorly maintained equipment and improper working environments.
It’s common to work with heavy machinery and power tools, and these devices become increasingly dangerous as maintenance is neglected. Keeping all equipment in good working order is critical to cutting down the risk of accidents.
Similarly, a poorly-maintained working environment is an increasing hazard to anyone on the site. Some amount of clutter or debris is inevitable on most construction sites. But everyone should try to keep that loose material to a minimum. Even small trips or stumbles can escalate into a serious injury. Encourage workers to take the time to clean up after completing a task before moving on to the next one.
Another environmental danger is a lack of proper lighting. All work areas should be properly lit. And night work should be avoided, if at all possible, both because lighting becomes more difficult and because fatigue can start to become a factor.
Following these tips can’t prevent every construction accident from happening. But if all construction sites took these to heart, we’d see a significant reduction in serious issues on site.