Almost 6.5 million people work in the construction industry in the States. It is a frightening fact that two construction workers are killed every day while working on site and an average of 120,000 workers are injured each year. Gone are the days where accidents were just accepted as part of the job, now accidents on site are considered a sign of poor management and companies with high accident rates soon disappear from the skyline.
All employees should be issued with personal protective equipment which should include hard hats, heavy duty gloves, safety goggles, safety boots and ear plugs. On top of these essential pieces of equipment should be some sort of reflective vest or reflective belt and high visibility clothing, to ensure that workers are always visible on site no matter what the weather. In hot climates, a reflective belt or reflective safety vest straps make for a good alternative to the fuller reflective gear. This is also the case in colder climates, where winter clothing and heavy reflective gear can be restrictive.
All personnel on site must be properly trained to identify possible dangers and report these immediately to their line manager. There should be regular safety meeting with all staff to highlight the importance of constant vigilance.
AVOIDING INJURY AND FIRST AID
Construction workers must be taught how to lift things correctly in order to avoid serious back injury and, with it, an inability to work. They must also be taught how to recognise and avoid repetitive strain injuries. Training must be given in basic first aid so that, should there be an accident, someone is available to render immediate assistance until the emergency services arrive. Hazardous materials must be kept in closed containers and labelled clearly to avoid accidental spillage, leakage or ingestion. A record should also be kept of the quantities and usage of these materials. Harnesses and other safety equipment, such as nets, should be used in roof and scaffolding work. The site should be securely cordoned off so that the general public cannot accidentally enter it and cause harm to themselves and others. Workers need to know exactly what to do in case a colleague falls or suffers an electric shock or should scaffolding or a trench collapse. There should be a highly trained team on site which will be responsible for directing workers in the case of a major catastrophe.