Construction worksites can be dangerous — a multitude of safety hazards lurk around every corner. To avoid accidents, it's imperative that all workers know and follow appropriate safety rules. The coronavirus pandemic may have necessitated the widespread use of neck gaiters and face masks in this industry, but there are still several other precautions you should be taking. In case you need a refresher, here are five helpful tips to implement in your next project.
1. Be Careful When Entering or Exiting Equipment
Want to know one of the leading causes of construction injuries? Getting in and out of equipment. Lower the risk of your work sustaining unnecessary injuries from this by following these steps:
- Wipe off any mud or slippery substances from your boots and gloves.
- Get a firm foot or hand hold before you hoist yourself up.
- Use a step ladder if it makes it easier to climb into the equipment.
- Ask if you need help. There's absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about.
- Don't hop in or out of the equipment. Instead, take your time.
2. Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
These days, when most people hear "PPE," they immediately think of face masks. In construction, that's just the tip of the iceberg as far as PPE goes. Always check to make sure you're wearing the right clothes and gear for your job.
If you're lifting heavy objects, wear a back brace — your body will thank you later! If you're using dangerous tools, don some gloves and goggles. Or if you're working on an elevated area, reduce your risk of slipping and falling with a safety harness. Speaking of slipping, if you find yourself on slippery surfaces often, don't hesitate to wear nonskid rubber footwear. These can also be helpful for lifting heavy objects. Lastly, are you dealing with constant dust or debris? Or does your workplace have bad ventilation? Then put on a breathing mask.
After you're done with your job for the day, clean and store your safety gear in a secure, dry place. And also make sure that you have first aid kits and fire extinguishers readily accessible.
3. Prioritize Safety When Loading or Unloading Equipment
When loading or unloading equipment, there's always a risk of it rolling over. To mitigate this risk, always check to ensure that the ramps you're using are clear and straight. You want to have plenty of room between your body and the equipment in case any emergency occurs.
Also, consider using a co-worker as a spotter. They can provide great help in guiding you and ensuring that the equipment is clear from the ramp before moving it. Clearance is key to preventing a ton of construction injuries. Lastly, make sure you're using correct tie-down procedures.
4. Be Wary of Ladder and Stair Hazards
If you climb ladders or stairs often, then you need to take extra precautions. Always inspect the stairs or ladder before you actually step on them. They should be clean, uncluttered, and dry. Check for any loose, worn, weak, or damaged spots. Obviously, don't stand on these areas. Inform your foreman of these safety issues as soon as you can. Also, avoid using metal ladders in any sort of wet conditions.
Aerial lifts and elevated platforms are both safer than attempting to stand or balance on a ladder, so always opt for these when you can. And don't skimp on installing extra safety features such as guardrails, warning lines, and even control line systems.
If you are using a ladder, always pick one that's at least three or four feet taller than the location you intend to reach. Calculate the height carefully to ensure this is the case. Here's a good rule of thumb to employ in these situations: For every four feet in height, scoot the ladder base away from the wall by one foot.
When on the ladder, don't try to overreach; this often leads to workers losing their balance and getting injured. And whether you're climbing or descending, make sure your hands are free. Tuck your tools into your belt so that you can completely focus on getting up or down safely.
5. Avoid Crowding
Avoid crowding at all costs while on a construction site. This can especially be a big issue when it comes to large machinery. It's not unusual for people to gather around to watch large machines work. Unfortunately, there's never really a good reason for this; it's more of a habit. Obviously, avoid doing this, because it only increases the chances of unnecessary exposure to injury.
If large machinery is in operation, make sure all construction workers are far from the active area. It's up to foremen to enforce this rule and review it during safety meetings; it's not on the operator to ensure that people stay back. However, that doesn't mean that operators should refrain from beeping their horn as a sort of warning that they are about to commence work. Lastly, operators should always check closely behind them when backing up.
Stay Safe Out There!
We hope you enjoyed this brief rundown of tips! By following them, your construction site won't only be safer — it will also be more efficient. It's worth noting that there are many other factors to consider when trying to protect your construction team members. This list only scratches the surface. With that said, stay tuned! We'll have another piece on construction safety in the next few weeks.
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