The Ultimate Construction Site Safety Guide
Construction work is a dangerous profession, and it’s not uncommon for accidents to occur on the job site. Employers need to mitigate any safety hazards for their workers, and employees need to keep precautions in mind while working in hazardous conditions.
Let’s talk about construction site safety and what you can do if you’re a construction worker who got injured on the job.
Related: 10 Most Dangerous Jobs
Before any construction worker sets foot on a construction site, they must understand and be aware of any possible hazards they’ll face. Workers who aren’t aware of their surroundings are one of the most significant dangers in any industry, especially construction; their unknowing mistakes can put others at risk. Every single person that enters a construction site needs to know the risks of the job and how to mitigate them.
Construction site managers must ensure that every worker is aware of potential dangers, and they must work to protect them from those dangers. A supervisor or manager who fails to teach their crew how to ensure safety and avoid injury is a liability. Ensuring construction worker safety should be the highest priority on any site.
Many construction skills can be learned on the job, but safety is best learned beforehand. OSHA and similar organizations publish free resources to help train new construction workers on the most recent safety practices. And experienced workers should refresh their safety knowledge by attending regular training throughout the year. Even seemingly simple topics, like properly using a ladder, can prevent injuries and deaths on construction sites. Workers also need to know what they should do if an incident occurs.
Although attending regular safety training is crucial for construction workers, they should also practice those skills on the construction site to enforce the rules. Without proper training, workers can easily get injured or worse. In an industry where injuries are prominent, safety training is essential.
Accidents happen more often when construction workers don’t know what to expect. A direct discussion of each day’s activities will help cut out surprises that could lead to injuries. Cell phones and walkie-talkies that allow fast, efficient communication between team members can help reduce workplace accidents. Without communication between everyone working on the site, workers won’t know what’s happening around them.
Clear, concise communication between everyone helps make a construction project go faster and safer. Informing the workers and ensuring everyone is doing their part properly is a great way to enhance construction site safety and reduce the chance of workers getting injured.
Having proper documentation of what will occur on the construction site is the best way to enforce safety. Some construction companies might leap through legal hoops to start building faster, but it’s crucial to secure all proper licenses and registrations before beginning to work. Any workers dealing with difficult tasks, like blasting, should have evidence of their certification before stepping foot on the construction site. This prevents injuries from improper training and removes unnecessary safety hazards.
No construction worker will want to work for a company that doesn’t put safety first. Injuries due to poor safety practices steer skilled workers away from construction firms and put them at risk for lawsuits.
Construction workers must also have access to proper equipment and work areas to perform their job. Without the right well-maintained equipment, no construction site is safe; there will constantly be an opportunity for someone to get injured when using the wrong equipment.
They should also have access to things that don’t directly contribute to the project. For example, construction workers need plenty of water and shady areas available to prevent exposure-related illnesses and dehydration on the job site. Long projects should also use structures to cover incomplete sites and store equipment. These things can get overlooked easily, and in those cases, the chances of a construction site injury rise exponentially. The proper equipment ensures there’s at least a certain level of safety precautions being taken.
While the rate of construction accidents is high, it’s even higher for companies that don’t devote extra resources to help keep their workers safe. New safety practices and equipment can lower workplace accidents and injuries while helping to develop new ways to keep workers safe. Every construction firm should work toward improving safety protocols, no matter the cost. With enough innovation, construction sites worldwide can maximize their safety practices to significantly lower accident rates.
The worst thing a construction company can do is cover up or hide their accidents. Not only is it difficult for the injured workers, it paints the entire industry in a negative light. Overall, everyone understands that accidents happen, but each company needs to take the proper precautions to prevent them. As long as construction companies and managers are doing their part to foster a safe work environment, transparency does more good than anything.
Along with these other construction site safety practices, transparency and a will to work towards a safer workplace can create an industry with fewer accidents. A safe construction site means fewer injuries and deaths. The entire industry should work on creating and implementing construction site safety practices to significantly reduce the number of accidents that occur daily.
I got Injured On the Construction Site—Now What?
If you had an accident on a construction site, especially if the company didn’t take necessary safety precautions like the seven listed above, you’re likely wondering what comes next. Follow these four steps if you got hurt at the job site:
- Treat your injury: Even if the injury isn’t severe, you should get treated right away. Ensure that the facility you go to knows that it’s a work-related injury.
- Tell your supervisor: Once your injury gets treated, notify your supervisor right away so you can start working on getting your workers’ compensation benefits.
- Contact a workers’ comp attorney: If the construction company’s insurance denies your benefits, you’ll need to file a claim. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you navigate the complex system to get your benefits.