Construction work is a very desirable way for millions of men and women to make a good living as well as enjoy the personal satisfaction of seeing a project completed correctly. But while construction work can be very rewarding, it can also be a very dangerous profession. The construction industry estimates a total spending of over $8 billion dollars annually due to work-related accidents. Fortunately, many construction-related injuries can be avoided entirely by following a few relatively simple rules and guidelines.
Some construction jobs are more dangerous than others. For example, iron workers constructing a tall building will be exposed to more dangers than a finish carpenter. That doesn’t mean the finish carpenter should not be as vigilant and aware of potential dangers as the man or woman working 20 stories above the ground. The basic rules for construction safety are the same for everyone.
Know Where the First Aid Kit Is
While this may sound obvious, you don’t want to be in a situation where you or a coworker are injured and nobody can find the first aid kit. The construction foreman should point out where the first aid kit is located during every safety meeting, and the kit itself should be visible and easily accessible. Remember that time is of the essence when treating an injury. You will also want to make sure the first aid kit on your job site contains the proper items—any good first aid kit should contain bandages and tape, splints, sanitizing products and a good first aid guide. For extra protection, you might add items such as sunscreen and lip balm.
Ensure All Tools Are Operating Correctly
Equipment failure is one of the leading causes of injury in the construction industry. It’s very important to your safety to make sure the power tool you are using is in good working condition and is set up properly. Regular maintenance of your power tools is critical to their performance and your safety—taking a few extra minutes a day to clean, dry and lubricate your power tools will help prevent premature wear and other damage. Always transport your power tools carefully and, if available, use the cases they were purchased in. It has been said, “take care of your tools and your tools will take care of you”.
Wear Proper Safety Gear
One of the easiest ways to avoid injury in the workplace is to wear proper safety gear. High visibility clothing is essential to your safety, as it’s very important that your coworkers can see you. Because of the noise produced by power tools, vehicles on the move, and the general atmosphere of a construction site, high visibility clothing will help prevent unnecessary accidents. Personal safety items such as eye and ear protection should also be used whenever necessary. Remember to protect your ears, as the noise of a construction site can cause hearing damage that could impair your hearing later in life.
For your safety and the safety of your coworkers, you should always know what is going on around you. Being vigilant can be as important to your safety as any of the tips already mentioned, as careless actions are a leading cause of workplace injury. Try to eleminate all distractions and always stay focused on the immediate job at hand; your problems outside of work can wait until the job is done!
The safety of yourself and your fellow workers should always be the first consideration on any construction project. And while the steps above may seem simple, sometimes all it takes is a small reminder to prevent what could be a serious accident.