Top 3 Most Common Construction Accidents (and How they can be Avoided)
We depend on construction workers to build our homes and businesses, along with paving and repairing our roads. While construction is an important job, it’s also a dangerous one. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reports that in 2016, 21.1 percent of worker fatalities in the private sector occurred within the construction industry. To ensure the safety of everyone on your job site, make sure you know the three most common construction accidents and how you can avoid them.
According to OSHA, falls are the most common and most deadly type of construction accident. In 2016, 38.7 percent of total construction deaths occurred because of a fall. When you consider how much construction happens at extreme heights, it’s easy to see why falls are such a serious problem. Whether it’s an unsecured ladder, improper scaffolding, or holes in the floor, construction sites have a variety of obstacles that can lead to dangerous falls.
While falls are a concern, you have several ways to make your job site safer. First, be sure the job site is secure. This means inspecting the area for holes in the floor, verifying that scaffolding is solidly built, making sure ladders are sturdy and attached, and being certain you have sufficient guardrails wherever necessary.
Next, be sure anyone who’s working at heights of 6 feet or higher has a harness that ties off to an anchor. Unfortunately, workers sometimes fail to use these safety devices because they find them cumbersome. Provide the right training, so workers know how to correctly use the safety device and why it’s important.
Another precaution you can take to ensure the safety of everyone at the job site is to install a safety net system. Not only can a safety net help catch a person who might accidentally fall, it’s also good for containing any debris that could come down and injure someone standing on the ground.
Struck by an Object
Being struck by an object is the second-most common type of fatal construction accident. OSHA reports that in 2016, 9.4 percent of construction accidents involved people getting struck by objects. Since construction sites usually have people working on several different levels with heavy equipment at the same time, it’s easy for an object to fall from one level and hit someone on another level. Additionally, moving beams are a common obstacle construction workers have to avoid.
Fortunately, the same type of preventions that can help protect workers from accidental falls can also help guard against falling objects. Barricades and fences can cut down on the number of objects that can fall onto workers below. Also, as previously mentioned, safety nets can catch falling debris before it has a chance to hit people on lower levels or on the ground.
While workers might think to harness themselves in to prevent a fall, they often forget to securely tie off the tools they’re using. Yet even the smallest tool can gain enough speed to severely injure or kill someone when dropped from a high spot. This is why it’s important to make sure workers also tie off all their tools.
Accounting for 8.3 percent of fatalities on construction sites in 2016, electrocution comes in third for the most common type of accident. Since construction sites are a work in progress, they routinely have exposed wires and unfinished electrical systems near the workers. Additionally, workers might not be aware of how close they are to power lines or other electrically charged objects, especially when they’re operating large pieces of construction equipment. Coming into contact with any of these components could lead to a shock or electrocution.
While electricians on the job site are trained in electrical safety, other workers often have a lack of basic electrical safety knowledge. Therefore, it’s important to make sure every worker on the job site has the appropriate training in electricity. You should also make sure you ground all power supply systems and that all GFCIs are working properly. Keeping up with regular safety inspections is another easy way to make sure your job site is safe.
If you’re using rental equipment that requires electricity, make sure everyone follows the manufacturer’s guidelines. And if you’re operating equipment that requires electricity, be sure you’re using the right extension cords for the job. You’ll also want to regularly walk around the job site and check these extension cords for wear and tear. If you notice any sign of fraying or deterioration, replace them immediately.
Renting safe construction equipment is another important step in avoiding construction accidents. When you’re in need of construction equipment, contact BigRentz for rental information. We have the pieces that can suit your needs.