From heavy equipment and forklifts to hoists and scaffolding, construction workers are met with challenges every day. Most hazards of the job are overlooked by management and other business partners because they are risks unassociated with the immediate bottom-line of the project. A worker safety lawsuit is something no company wants to endure, and the only preventive system is preparation and compliance with industry standard operating procedures.
If you’re a construction worker, or an employer of a construction worker, it’s important that you listen to the following top safety measures every construction worker should take while on the job. All of these safety measures are compliant with OSHA guidelines and should be a daily exercise to avoid possible fines or lawsuits.
The Most Important Safety Measures
Falsework and Scaffolding
If you’re working in falsework, make sure that the erected structure is built in accordance with the design, which includes prop and strut examination for security. In addition, do not use scaffolds unless they have been erected by trained professionals.
OSHA strictly enforces safety harnesses and safety equipment, such as gloves and hard hats, when working on scaffolding. Make sure that wheels on mobile scaffolding members are locked when on structure and the working platform is cleared and suitable for use.
Don’t Work In Unsecure Areas and Lock Ladders
If you’re working in an area with potential structural failures or incomplete flooring on multiple levels of a building, make sure that there is fencing around these damaged or uncompleted areas. Some of the most fatal falls are contributed to missteps by construction workers while on high floors of the building. You should always be hooked to a safety harness and anchor point when operating on surfaces exceeding six feet from the ground. In addition, all ladders should be fastened to the member you are attaching to at 4 to 1 ratios from the ground.
For example, if you’re attaching member is located 50 feet in the air, the ladder should be about 12 feet from the anchor point of the 50 foot member. This provides leverage and eliminates sliding or tipping of the ladder while in use.
Safety Locks and Hoists
Always lock your equipment and following safety measures when using heavy machinery such as hoists, cranes, and cutting equipment. Many workers each year are severely injured due to the unsafe procedures applied prior to their shift. If a worker prior to your shift is not following shift-ending procedures, it’s important to report them to your superior.
Guarding of power tools and various cutting machines is vital to worker safety and is also one of the most violated procedures of OSHA inspections. Never walk, stand, or work beneath a hoist – isolate hoisting area with barriers, guards, and signs. Gloves and hard hats are vital when operating hoist and regular check-ups for equipment flaws ensure continual safety success.
Watch Out For Forklifts
Only authorized employees may operate forklifts and these people should have certificates that are available for other workers in the area. In addition, ensure the forklift has an overhead barrier to protect the operator from falling objects. If a forklift is “unattended” when the operator is more than 25 feet away, ensure controls are neutralized and the power is shut off.
Be Alert For Loose Debris and Electrical Wires
One of the most prominent safety violations and accidents occurring from worker safety mishaps is falling debris. People walk under heavy boxes, equipment, and other potentially hazardous devices every day without thought – until one of them finally falls. In addition to falling debris, be alert for loose electrical wires and “hot outlets” that do not have covers. Most of the time the result is a simple shock, but if you’re on a ladder or suspended in the air, a shock could cause a lethal formula for disaster.
If you’re working in elevation it’s always important to follow safety protocols because most deaths are slip and fall incidents. The driver of a bucket hoist elevating a worker must always operate at safe speeds, avoid bumps, never over-load the hoist arm (may cause tipping).
This article was written by Matthew Hall. Matthew worked construction every summer during college and became more than familiar with the dangers of the job. He realized that while most injuries were due to negligence, nearly all of them could’ve been prevented with certain safety standards. Since graduating, he has continued the fight for worker’s safety and works as a professional writer for www.eCompliance.com. To view more of his work, visit his Google+.