Although The Fatal Four sound like some sort of Beatles tribute turned bad, they are in fact the four biggest workplace killers in the construction industry. And every contractor should know what they are.
Once you know the hazards facing you on the job, you can take steps to help reduce them.
By far and away, the biggest killer of construction workers is falling. Trips and falls caused over 100,000 injuries in 2015.
Even now, there are workplaces across America operating without the proper safeguards in place for their employees.
Worse still, in some of the cases the safety equipment exists, but is never used.
To recap, these are the basic precautions an employer must take;
Guard Rails; Make sure there is a toe board and a guard rail everywhere there is an open ended platform or level, which is at height. Also ensure that any potentially hazardous machine is properly cordoned off.
Safety Harnesses; Nets, railings and harnesses must all be provided and used where there are falling hazards.
Training; It is no use having all the equipment, if no one knows how to use it! All staff members should be briefed on how to use safety equipment properly and every time!
BEING HIT BY AN OBJECT
After falling, the chief fatality on a construction site is being hit by an object.
This could be tools or rubble, or indeed other objects that have fallen or been thrown. Sometimes loads become loose and things fall out of place.
Help your workforce minimize these risks by the following steps;
Don’t work underneath a heavy load.
Make sure the operator of any heavy equipment can see workers at all times.
Always ensure every crew member has a hard hat.
Tie down and secure all materials and tools with the appropriate netting etc.
Ensure the wearing of goggles, face shields and safety glasses, when power tools are being used.
Number three in the workplace hazards is electrocution. Once again, this is something which is easily preventable. Don’t let your workplace become a statistic and follow these tips;
Training is essential to help prevent deaths from electrocution. Your crew must be given access to the correct PPE (personal protective equipment) and know how to use it.
Ensure that PPE is worn at all times, even if team members are not keen. It might save their lives.
CRUSHED BY EQUIPMENT
Number four in the list of workplace accidents which kill, is crushing.
This is typically when a limb is caught in machinery or someone is crushed by equipment.
Be in the know about exactly where the crushing points are on each piece of equipment in your lot.
Always turn off machinery, before servicing it.
Simply pay attention and be vigilant about where people are, in relation to moving objects and vehicles. Be on the lookout for things which might block peoples’ field of vision and prevent them from seeing something coming towards them.
Finally, ban loose fitting clothing from the workplace. Long hair should be tied back and jewelry should be tucked in or preferably, not worn at all.
By encouraging a culture of care, your crew will get into good habits and your site will become a productive and above all, safe, place to work.