People talk a lot about job site safety in construction, but the truth is that the work is dangerous. Even with safety measures in place, 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018, and 21.1% of those deaths were in construction. This is a startling statistic that serves as a helpful reminder not to let your guard down when on the construction site.
The top four causes of death in construction, referred to by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as the “fatal four,” are falls at 33.5%, being struck by objects at 11.1%, electrocutions at 8.5% and being caught-in/between equipment or machinery at 5.5%.
There are ways to incorporate helpful safety tips into crew members’ everyday work. Add reminders to eliminate complacency to your regular company emails and toolbox talks, for instance, or post reminders on shared bulletin boards. These seemingly simple efforts can help keep safe practices top of mind. After all, even the best teams have a tendency to become complacent — especially when it comes to jobs they’ve tackled regularly, and without incident. Inspire your team to keep adding up their safe manhours worked with these quick tips.
Use Proper Fall Protection
Your crew is probably familiar with tying off with a body harness and lanyard. One of the more common mistakes surrounding the practice is not wearing the correct harness and lanyard for a person’s body size and the height of their fall. Remind crew members of the height they will be working, and have them check the safety parameters of their personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure it meets the requirements for the job.
Be Aware of Surroundings
Did you know that a 2-ounce pen can penetrate a hard hat if dropped from 230 feet? Crew members who work up high should avoid carrying loose items in their pockets, and should ensure tools are set at least three feet inside of a platform to eliminate the possibility of falling objects hitting workers below. Be sure to remind crew members on the ground to be aware of work going on above them, so they can take precautions to be at a safe distance from elevated platforms.
Label Energized Areas
Post warnings and place barriers around energized areas. Take protective measures such as keeping walkways clear of cords, and always lockout/tagout deenergized equipment to help reduce the risk of electrocution accidents. Remind workers that, if unsure, they should always assume a wire is live until verified deenergized to maintain optimal safety.
Exercise Caution Around Active Equipment
Cranes moving back and forth can pin a worker against a nearby wall, while equipment in motion can catch clothing and pinch a crew member in between moving parts. Point out safe distances to help workers stay clear of large equipment, and remind them of typical pinch points that can occur when operating equipment if certain safety precautions are overlooked.
Give your team the confidence to know they have the right to stop work due to unsafe conditions to avoid common construction hazards. To keep your Houston construction crew safe — tell them, explain why, and tell them again. Remember, the goal is for everyone to return home in the same condition they arrived in. Be alert, speak up and work safe!