Almost every industry involves specific occupational safety hazards. However, construction is considered one of the most dangerous industries in Australia. Safe Work Australia revealed that 13% of workplace compensation lawsuits were filed by construction workers. Also, statistics show that 2018 was the year with the most workplace fatalities in this industry. For instance, a construction company in Brisbane was fined $400,000 over the deaths of two people. This accident was caused by negligence to follow OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) regulations. So, here we’ll explain how construction firms can prevent workplace accidents and reduce the number of on-site injuries/fatalities effectively.
Preventing on-site accidents in the construction industry
Recently, AMHF announced that an Australian person “dies at work” every two days. Over 90% of these fatalities are men. What are the most common causes of construction industry accidents? Experts have accused the “big four” of causing deaths and injuries among construction workers. These four reasons also influence on-site accidents even in other countries such as the United States. The “big four” include falling from heights, getting electrocuted, being hit by something, and getting trapped between two objects. Preventing on-site fatalities/injuries means making it a safer workplace for your employees. We’ve now compiled a few tips to help employers achieve this goal. So, this is how you reduce accidents on-site:
1. Look for asbestos
In 2018, a carpenter sued James Hardie for $6 million in Brisbane. The victim was exposed back in the ‘70s or ‘80s to company products and developed mesothelioma. There are many cases in which construction workers sued their companies for causing them cancer. Employers must avail the services asbestos removal Brisbane provides to prevent future exposure and lawsuits. Ensure that construction workers don’t inhale mold, dust, or asbestos while working on-site for your firm.
2. Hold regular meetings
Employers must hold safety meetings regularly. This opportunity will inform workers about the risks and dangers associated with this industry. They should learn that, as the project expands, these risks also change. Make safety your prime concern and provide employees with the instruction required to conduct projects safely. These safety meetings will also enhance everyone’s knowledge regarding OHSA guidelines. Employers can also inform workers about threats from asbestos and other toxins.
3. Use safety gear
Employers can prevent unpredictable incidents by providing proper uniforms to workers. Ensure that employees wear this apparel constantly on-site. Don’t compromise on giving high-quality PPE (personal protective equipment) to construction workers. This uniform includes:
- Work Gloves
- Eye Protection
- Hearing Protection
- Slip-resistant Boots
- High-visibility clothe
4. Wear visible clothes
Make your workers wear reflective and highly visible apparel and accessories. It’ll prevent vehicle-related injuries. In addition, employees must use reflective uniforms to enhance their visibility and keep out of harm’s way during the night shift. It’s been observed that fabrics with poor visibility often lead to more accidents on-site in this industry.
5. Offer safety training
Employers must provide mandatory safety training to all employees to ensure that their workers are ready to encounter any workplace accident. This training will increase their familiarity with occupational hazards predominant in the construction industry. Moreover, construction workers should all have a written safety protocol that includes safety policies/procedures. It’ll also contain information about operating heavy machinery and how to contact a trained first-aid respondent.
6. Maintain equipment
It’s imperative to conduct equipment checkups. You shouldn’t neglect equipment maintenance on-site since heavy machinery is responsible for over 75% of hit-by-an-object injuries such as getting struck by trucks/cranes. These colossal machines require frequent checkups to prevent any future accidents from a faulty engine or burnt wire. Any injury-causing malfunction should be dealt with before it leads to a horrible accident. So, don’t forget to check this heavy machinery regularly.
7. Prevent falls
Data collected by Americans shows that around 42% of construction fatalities are fall-related. Thus, construction companies need to reduce the risk of falling, thereby preventing accidents. It’s easy to implement fall-protection tactics that ensure that workers are uninjured even if they slip down from heights. For instance, wearing harnesses can pretty much fall-related deaths in this industry. You can thus make your workplace a safer site with fewer accidents and lawsuits by eliminating fall risks.
8. Take frequent breaks
Fatigue and exhaustion may also lead to construction workers becoming unproductive and more prone to mental/physical anguish. So, allow them to take frequent breaks for refreshments. They can use these well-earned breaks for drinking some water, eating their lunch, or taking rest for a while.
9. Keep the site clean
A well-managed and properly arranged worksite will prevent accidents and ensure the safety of your employees. It’s usual for a construction workplace to have debris scattered throughout the site. But you must keep the clutter to a minimum, especially on walkways. Also, ascertain that employees clean up behind them after moving from place to place. Many construction companies keep working during nighttime. But, due to reduced visibility, it’s better to minimize it after dusk to avoid mishaps.
10. Follow OHSA laws
Following OHSA guidelines protects your workers’ safety and ensures that you don’t face any penalty from local authorities. The government of Queensland has issued Work Health and Safety Regulations (2011) that are supported by a code of practices. Employers must understand occupational health and safety standards to avoid injuries. Failure to successfully implement these regulations leads to construction companies facing heavy penalties and lawsuits from workers too.
11. Eat healthy stuff
Ensure that your workers are consuming healthy & nutritious food only. It will prevent them from falling victim to dehydration, thereby avoiding exhaustion. Also, motivate employees to eat grease-free stuff such as salads, fruits, and veggies. This sort of meal reduces drowsiness after lunch and keeps workers constantly alert. And energetic workers don’t suffer many accidents on-site.
12. Put some signs
Put up warning signs in high-voltage and other risky areas. Remember to deactivate electricity when it isn’t being used. Prevent people from entering dangerous places by ropes and pylons. Signs with the word “danger” written on them ensure that bystanders don’t accidentally wander off into the worksite.
How dangerous is the construction industry? The data collected between 2014 and 2018 shows that the construction industry remained the third-most hazardous workplace after agriculture and transport. But Safe Work Australia updated these statistics in June, revealing that construction has become the second-most dangerous industry in the country. These accidents are mainly caused by trips/falls, falling objects, exhaustion, and vehicle crashes. Thus, employers must follow OHSA laws, conduct mandatory meetings regularly, and allow workers frequent breaks to prevent fatigue. Also, beware of asbestos or mold camping on-site. It can lead to severe health problems that are detected sometimes after many years.