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.
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.
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.