Working on a construction site requires employees and managers to be safety-conscious at all times. According to statistics from Safe Work Australia, there were 26 fatalities in the construction industry during 2015.
This is a guide to the most common construction site safety risks and how they can be avoided
Faulty Safety Harnesses and Supports
Working without proper safety harnesses or not using the correct supports can put workers at the risk of falling from heights and being seriously injured or killed. It is important that all harnesses and supports are maintained properly. Damaged harnesses must be replaced immediately if they are worn or damaged. Regular maintenance of building site safety products
is vital for keeping the workforce safe. Doing this also reduces the likelihood of employers facing negligence lawsuits.
Exposure To Hazardous Chemicals
Construction workers are vulnerable to exposure from hazardous chemicals such as asbestos or mercury. As a result, workers can develop life-threatening problems including respiratory failure and cancer. Breathing in harmful chemicals or allowing them to come into contact with the skin should be avoided. Workers should be provided with the correct masks, gloves and safety suits if working near hazardous chemicals. These items of clothing need to be decontaminated properly after use.
Operating Heavy Machinery
Machines such as cranes, trucks and diggers should only be operated by qualified drivers who have received the correct level of training. This reduces the risk of accidents and serious injuries. Trainee operators should not be left unsupervised whilst using heavy machinery. Operators should take regular breaks from using heavy machinery to help prevent tiredness. Operators should not get behind the controls if they have been drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
All heavy machinery and vehicles should be regularly maintained, and faults of any size should be reported immediately to management. Heavy machinery should not be in use whilst it has a defect. Once repaired, the machinery needs to be tested thoroughly before being used again.
Exposure To Noise
Industrial deafness and tinnitus are risks for people working on construction sites. The noise from vehicles and machinery over a period of time can cause severe hearing loss. This can have a huge impact on a person's quality of life, and can potentially force them out of work. Hearing damage can also make workers more at risk from hazards on-site because hearing loss can make them less aware of their surroundings. Hearing protection needs to be provided to workers in loud environments.
Decibel meters can be used to determine how loud a construction site is. The national standard for exposure to noise at work in Australia is 85 decibels. For peak noise, the standard is 140 decibels. Steps should be taken to reduce noise if a site is found to be operating at over 85 decibels.
Employee safety is paramount in the construction industry. Use this guide to implement strict safety measures on-site.
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