A construction site is amongst the most hazardous kinds of workplace there is. At every turn, there are materials and equipment which, if misused, could inflict serious damage to the human body. Fortunately, all construction workers have the protection of an incredibly powerful piece of safety equipment – their brains. With the right training and precautionary procedures, and a few extra tools, they can give themselves the best possible chance of getting through the working day intact.
Don’t Move Things Unnecessarily
The majority of injuries sustained on construction sites aren’t dramatic or grisly – they’re strains inflicted when a worker attempts to lift a load that’s too big for them. Habitually picking up heavy loads over the course of years can strain the muscles and ligaments that make up the lower back. Eventually, a lift causes the body to fail, which puts the worker out of action for months, and necessitates months of physiotherapy. Workers might avoid this through precautionary stretching and yoga, and by training themselves in how to effectively lift – a better idea is to use a wheelbarrow or trolley.
Wear Full PPE
Personal protective equipment saves lives. Hard hats should be considered mandatory. If a great deal of dust is being generated, then quality facemasks might also make the difference. Certain materials and tasks demand a higher level of PPE. Welding requires full face protection; asbestos removal requires a respirator rather than a dust mask.
Of course, having access to PPE and knowing how to use it effectively are two different things. Workers should be trained in how to maintain and wear their PPE, and how to spot potential problems with it. PPE suppliers should be liaised with regularly to ensure that problems are reported.
Inspect Tools and Equipment Regularly
Substandard tools might cause an accident. But wear and tear means that power tools will over time reach a point of failure. Inspection and maintenance will prevent this from happening. By making this a part of the routine of life on the site, workers can ensure that problems are detected before they have a chance to become dangerous problems.
Formal training is a legal requirement in sites with sufficiently high-risk environments. As well as the minimum level of training required, it’s worth workers also receiving training in first aid and basic life-saving techniques. It may one day make all the difference – and you only need a few trained workers on a site to make it count.
Identify and Mark any Hazardous Materials
The most dangerous hazards are the ones that haven’t been spotted. Consequently, workers should be trained in how to identify dangerous hazards, and how to effectively mark those hazards for the entire site to observe. If hazardous materials are being used, then they should be clearly marked using the appropriate symbols.