Follow These Simple Steps To Construction Worksite Safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) says that, on any given day, nearly 6.5 million people are at work at more than a quarter of a million construction sites across the United States. Unfortunately, those same people are at the highest risk of being seriously or fatally injured on the job, mostly from falls from heights, trench or scaffold collapses, accidents involving machines and equipment, electric shocks, and failure to use the proper protective gear.
The good news is that many of these types of accidents are preventable, as long as workers operate with an abundance of caution and adhere to safety measures. When lives are on the line, construction site foreman and managers must make safety a top priority.
Here are some of the top tips to help ensure constructions workers remain safe on the job.
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Do a walk-through of the site.
Foremen should make this their first task of the day, using the time to identify any hazards that may have materialized during the prior day’s work. Be on the lookout for any potentially hazardous chemicals or materials laying around, scaffolding that may have shifted, or safety barricades that may have been inadvertently moved. First-time site inspections must include a survey of any underground utilities, such as gas, water or telecom lines; such obstructions must always be marked with barrier tape or signs.
Make sure everyone is properly trained.
OSHA requires that all operators musts have certified and identifiable training on machines or equipment, even if they’ve been running a certain machine so long they believe they can do it blindfolded. Models and features change, and a refresher course can often remind an operator that they have gotten lazy when it comes to safety rules and operating techniques.
Keep people a safe distance from the action.
Workers on a site have the tendency to want to be near the action, even if they’re not operating a machine at that moment. According to the website “For Construction Pros.com,” backhoe operators report that their biggest headache is when other workers that crowd their machine when, for instance, a hole is being filled or dug. This puts other people unnecessarily at risk, so don’t allow it.
Never ignore the simple safety rules.
Never let workers walk onto a site without a hard hat, and don’t allow them to forgo wearing safety-rated boots or anti-slip footwear, work gloves, protective apparel or ear plugs. Harnesses and seat/safety belts are a must, too, even if the job is relatively low to the ground or using them seems unnecessary. If a machine starts to tip, or a scaffold begins to give way, a seat belt or harness becomes a lifeline. Likewise, when loading or unloading a piece of equipment, always be sure workers have a spotter for guidance; doing it alone – and encountering trouble – can turn bad in a hurry.
Be vigilant with electricity.
If workers are using plugged-in portable devices, such as grinders or drills, always check that the cables are protected, that the metal casing is grounded, and that the power supply is provided with an earth leakage circuit breaker. Never allow the electrical tools to come in contact with water.
Use a common sense approach to keep the site as safe as possible.
Keep first aid nearby at all times to treat minor cuts and burns as quickly as possible. Make sure all work areas are well lit to prevent trip and fall injuries. Make sure workers are aware of swing radiuses of heavy equipment. Be sure ladders and scaffolding are free from defects and fully secured before using. Keep debris off walkways.
At the end of the day, a few sets of discerning eyes and a measured approach to adhering to safety rules will keep workers safe and your project on track.
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