The goal of every workplace is to become a place free of danger for their employees, accidents in construction are harmful on all levels, obviously the human factor is the most important to care about. Safety at work is an important issue on the global agenda. Every year, World Day for Safety and Health at Work is celebrated in tribute to the victims of occupational accidents and diseases. The construction business is one of the most accident-prone out there and, therefore, they require some of the most prevention measurements.
Various studies on accidents in the construction sector indicate that 80% of accidents are caused by errors in organization, planning and control, and that the remaining 20% are due to errors in execution. There is no doubt that the construction sector is characterized by high rates of accidents at work.
If a worker is involved in an accident, it is essential to report it immediately to any direct supervisor regardless of the severity. Depending on the established contract by the company and the worker as well as how the situation happened, the worker should still apply for workers compensation, which will cover any medical expenses or monetary losses. If you have any questions regarding your rights and benefits contact the person in charge – usually a H.R. clerk who will give you all the details of what is covered by the insurance your company has. If you feel like your rights are being overlooked you can always file a claim for work injury on your own and get the proper legal help.
When working to improve safety on a construction site, the key is to detect the risk factor and distinguish measures to be taken into account for each one of them. It’s the company’s responsibility to inform workers about the existing risks at work and the control measures that should be followed, as well as to provide the necessary training for the performance of each task in order to avoid work related injuries. Below we tell you what these common risk factors are and mention different ways to prevent all types of accidents in construction.
Falls: Proper precautions are taken to avoid any possible fall, such as railings from 0.5 to 1 m high workers must wear a harness to protect themselves.
Electrical hazards: electrical short circuits and shocks are a common risk not only in large buildings but also a major cause of home accidents. For that we have differential circuit breakers, ground wire, thermal keys, double insulation cables. The laying of cables and boards must be adequate to the conditions.
Overexertion: Workers must be trained in how to lift and handle loads safely in order to prevent injuries from overexertion. In addition, the company must have the necessary mechanical equipment to facilitate the handling of loads.
Fires: Fires are also very common accidents so in case of one happening, enough fire extinguishers must be available to suit the types of the construction sites they are on, as well as have easy access. In this sense, it must be understood that a prior and detailed analysis of the conditions in which the work is carried out is key to prevention.
Objects falling: There has to be maximum load indications in machinery and braking and control systems must be placed correctly. It is also important to have periodic maintenance control, and clearing the areas where loads are moved through.
Cuts: Cuts and accidents with tools are very frequent. Therefore, the worker must always use the safety elements and the tools must be in correct conditions of use.
Poisoning: When using chemicals, it is necessary for workers to know their characteristics and risks beforehand. In addition, they must be stored safely, they must never be mixed and they must always be correctly identified in their original packaging.
Operator protection: The range of elements that protect workers in constructions are also key from preventing accidents. These include eye and face protection (goggles), foot protection (slip and heat-resistant soles), hand protection (specific gloves for each area), helmet and ear plugs or earmuffs that protect the ears in situations of excessive noise.
Some more tips to prevent general potential accidents are:
• Signpost that indicate the traffic routes of the vehicles. Mark on the ground the areas where the vehicles will pass and differentiate pedestrian paths, maintaining, if possible, a physical separation between the two of them. It is also important to indicate the prohibition of entrance for people that don’t work in the site, showing corresponding signs.
• Provide the workplace with hygienic and rest facilities that cover the needs of all the people who work in it. Establish the proper emergency procedures by installing the necessary means against emergencies such as evacuation routes or first aid kits.
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