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How to Keep Your Workers Safe on a Construction Site

Site engineer on a construction site

There are jobs more dangerous than others and working on an active construction site is one of them. Heavy loads, high scaffolding, and heavy-duty machinery all account for the construction site to be a perilous place, let alone work on it. That’s why the workers erecting any structure need to be extra careful and wear the necessary safety gear. A simple helmet is not nearly enough for a worker to feel protected on a construction site so other safety procedures should be put into place.

Fall protection

Working at height might come with a great view, but the dangers multiply the higher the structure gets. On skyscraper builds, every new floor should be secured with a barrier. In some cases, even fluorescent tape will get the job done but in order to be 100% (if there is such a thing), you should add metal barriers along the edges.

Furthermore, workers working on beams protruding from the main structure should be attached to lifelines which will act as bungee ropes in case of a slip and fall. Elevator shafts, vents holes, and skylights pose a danger of their own, so they should be sealed off until the specialist come to work on them. Finally, be sure to clearly mark any excavations in the ground, as these holes can be quite wide in diameter, with steep edges.

Personal protection equipment

Apart from barriers that are there to help all the workers feel safe, personal protection gear is also important. The parts of the body that are most prone to injury are the extremities and the head area, with the face being especially vulnerable. Workers should wear safety goggles to protect their eyes from sparks, wood chips, dust, liquid chemical, and other hazards commonly found at a construction site.

Plexiglas helmets go without saying but they can be equipped with shock-absorption pads, much like the ones American football helmets feature. Furthermore, they should cover the ear and possibly the neck, depending on the type of hazard a particular worker is exposed to. Of course, make sure that the personal protection equipment is in good shape. A smudged pair of goggles can only contribute to an accident, rather than prevent it.

Eliminating the risks

Apart from using the standard protection measures, another way to go is to eliminate most of the possible risks. The risk of a fall will always be there but there is a lot that you can do when it comes to fire safety, for instance. Soliciting the help of building inspection companies like Inspect To Protect will help you identify the biggest threats to workers’ safety. Once you know what the risks are on each construction site, it will be easier to implement countermeasures.

Handling toxic substances

Speaking of potential risks, one of the biggest hazards is the use and storage of toxic chemicals.  Materials such as silica, lead, polished wood, and asbestos are all considered toxic and should be stored differently from the rest of the building materials. The same goes for hazardous chemicals commonly found at construction sites like cadmium, zinc, mercury, and beryllium. Workers should wear additional personal protective gear when handling them. Furthermore, not all employees should be allowed to have access to them. In the case of a major spill-out, there should exist evacuation procedures and hazmat units should be called instantaneously.

Frequent briefings

You can equip a worker with protective gear from head to toe but you as the employer shouldn’t skip the most important step in construction work safety: education. How are the workers going to know what the potential risks are if no one has briefed them about all the perils? Frequent staff meetings that will have an expert speaking, for instance about fire safety, should be a regular happening. The more construction workers are instructed in how to manipulate equipment and safety procedure, the more protected will they be at their respective posts.

We hope that by now you have a clearer picture of what construction safety implies. It’s a pretty wide field of expertise to cover so hiring professionals to help you is by no means a bad decision.

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Written by Patrick Adams

Patrick Adams is a freelance writer and rock-blues fan. When he is not writing about home improvement, he loves to play chess, watch basketball, and play his guitar. More than anything, he loves to spend his time in his garage, repairing appliances and creating stuff from wood.

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