Category Archives: Risk Assessment & Management

Work Safety: Tips

Numerous accidents occur on construction sites every year, resulting in injuries to construction workers. These injuries are often serious, changing the lives of workers and their families forever. Even worse, many accidents result in the deaths of workers. These deaths leave behind wives and children who will never see their loved one again. This situation is even more pertinent on job sites that require workers to perform tasks at great heights.

Today we present several tips and precautions which will enable you to increase the safety of your crew immediately and without significant investment.


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Precautions to Help Prevent Falls

The old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” goes a long way in defining the importance of planning in regards to safety on a work site. Of all the tips and tricks to minimizing falls and other accidents while working on roofs, the best one is to prevent issues from happening in the first place. Any action or measure that can prevent an accident is one well worth taking. While it would be safe to say that such measures are worth their weight in gold, the truth is they are worth even more than that. Any measure that can prevent an accident may save a life, and there is no sum of money, gold or otherwise, that can equal that.

Work on a roof without actually stepping onto it

One of the main causes of falls from roofs is weak points in the roof. This can be the result of age, damage or poor materials being used during the initial construction. The most important thing to do is to identify any of these dangers prior to starting any roofing project. In the event that the roof being worked on has weaknesses or other such dangers the best plan is to use Mobile Elevated Working Platforms (MEWPs) whenever possible. These platforms, often referred to as ‘cherry pickers,’ enable a team to work on a roof without actually having to step onto the roof. This eliminates any accidents due to the hazards inherent in an old or damaged roof. Ideally, such mobile platforms would enable a crew to perform roof work from the underside of the roof, allowing them total roof access while staying completely safe.

Instating barriers around the perimeter

Holes created during construction work is another variable that frequently causes fall-related deaths. Tiles, boards and other materials may be temporarily removed in order to be replaced, creating a weak point that did not exist prior to the start of the project. These hazards are especially dangerous as workers would be confident in the roof’s safety as the result of any pre-project inspections and safety briefings. It is critical, therefore, to take extra steps to prevent these newly created hazards from posing any potential threat. One way to address the issue is to surround any weakened areas with a caution tape or other visible barrier. While this barrier won’t prevent a person from stepping onto the area, it will serve as a clear warning of the danger that may occur in doing so.

Cover any weakened areas to prevent accident

The best way to prevent weakened areas from causing accidents, however, is to place a cover over any such area. This cover should be extra stable and sturdy, capable of supporting twice the weight of workers and materials expected to be in the area at any given time. Using brightly colored materials or a bright border will add a level of safety by making the cover stand out and advertising the danger it is intended to protect against. Caution tape or other visible warning barriers should also be erected around skylights or other roof features that are not designed to withstand a person’s full body weight. The time it takes to construct these barriers is well worth it as it could prevent unnecessary damage, injury or even death.

Manage the flow and logistics of operation

Controlling the logistics of workers and supplies on a roof at any given time will also go a long way to significantly reducing the risk of roof related accidents. Restricting the time any worker spends on the roof will help them to stay focused on where they are. The longer a person is on a roof, the more familiar he will become with the roof environment. Eventually, they may forget the inherent dangers where they are and make the only mistake they need to change their lives forever. By reducing the time a person spends on the roof, you cause them to constantly be reminded of where they are and the safety measures they need to practice. This will help to eliminate accidents caused by a simple lack of concentration.

The provision of personal protective equipment

The use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is another sure way to help keep the risk of work site accidents to a minimum. In the case of rooftop projects, harnesses and other such safety equipment should be utilized without exception. Regardless of the time, expense and hassle involved in such measures, the ends will always justify the means. Far too many serious injuries and deaths have occurred in areas where a harness would have kept the worker completely safe. Thus, PPE should be a priority, no matter how small or simple the project may be.

Training workers in protective equipment usage

In addition to providing the proper PPE, training should be regularly incorporated into the routine of the construction crew. More often than not, PPE training is little more than a dreaded element of orientation that the average person just skims over in order to get orientation done and over with. The result of this is that most people get an incomplete picture of how PPE works and when it should be used. Even worse, this incomplete picture becomes ever hazier the longer the person works for that given company. In order to provide full and effective knowledge of PPE, regular training should be given to all personnel. This training should take the form of refresher courses, including tests to ensure all workers fully understand the material. Additionally, drills should be regularly administered, allowing workers to demonstrate their proficiency with any and all available PPE.


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The Role of Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the final measure that should be taken to increase workplace safety to a maximum. While this equipment should not be relied on alone to prevent accidents and injuries, it can serve as an invaluable addition to all other safety measures. After all, this equipment will prove meaningless if the appropriate inspections are not performed, or if other precautionary measures are not in place to ensure the safety of the workers. However, when used in conjunction with Safe Work Procedures, PPE can add an extra dimension to the safety and protection of the crew, ensuring that accidents are kept to a minimum and that injuries are reduced in severity.

Every equipment has their own purpose

The first and most critical element regarding the use of PPE is that the correct equipment should be used for the correct purpose. Any PPE is capable of keeping a person safe only if it is used as intended. Like any other equipment, each piece of PPE is designed to serve a very specific purpose. You would not expect to get great results if you used a forklift to dig a ditch. Simply put, the forklift isn’t designed for that function. If used for anything beyond moving materials, specifically palette stacked materials, a forklift will prove ineffective. PPE works in exactly the same way. The main difference, however, is that PPE is designed to protect workers under very specific circumstances. Used in any other way than its intended purpose, the PPE will provide no real amount of protection. In fact, when used incorrectly, PPE can actually increase the risk to the worker. Therefore, it is critical that the supervisor of the job or some other member of the team be fully informed of the design and purpose of each piece of PPE to ensure that the proper items are on hand and used at the appropriate times.

Train for when the needs for PPE arise

The next critical element in PPE use is proper training. Every worker who may come into contact with or use PPE in any way should know everything there is to know about that piece of equipment. The better trained the person is, the more effective they will be at using PPE. Just because a piece of equipment is designed to increase safety doesn’t mean that the equipment itself is safe. Only when it used in the right way, will PPE provide any sort of increased protection. Used incorrectly or in the wrong conditions, PPE will increase the dangers rather than reduce them. Thus, just as it is critical that the supervisors be fully informed about each piece of PPE, so too is it critical for the users themselves to be just as fully informed. Not only will reference materials help to achieve this goal, but regular drills and hands on demonstrations will go a long way to maximizing the effectiveness of all PPE.

Common types of PPE

One of the key pieces of PPE used in roofing projects is the travel restraint system. This is an item that serves to restrict the movement of a worker, thus preventing them from overextending themselves and increasing their risk of falling. The most common forms of travel restraint system are belts and harnesses. Used properly, these tools will ensure that no accidents occur that would allow the worker to fall from their working platform. However, it is critical to ensure that the restraint system is correctly deployed, being properly anchored to the appropriate point as well as being properly attached to the person using it. This should be part and parcel of the safety inspection performed prior to beginning that particular job.

Another piece of PPE commonly used on elevated construction projects is the individual fall arrest system. This usually takes the form of a harness, ensuring that the worker is secured at heights even if they fall off of their working platform. These systems can be simple, consisting of a harness being anchored directly to the platform itself, or they can be more complex, involving additional lines referred to as lifelines. In the case of lifeline systems, the harness is attached to lines that are in turn anchored to the platform itself. These systems are used when greater mobility is required for the job at hand. However, with the increased complexity of these systems comes increased risk accidents. Thus, it is of the utmost importance that all inspections are done thoroughly and that all members using or in contact with the fall arrest system are trained and briefed on its proper use.


Simple Tips and Tricks for Improved Safety

So far, we haven’t yet mentioned the most important element of construction site safety—an element that can and will make the difference between safety success and safety failure. That element, in short, is common sense.

Common sense: most important element

The number one cause of accidents on any work site—let alone those involving working at heights, is carelessness. Cutting corners, skipping steps, half-hearted inspections—all of these lead to increased risk of accident, injury and even death. Therefore, the number one solution to increase safety is to use simple, down to earth common sense. By following some very basic tips you can help to ensure that your workers are protected and that every site you work on is safer all round.

Enroll workers for safety and technical training

The first tip is to increase training. If your workers are better informed on the dangers inherent in the job, then they will be more capable of spotting those dangers in the first place. Better training will result in better habits, which in turn will reduce the risk of accidents and injuries and create a healthier, safer work environment. In addition to training workers on the dangers themselves, it is critical to train them on the procedures and practices that help to address those dangers. Again, the better trained your workers are on safety standards like SWP or PPE, the better prepared they will be when confronted with the hazards of working on heights. Regular refresher courses on safety will help all workers to stay fresh and up to date on the issues that can help keep them safe and healthy while on the work site.

Get multiple workers to do the safety inspection

Another recommendation is to get multiple workers involved in the safety inspections. While it is only required that supervisors conduct safety inspections, including other workers, will help to improve the chances of spotting any issues. This regular involvement in safety inspections will also serve as an ongoing training tool that will help improve the awareness of dangers on the work site.

In addition to simply conducting the inspection, a supervisor can actually quiz the workers on important safety topics, specifically those related to any issues that appear during the inspection. This will significantly increase the ability of all workers to detect hazards and potentially spot problems before they occur. The more involved every worker is in making the work environment safe, the safer everyone’s job will be.

Provide the best safety equipment

It should go without saying that every construction site should have the best safety equipment available. While using old and worn ladders, scaffolds and the like may seem like a great way to save money, it is, in fact, a great way to put lives at risk. All equipment should be replaced at any sign of wear or damage. No amount of instruction or inspections will be of any value if the equipment you are using proves dangerous itself. Only when you have safe, reliable equipment can you be assured that your workers will be safe while using that equipment. Therefore, inspections of all equipment, especially PPE and roof access equipment, should be performed on a regular basis. This is especially true whenever equipment is subjected to extreme weather conditions or other such situations that may increase the strain and stress that the equipment is put under. Charging a particular person with this task is an easy way of ensuring that the equipment is kept at peak performance levels at all times. However, every worker should be familiar with and keenly interested in the condition of any and all equipment they use at any given time.

Implementing open door policy

Finally, the best tip that can be given to increase the safety of your workers is to establish an open door policy with regard to any concerns over safety or other related issues. If a worker has concerns over certain policies or practices they should be able to raise those concerns with the highest levels of management without fear of any negative repercussions. All too often workers will keep their opinions to themselves because they don’t want to rock the boat. How many accidents could be prevented, and lives potentially saved, if this were not the case? The better the lines of communication between management and workers, the better the conditions on the site overall. Therefore, it’s not just a matter of you talking to your crew, it’s also a matter of encouraging your crew to talk to you.



Conclusion

No effort is too great if even one accident can be prevented. That is especially true if it means a life could be saved. Hopefully, this post has provided you with both the ideas and the inspiration to start improving the safety and security of your work sites immediately.

You may also be interested in best practices and safety procedures to follow for a safer work environment.

Other related articles: Everything You Have to Know About Work Boots

Work Safety: Regulations & Framework

From rooftop projects to high-rise construction, any project that involves working off the ground greatly increases the risk of accidents and the severity of the injury that results from them. Fortunately, there are numerous practices and tools which can help to significantly reduce the risk of such accidents. We will present several of these practices and frameworks, describing how they can be used to your greatest benefit.


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Why workplace safety is so critical

Construction work of any type is one of the most hazardous jobs on the planet. The combination of heavy equipment, machines, large amounts of heavy or dangerous materials and dangerous locations all add up to a scenario just begging for disaster to strike.

Unfortunately for many, disaster does strike on too regular of a basis. While some accidents are purely random and unavoidable, the vast majority of accidents are not. On the contrary, most workplace accidents are completely preventable. This only stands to make such incidents that much more tragic, as lives are changed, ruined or even lost for wholly avoidable reasons.

Main reason for workplace accidents

Studies have shown that the vast majority of preventable accidents occur due to inadequate training and insufficient resources regarding safety procedures. The more training regarding safety procedures and precautions that construction personnel has, the less likely they are to experience on the job accidents. Likewise, the more resources that construction sites have with regard to safety procedures and equipment, the more likely that site is to remain accident-free. However, when training is lax and safety resources are scarce, the chance for accidents increases exponentially. Not only will the number of accidents increase in these conditions, but the severity of the accidents themselves will increase.

The benefits of safety training and equipment

Proper training and resources help to mitigate the risk and severity of injuries to construction workers. It is therefore critical for anyone overseeing a construction operation of any type to ensure that the proper amount of training and equipment is made available to any and all personnel on the site. This will ensure that injuries, as well as being kept to a minimum in number, will also be kept to a minimum in severity. The ultimate gain from this is the reduction in lives lost due to accidents on the work site.

A great many accidents can cause serious damage to equipment and the site itself, resulting in large sums of money being needed for repairs and the like. Proper training will help to prevent damage to equipment, materials and the site as a whole. After all, while the safety of the crew is the paramount concern, the construction business is just that—a business. Thus, any accident or injury, as well as being measured in terms of human cost, can also be measured in terms of financial cost. Taking the extra time and effort to prevent workplace accidents will thus not only benefit the workers, but it will benefit the company’s bottom line as well.

Who’s responsible for workplace safety?

The burden of responsibility for workplace safety does not rest squarely on the shoulders of the person in charge. While the head of any construction company is responsible for anything and everything that happens on the site, the fact is that all members of the construction team can share in ensuring that safety is made the number one priority. Supervisors can ensure that necessary materials are made available, both in terms of certified reference materials as well as safety equipment and the likes. Additionally, supervisors can make sure that safety meetings and even drills are held on a regular basis, guaranteeing that everyone is up to date on the latest safety procedures.

Perhaps the ultimate burden of responsibility lies with the rank and file of the construction crew. While instructional meetings and materials can educate a person to perform their job more safely, only the willingness to follow safety protocols will actually allow them to have any impact on the safety of the job site. Therefore, it is critical that a certain amount of oversight be given to each worker, ensuring that they are following the highest safety standards at all times. Any worker failing to adhere to those standards not only poses a threat to their own safety, but they pose a threat to the safety of others as well.


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How Careful Planning Increases Safety

An axiom used often in the military is: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” While this is true of just about any scenario, it probably can best be applied to scenarios involving safety. After all, as mentioned earlier, the vast majority of accidents that occur on construction sites are completely preventable. The reason they still occur is in no small part due to a lack of careful planning before the first brick was laid or the first nail was hammered. The most successful construction teams in terms of safety and performance are those who take the extra time to thoroughly plan out all angles of the task at hand. Not only do these teams suffer fewer on-site accidents, but they also have a better overall reputation for the reliability of their work.

Needless to say, the higher a construction job goes, the more dangerous it is. Thus, working on roofs is one of the most dangerous and accident prone construction jobs there are. While you might expect that most accidents involving roof work occur on long jobs or complex jobs such as roof construction, it turns out that the opposite is true. A great many roof-related incidents happen on small jobs, usually requiring few workers and a minimal amount of time. In fact, jobs such as replacing roofing tiles are one of the biggest contributors to construction site accidents. The reason for this is that proper planning is all too often skipped due to the simple nature of the job at hand. Therefore, no matter how big or small the job may be, careful planning should always be step number one.
The first goal of any planning is Risk Assessment. Before a single person begins work, the safety of the roof itself should be ascertained. Any weaknesses or other dangers should be discovered and well noted, both on paper and verbally to all team members. Other variables to consider are the roof type, the angle of the roof slope, the height of the roof and the time the job is expected to take. After all, the longer a worker is on the roof, the longer they are exposed to danger.

Careful inspection before starting a project

Careful planning should also be given to the roof access itself. Whether you are using ladders or full-fledged scaffolding, the same attention to detail should be given. Things such as gaps between scaffolding and the roof need to be noted and addressed. All personnel needs to know where to be the most careful. Proper handholds should be available, no matter what kind of access you are using. Ladders should exceed the height of the roof by at least one meter, and scaffolds should have a safety railing to prevent falls.
The safety of any roof access equipment must begin from the ground up. All the safety railings and proper heights are for nothing if ladders aren’t properly secured or scaffolds aren’t properly anchored. Thus, before a single person ascends to their lofty job site, time and effort should be spent inspecting every detail of the ground safety of any roof access point.

Next, every element of the job, from the roof access to the tools used, to the roof itself, should be inspected for damage or wear. Any cables or ropes that are frayed could give way, causing materials to fall and potentially injure personnel below. Additionally, any weak joints in a ladder or scaffold could cause a person to lose footing and fall, causing serious injury or even death. Thus, every item, including the site itself, should be gone over with a fine tooth comb in order to find and eliminate any potential dangers.

Safety training prior to entering work site

Finally, training is just as important as any other element in the planning stage. In fact, it is at this time that training is most effective at preventing accidents. After all, once a person enters the work site, they become exposed to the dangers and risks inherent in the site itself. Thus, if they aren’t already trained on safety issues, then the chances of them being involved in an accident are exponentially higher. Take the time to make sure all workers know how to safely use any roofing access points, ladders and scaffolds alike. Additionally, make sure that everyone knows the right way to traverse the rooftop itself. Ensuring proper training in this area will go a long way to preventing the vast majority of roof work accidents.


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Administrative Resources for Increasing Safety

The role of supervisors, overseers and other administrative staff in ensuring safe working conditions on any job site, let alone high-risk sites such as roofs, cannot be overstated. In fact, certain legal restrictions have been put in place to help guarantee that the highest of safety standards are followed while working in areas where the risk of falling more than 3 meters exists. The penalty for not following the legal guidelines can be severe, including heavy fines, withdrawal of permits from the company or even jail time. However, the greatest risk involved in not following the proper procedures during rooftop projects is the human cost involved in any accident. It is critical, therefore, that the administrative controls be followed as they are in the best interest of both the company and the workers.

Applying for a Permit to Work in Singapore

There are two main administrative resources to increase the safety levels of any work at heights job location. The first of these is what is called the Permit-To-Work (PTW)system. This system requires the company to apply for a permit before starting their project. A local government official known as the Safety Assessor (SA) is responsible for issuing this permit, but only after performing a careful inspection of the work site to ensure that all safety measures required for the permit are in place. This inspection takes place with the supervisor of the job, thus enabling the SA to raise any doubts or concerns in real time. Only when the SA is fully confident that all required safety precautions have been taken will the permit be issued, allowing the work to take place. Failure to meet any of the conditions will result in a delay of the permit being issued. Only when an inspection is 100% will the work be allowed.

Since the inspection has to be perfect, applications for a PTW should not be submitted until the site is considered completely prepared. This is not only the case with first-time permits, but it is also the case for extensions of existing permits. PTWs are only issued for a duration of 7 days. Thus, any work that requires a PTW, but which cannot be performed within 7 days, will require additional PTWs to extend the period of time until the project is completed. Each extension application will be treated as a first time application, meaning that the inspection will be conducted with scrutiny each and every time. Failure to meet the inspection’s requirements will result in delays in work, resulting in extended wages and equipment costs as well as the overall loss of time. Therefore it is critical to meet the requirements completely on every inspection.

Implementing Safe Work Procedure

The second administrative resource for ensuring safety on a high construction location is what is known as Safe Work Procedure (SWP). These are strictly internal, requiring no outside oversight or permissions. In short, the SWP of a company is gathered together and presented as part of Risk Assessment. These will include but are not limited to ensuring the proper inspection of sites for hazards, the proper issuance and use of PPE, placement of warning signs around any known danger areas, and the placement of safety equipment such as handrails, safety nets and the like. In short, the SWP is the basis of the safety standards that will guarantee that any risk of fall or injury due to high-level working conditions are reduced to an absolute minimum. While the SWP is not the same as the PTW, the fact is that they operate hand in hand. Unless effective SWP is in place, there will be no chance in acquiring any permits for any type of project.

Maintaining daily inspections

Daily inspections are required for maintaining a PTW for the duration of the job, or until the PTW expires. Likewise, daily inspections are necessary to ensure that all SWP are in place and achieving the desired results. While inspecting the same site day in and day out may seem to be a waste of time and resources, the simple truth is that when these inspections are skipped or ran through in a careless manner, accidents are almost guaranteed to take place. The significance of these inspections, therefore, is beyond measure. When done right, accidents and injuries are kept to an absolute minimum, meaning that workers are effectively protected from any unnecessary danger. Additionally, financial losses are kept to a minimum as well. Effective inspections can discover the potential for problems just before they occur. Equipment that is worn or damaged can be repaired or replaced before any serious incident causes harm to a person or the site in general. The money saved by preventing accidents more than makes up for the time and money spent on the inspections themselves.



Conclusion

Of all of the assets your company possesses, none is more valuable than your workers. Therefore, reducing the risk of accident and injury to your workers should be your number one priority! The sooner you apply the information in this page, the sooner you will be able to create a safer work environment for you and your crew.

You may also be interested in several measures to increase the safety of your crew immediately and without significant investment.

Importance Of Having A Safety Plan For Your Company

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Safety is everyone’s concern  from the company’s owners all the way down to the lowest ranking employee. Every person has the right to stay safe and healthy in their workplaces, and with such rights, come obligations for the company and its owners to put into place – systems that’ll minimize workplace-related accidents and their potential impacts on both the workers and the enterprise.

Why A Safety Plan?

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin’s above-mentioned quote, if your company fails to plan for safety, then it’s practically planning for danger. Without a safety plan, several things can and will go wrong. With a safety plan, your company will become a much safer one. How?

First, the chances of minimizing injuries and preventing potentially fatal accidents are much higher when systems and facilities that ensure workers’ safety are in place. The best way to solve problems is by nipping them in the bud, i.e., just before they bloom into full-fledged issues or concerns. If I were to use a personal analogy, it’s easier to keep excess weight off than lose it later on.

The second way a safety plan makes your company a much safer plan is that, in the rare chances that accidents do happen, your company will be able to immediately contain its negative effects. Let’s take a look at the basic workplace practice of having a good number of fire extinguishers placed in key areas of the workplace or having a sprinkler system installed in case fires do break out as examples. Having such measures in place can quickly contain the fire so that injuries to workers and damages to property can be minimized.

When it comes to systems or practices, another basic but important workplace safety policy is to conduct regular fire or earthquake drills. Doing so ensures that your company’s workers won’t panic in case a fire breaks out or an earthquake happens, and can quickly and safely get out of the building. Without regular drills, your workers won’t be familiar with how to quickly and safely get out of the building during fires or after earthquakes and as such, panic may ensue and exacerbate the situation.

What Should It Cover?

More than just having a safety plan, your company must have one that works, i.e., covers the most important risks. And what are those risks?

One of them is working from heights. Falling from high working places is one of the most common reasons for workplace accidents – some of which are fatal. By having systems and facilities in place to minimize the risk of your workers falling to the ground and minimize the impacts of such when it happens, you can make your company -especially if it’s a construction one – a very safe place to work in.

Another major risk area to cover is working in confined spaces. As with working from heights, this also contributes a lot to the workplace or construction-related injuries and deaths. Because it can be very challenging to enter confined spaces to rescue someone who was accidentally injured, your company must have systems and equipment in place that will minimize confined space risks, and mitigate any damages and injuries that may arise when such risks materialize.

Planning For Safety

Make no mistake about it, having a safety plan for your company isn’t just one of the best investments it can ever make. It’s also a mandatory one. As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure and if I may add, having a cure in hand always trumps not having one for when accidents happen. That’s why planning for your company’s safety is tantamount to making your company a safe place to work in.

Safety Concerns To Look Out For During Building & Construction

When it comes to fatalities, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the construction industry has a substantially higher rate than most other industries. And when you consider non-fatal or minor accidents, the numbers may even be double or triple those of other industries.

Why is that so? It’s because the construction industry has safety concerns that are more pronounced compared to non-construction industries. And what are those safety concerns? Let’s take a look at the most important safety concerns with building and construction activities.

Slips, Trips, & Falls

Construction work involves a wide variety of work activities on site. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that falls, trips, and slips can happen almost everyday. This is mainly due to the fact that construction and building work sites are a cacophony of structures at different completion stages; there are also ground holes, stored equipment and materials, and scaffoldings to consider. For many construction workers and managers, it seems that normal to have eyes even at the back of their heads in order to keep safe!

Working at Height

In many cases, working on buildings – whether demolitions or constructions – would necessitate people working from relatively high elevation; falls from which usually result in debilitating or fatal injuries. Workers’ risks for falling from heights while doing construction or building work are often heightened by constrictions in mobility and access to such high working spaces.

Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome

Many construction workers suffer from a condition called hand-arm vibration syndrome, or HAVS. It’s a condition in which a person suffers from a debilitating and painful condition of the blood vessels, joints, and nerves caused by extended and chronic use of vibrating ground working equipment and power tools. This particular medical condition is one of the most prominent causes or basis for claims filed by former construction workers against their former employers who fail to provide adequate protection for their former and current workers.

Electricity

Electrocution is one of the most common types of work accidents that construction workers get into, year in and year out, especially those who are involved with the refurbishing of buildings. In particular, those who are working very close to overhead power cables and lines are at substantially higher risks for electrocution accidents. One of the reasons for many cases of electrocution involves the assignment of non-qualified personnel to do electrical work.

Noise

One of the major construction-related hazards that are often taken for granted on work sites is noise. When a worker’s subject to loud noises every now and then, the risk for hearing impairment is rather low. It’s a different story however when we talk about excessive, repetitive, and chronic exposure to extremely loud noises. And more than just hearing impairment, excessively loud noises may also be dangerously distracting for construction workers and cause serious accidents on site.

Many people think that when it comes to minimizing the risks for hearing impairment in construction sites, using ordinary earplugs can do the trick. Often times, ordinary plugs don’t offer enough protection for workers. As such, employers are often mandated to conduct and document a very extensive assessment of the risks associated with excessively loud noises at construction sites as well as giving their workers the necessary gear for minimizing hearing-impairment risks.

Risk Management Is Risk Minimization

Risk can’t be eliminated but they can be managed. The ability to clearly identify potential risks associated with building and construction, such as those enumerated here, is crucial because you can’t manage what you don’t know. And when it comes to implementing measures for managing identified risks, it’s important to consider how to minimize the chances of such risks actually happening.

Remember, an ounce of prevention is much better than a pound of cure. Risk management is prevention.

Importance Of Risk Management And Assessment

“Risk comes from not knowing what you`re doing.” – Warren Buffett

We always hear the word ‘risk’, but when we stop to think about it, what does risk truly mean? In a nutshell, risk is any chance or possibility of something undesirable happening. And when we talk about undesirable events — especially in construction workplaces, we’re talking about accidents that can result in very serious injuries or worse, death, for workers.

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to risk. I’ll break the bad news to you first: you can’t eliminate it. If you or your company want to achieve something meaningful, you will need to take risks. As one of the most basic principles of financial management goes, the higher the profit you want to earn, the higher the risks you’ll need to take.

The good news – yes, there is good news – is that risk can be managed well so when it comes to pass, you’ll be able to minimize its effects. The practice or process of minimizing risks and it’s potential effects to your company and workers is referred to as risk management.

Why Risk Management?

There’s a saying that ignorance is bliss; I disagree. It can be dangerous or even downright fatal. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6 that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Regardless whether you’re a Christian or not, you probably would agree that said passage carries a lot of truth. If you don’t know that something bad may happen to your company and your workers, how can you prepare well for it — i.e. minimize the possibility of it happening or if it’s an unavoidable certainty, prepare to minimize its impact?

A very good example of risk minimization in the construction workplace is requiring construction workers to wear steel-toed boots. It practically eliminates the risk of them accidentally cutting off their toes with very sharp tools or by having something really heavy or sharp fall on their toes. In a sense, it’s also a very good example of minimizing the impact of risks should they materialize because the steel-covered toe areas of their boots would be strong enough to keep very sharp tools or equipment from cutting through the boots and consequently, their toes.

Assessment: A Crucial Component

While there are probably million-and-one risks present in the construction workplace, it’s neither practical nor possible to address all of them. It may not be so even for just most of them. It won’t just be too expensive but it will also take a lot of time and effort to do so, which may render it impossible to get anything construction-related done at all. That’s why it’s important to choose your risk management battles through a process called risk assessment, which is one that tries to estimate both the probability and impact of risks that companies and their workers face. Through risk assessment, you’ll be able to determine which risks do need to be managed and which ones to just let be. By identifying key risks and their potential impacts on the company and workers, you can maximize the company’s resources and manpower in terms of productivity and worker safety and health.

Conclusion

Especially in construction workplaces, many things can go wrong and depending on what those things are, the impact on both the company and its workers can be substantial. Failure to plan is planning for failure, and a very important aspect of effectively planning for these things is learning and implementing risk management activities in your company’s construction workplace.