The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the authority in workplace safety in the UK, reports that 57% of fatal and non-fatal injuries in 2019 were workers from the construction industry. Despite the intensified drive in the importance of safety, there are still incidences of injuries and accidents on the job. The good news, however, is that accidents can be prevented even if construction usually is high-risk work.
Creating a safer construction work environment
First and foremost, employees must be involved and made aware of the nature of work in the construction industry. Here are some more tips to avoid accidents while performing construction work.
- All workers must undergo safety training. Contractors and owners should prioritise educating their employees about the potential hazards and the corresponding safety practices in dealing with these dangers. The safety training must not be a one-time event; there must be a regular reminder about the policies and their responsibilities to make the workplace safer.
Also, the safety training must be strictly implemented and monitored by the safety officers to make sure that all workers follow it. Furthermore, safety training must incorporate elements such as people, work environment, and equipment.
- Regular toolbox meetings. Daily gatherings and a quick meetings with all workers at the project site are excellent opportunities for the safety officers to remind everyone of the potential work hazards they might encounter that day. For example, excavating next to a retaining wall may be hazardous without the proper preparation procedure. Safety officers should also take this chance to give everyone praise if there have been zero accidents up to that moment.
- Strict reinforcement of personal protective equipment (PPE) use. PPE is the first line of defence for workers should something go wrong on the job. All workers must have proper PPE when performing their specific roles at the job site. PPE may include hard hats, goggles, steel toe shoes, gloves, and other gear that may be specific to weather and site conditions.
- Practice proper tagging and using caution signs. Along with adequate coordination and clear communication, workers must see to it that work areas, equipment, and tools are fittingly tagged and signed. The purpose of such is to prevent other workers using defective tools; take extra caution in specific areas that are still wet with cement, and stay away from potholes.
Evaluate the risk and provide emergency plans
Before and during projects, safety officers must conduct a risk assessment and the corresponding exit procedures in case of emergencies. This plan should also include accident preventive measures as well. Once there is an identification of risks and corresponding safety plan, safety officers must make sure everyone’s aware of them. As the project progresses, safety officers must adjust the risk and emergency plans accordingly.
The success of every construction project is always associated with how effective the safety and health aspects are managed. Accidents can be avoided, and this is achievable if all stakeholders prioritise safety. Safety is everybody’s responsibility, and once zero accidents are achieved, everyone also benefits.