Hard Hat, Soft Head: Key Essentials for Construction Safety
Construction is the third most dangerous job in Australia.
With 35 fatalities in 2016 and 13,000 serious claims, Australian construction workers walk a dangerous line.
And while falls are the most common killer of construction workers, they aren’t the only cause for mayhem on a construction site. Electrocution, burns, suffocation from collapsed trenches and injuries from machine malfunction are common on sites.
And yet, the industry is important. It pushes the world forward, literally building economies from the ground up. So how can you ensure that you are building an amazing world while keeping your workers safe?
We’re going to take a look at the key essentials to construction safety and help you ensure that your site stays safe and effective.
Construction sites face loads of time-related challenges. It’s a deadline-based industry, and being on a time crunch is just the nature of the beast.
The problem with this, of course, is that rushing can lead to shoddy work and unsafe conditions.
So how do you balance the two? You have to meet deadlines, and you want to keep your workers safe. Can you do both?
Of course. The key is planning and communication (as well as hiring good workers). Anticipating possible slow-downs and prioritizing worker safety can ensure that you stay on target without sacrificing worker well-being.
It can also be vital to take a step back, as a site supervisor, and realize that, in a worst-case scenario, finishing slightly behind schedule is better than a sew of dead workmen.
Maintain Fall Protection
So often, workers have spent their whole careers on construction sites. They are comfortable on high scaffolding and other heights. Which can be great. Training a nervous new kid is no one’s idea of a good day. You want your workers to have confidence.
And yet, that confidence can also mean a death sentence, especially many meters in the air.
Over-confident workers may begin work before proper fall protection is in place. And even with all their experience, one misstep can spell disaster.
It can also be tempting as a site supervisor to allow “just a bit” of work before proper railings and fall protection is in place. Especially if those precautions have faced the delays so common in the construction industry. After all, with a good crew, what’s the harm?
The problem is, a fall takes just a single mistake. Even a workman who has never stumbled can, though no fault of their own, find themselves plummeting to their death simply because the proper precautions weren’t followed.
Enforce Hard Hat Policies
This is another outcome of workers being over-confident.
The excuse may be heat, inconvenience, or some other excuse, but there can be no exceptions in the case of hard hat policies. These are some of the most helpful pieces of protective equipment on a site.
Think of it this way: Falls are deadly, but they aren’t comparatively common. However, items fall all the time. A wrench from a piece of scaffolding, a tool from a workers belt.
And from any kind of height, even a small piece of equipment or tool can land you in the hospital with a nasty concussion.
So insist upon hard hat protection, every day, from anyone on the site.
Now, keep in mind that Safe Work Australia makes a very clear distinction regarding personal protection equipment (PPE). According to them, PPE is designed to a supplement, the last line of defence against injury.
They are designed to be the fail-safe in case everything else goes wrong. In other words, you should always wear your hard hat, but you should also make sure things aren’t falling on your construction site, to begin with.
Machine malfunction is one of the top causes of injury on a site. This can be from tools, improperly maintained scaffolding or electronic malfunction.
Regardless, equipment malfunction can lead to injury and death in very short order.
It can be expensive and inconvenient to maintain every piece of equipment on your site, but to restart old and poorly maintained equipment can be as dangerous as un-guarded scaffolding.
Keep a record of equipment repairs, and check over everything after every job, from scaffolding to drill bits. Leave nothing to chance when it comes to your equipment. After all, these are the literal tools of your trade. If they aren’t kept up, not only will your site become dysfunctional, but dangerous as well.
Keep Communication Open
This one is vital.
Communication on your site must be top quality at all times. As workers move throughout the site, as they pass one another on scaffolding, and as decisions are made that impact workman safety…all of it should be communicated.
No man on a site is an island, and everyone has to be maintaining a safe environment for the good of the crew.
As a site supervisor or employer, you must lead the charge here. Insisting that site safety procedures be followed to the letter, every day, and following them yourself sets the example for your workers.
Communicating clearly and constantly ensures that everyone is on the same page in terms of safety and goal.
A communicative work site is a safe work site.
Keeping Construction Safety Your Top Priority
Construction sites are dangerous places, but you can do so much to mitigate that danger.
Good communication, thorough safety policies, and common consideration for your workmen can ensure construction safety, free from any construction-related deaths.
For the highest quality and safety of construction equipment, take a look at our site and contact us today.