Construction work can be one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. No matter how safe you might think the job site might be, accidents will happen. Over the course of the year, there are close to 150,000 work related injuries that take place solely on construction sites. Of those injuries, more than 5,000 of them are fatal. However, while a construction job site might be inherently dangerous, it doesn’t have to be quite so.
Here are a few quick tips for preventing construction site accidents.
While there isn’t much you can do about an injury after it’s happened other than treat it, preventing injuries becomes more important. Being proactive about workplace safety is pretty straightforward, and requires little more than situational awareness and common sense. Be aware of trips and falls, and places they might present themselves such as scaffolding, ladders, and cat walks. Keep an eye out above you, as workers who are up higher might not necessarily be paying attention to what’s going on down below and a falling tool can do some pretty serious damage, even with a hard hat on.
Also, be aware of heavy machinery and other moving parts. While there’s little you can do if you’re already in the way of something, not being there in the first place because you know it’s coming can prevent an issue before it even happens.
Protective gear is a great way to help prevent accidents. Eyewear should be mandatory as there are a number of flying particles that can do some serious damage to the eye like cuts and scratches. Ear protection can go a long way to preventing long term hearing damage. Hard hats are also a must on the job site, as falling debris can come from any number of sources. Employees should also have adequate respiratory protection should the jobsite warrant it. Tearing down or remodeling an old building could be filled with asbestos, which is a known carcinogen.
However, even a simple dust mask can go a long way towards protecting workers from respiratory infections and other harmful illnesses. Lastly, reflective clothing is also a must. Bright colored and fitted with reflective materials helps to makes workers more visible, making it less likely that they’ll be hit by a car or by other heavy machinery.
Breaks and Safety Meetings
Safety meetings might seem a little redundant, however, they are a good way of keeping people from getting careless. By pointing out common mistakes that could jeopardize someone’s health, you could help employees to be more mindful of their surroundings and reduce the chance for serious injury or harm. Breaks are also incredibly important.
People get careless and are more likely to make mistakes when they are tired. With the physical demands of construction work, it’s important that workers are taking regular breaks and have adequate access to cold water which will help keep them hydrated. While it might seem unimportant, you would be surprised at what a quick break can do for someone’s attention levels.
Construction work is a dangerous but necessary field. Without the hard work that construction workers provide, our country simply wouldn’t run. However, while it is dangerous, it doesn’t have to be. Take the time to be aware, and reduce the chance for injury. As always, Safety First.
Michael Schreyer is a personal injury attorney in Maryland and is a partner in the firm of Alpert Schreyer, LLC. He is an experienced personal injury attorney, serving the Maryland and Washington, DC area and providing information and advice on his law blog at dcmdlaw.com.