Construction plays a big part in the Australian economy, producing up to 9% of our GDP. However, the industry has been included among the seven national priorities for improvements in health and safety. This is due to the high rates of injuries and fatalities that occur on construction sites.
Avoiding hazards is a key part of managing any construction project. With multiple people and contractors, the lifting of heavy equipment and vehicles moving around, it’s easy for something to go wrong. That’s why it’s important to think about construction site safety before an accident occurs. This, of course, includes adhering to all OHS requirements for construction sites. In this article, we’ll give examples of three common hazards to avoid on a construction site.
1. Working at height
Working at height is part and parcel of construction work. Construction workers must go up on scaffolding, ladders, stairways and more on a regular basis. Yet, working at height continues to contribute to many workplace accidents. Safe Work Australia reports falls from a height accounting for 15% of all work-related injuries in the construction sector.
Falls, trips and slips happen at construction sites all the time but working at height adds to the severity of the incidents. In fact, the same industry profile by Safe Work Australia found that between 28% of worker deaths in construction involved a fall from a height.
What’s more, working at height tends to come with restricted mobility and access to other surfaces. Add human error to the mix, and you’ve got the perfect storm. Training, safe structures and using the applicable protective equipment are key to reducing the risks.
2. Moving and falling objects
Anyone who’s ever been to a construction site will know there are many moving parts involved. Cranes and forklifts are moving heavy materials around at the same site where workers move on foot. Moving and falling objects are a major safety hazard, so paying attention to them is crucial to improving workplace safety. Being hit by a moving object or a falling object caused 12% and 11% of work-related fatalities respectively.
To minimise these risks, specify vehicle routes and train workers to avoid them whilst moving on foot. Hard hats and other protective equipment are a must-have where there’s a risk of falling objects.
3. Electrical hazards
Electrical hazards are something to take extremely seriously. While they aren’t the most common cause of work-related injuries, electrocution does cause 15% of fatalities. Besides, there’s also electrical fire hazards that can put workers as well as the general public and nearby properties at risk.
The main solution to reduce injuries and fires caused by electricity is raising awareness amongst workers. Putting procedures in place that prevent accidental electrical contact also helps reduce the risk of electrocution. As with the other hazards, protective gear, such as eye protection and insulated hand protection, plays a big part too.
Stay safe on site
These are just three examples of commonplace construction site hazards, but in real life, there are many more to watch out for. So, how do you ensure workplace safety for all on-site? The answer lies in employee training and safety procedures.
Many deaths, injuries and accidents could be prevented with proper workplace safety protocol. Tools such as safety checklists can help make a significant difference. Additionally, make sure to train your employees on the correct use of personal protective equipment.
While it’s impossible to eliminate all safety hazards at a construction site, abiding by the OHS requirements will go a long way. Safety is an issue that any construction business should take seriously and is legally required in Australia.
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