Safety Tips For Workers At Construction Sites
Working on a construction site can be considered one of the most challenging jobs to do. Even with technological advancements, this job has high occupational hazards, and safety at a construction sites can be a challenge. In fact, in the Fiscal Year 2018, there have been 121 industrial deaths according to an annual report from the 13 most prominent companies in India. Some of the common workplace hazards were fire-related accidents, fall from a height, road accidents, and truck handling. This is a sad statistic given that most of the deaths could have been prevented if proper safety procedures had been followed. We have compiled a list of tips to follow for safety at a construction sites.
1. Create An Action Plan:
Wars are not won on the battlefield but in the general’s tent. In the war against construction deaths, planning is everything. Before starting any road construction project, an action plan should be in place. This plan should be conveyed to all the workers and made sure that they understand it. The plan should contain but not be limited to a temporary traffic control plan to make sure traffic is safely conducted around and through the work zone, a traffic control plan for inside the work zone for management of equipment and machinery, a plan for emergencies and evacuations. Action plans not only save precious lives and time, but they are also crucial in avoiding chaos.
2. Separate Work Areas:
Creating separate work areas is vital to a properly managed construction site. Since there is a lot of different work going on at the same time, not having separate work areas can lead to chaos, which can lead to fatal accidents. This is why it is essential to use cones, barrels, and barriers to specify different work stations. This might seem like a small and obvious step, but it goes a long way in maintaining safety at construction sites.
3. Traffic Control
Properly controlling traffic is another critical step in maintaining safety at construction sites. The site should have an advanced warning area with warning signs that are visible to motorists alerting them about the change in driving conditions. Transitions areas, a buffer area, the work area, a termination area, and a sign indicating that the work zone has ended should be demarcated. All traffic control equipment should be of the latest regulation standards.
4. Wear Regulation Standard Safety Gear
Personal Protective Equipment should be worn at all times by all the personnel working inside the construction site. The equipment includes steel-toed boots, high visibility clothing like hats, vests, and armbands that are fluorescent or reflective, and hearing protection. All the gear worn should be of the regulation standard set by OSHA.
5. Site-Specific Safety Program
Every construction site is different, and each work zone has its risk factors and hazards. Therefore, creating a specific safety plan that is designed for that construction site is extremely important in preventing accidents. This program should include but not be limited to identifying all the hazards and how to prevent or solve them if they do occur, plan for emergency purposes, schedules to inspect equipment and gears, identifying and understanding communication signals. There should be a routine checkup to see if everyone is up to date with the program, and it is wise to have a safety meeting at the beginning of each workday. This meeting should include an inspection of whether the workers have all their safety gear, if hazards that are unique to that day due to changing weather conditions have been identified and if everyone knows the evacuation and emergency plans. These meetings can be time-consuming but are crucial in understanding the depth of the workers’ knowledge about their safety.
6. Obeying Procedure When Moving/Operating Heavy Machinery
Moving and operating heavy machinery can be a dangerous job, as even a small mistake can be fatal. Hence proper procedures should be obeyed when operating heavy machinery. Some things to keep in mind are always wearing a seatbelt, being extra careful when approaching machinery, always signalling to the operator to make sure the machinery is shut down before approaching it, making eye contact with all the workers before moving the machinery, applying the parking brake on all stationary machinery, and never riding on moving equipment like rollers. Some of these tips can seem obvious, but failing to obey even one can be fatal.
7. Be Mindful Of Your Surroundings
Being observant and aware of your surroundings at all times can help save your life. This is a must no matter what job you are doing on a construction site. Mindfulness will not only make you alert but will also significantly increase your reaction time during a crisis. It is vital to make sure where you are standing, working, or walking. Never stand under suspended equipment like a bucket or walk behind the machinery that is backing up or stand in the swinging radius of any machinery. It is also vital to use competent spotters that are aware of their positions and the different communication signals. Being aware of all the things will not only help save your life but also help you help a fellow construction worker who is in danger.
8. Avoid Blind Spots
Doing a regular safety check of all the vehicles and machinery is extremely important. It is crucial to check if all the visual aids and mirrors are correctly attached to the machinery and that nothing is blocking the view of the worker. If you are working in a cramped space, it may be wise to invest in machinery that provides a 360-degree view to the driver. It is also essential to test if all the backup alarms and lights are working. If you are working near the machinery, please make sure that you are visible to the driver.
9. Stay Hydrated
Working for long hours in the hot sun is extremely tiring, and being adequately hydrated goes a long way. Construction site workers are incredibly susceptible to heat-related illnesses like dehydration and overexertion. Therefore, in addition to drinking water, workers should also consume liquids that are high in electrolytes like sports drinks or coconut water. It is also advisable to take regular breaks on scorching days to avoid heat strokes.
Many deaths can be prevented if these simple but useful tips for safety at construction sites are followed. The safety procedures can save lives and prevent fatal accidents, and construction site managers should make sure that they are implemented and followed.