Every job presents some sort of risk, but occupational risk is especially high in the construction industry. Considering that construction jobs require employees to work with hazardous equipment, at heights and with various other hazards, the injury rate is high.
Even with safety measures in place, injuries are common. However, there are prevention protocols that companies can use to reduce the number of injuries and death.
Common types of hazards
According to FindLaw, almost 25% of nonfatal injuries are due to falls. Some of the hazards associated with this include ladders, cranes, roofs and scaffolding equipment. Common injuries include broken bones and bruises. Injuries due to falling objects, such as materials and tools, are also common.
Other common hazards at a construction site include:
- Trench collapse
- Equipment such as forklifts, nail guns, large trucks and dumpsters
- Lead exposure
- Explosions and fires due to chemicals, exposed wiring and leaking pipes
Construction workers are also at risk for overexertion and repetitive motion injuries. These include muscle strains, joint damage, frostbite, hearing loss and heat stress.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends certain safety solutions to help prevent injuries and death. To reduce falls, some solutions include aerial lifts, guardrail systems, body harnesses and floor hole coverings. There should also be adequate support for scaffolds.
To prevent trench injuries, there should be proper sloping, shielding and shoring. There should also be an exit strategy such as a ramp, ladder or stairway.
Workers need to ensure they are wearing the proper protective equipment, such as safety-toed boots, safety glasses, hard hats and gloves. There also needs to be regular inspections and a hazard communication program.