To keep employees safe onsite and maintain a safe workplace environment, strict safety protocols should be followed. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a construction project, use these seven (7) tips:
1. Never jump when getting in and out of equipment.
You might not believe this but getting on and off the machine or the equipment is one of the leading causes of injuries to equipment operators, forklift drivers and even truck drivers. It happens a lot more than we’d like to believe.
Avoid injuries by following these easy steps:
Check your boots and gloves. Clean the mud off or any slippery substance before climbing. It’s better to use “high grip” gloves for a secure hand hold.
Grip with your whole hand before hoisting yourself up. Avoid a toe-hold or finger-hold grip.
Use a step ladder. Make sure you can climb safely on the equipment when no hand or footholds are available.
Never jump when exiting the machine. Take your time and lower yourself in a controlled manner.
2. Ensure employees wear the correct protective gear.
Dress for the occasion! Wearing protective equipment allows you to minimize the risk for injury. Invest in the right gear and supplies– your (and your team members’) life depends on it.
Photo Courtesy: For contractors, it’s important to equip your workers with the safety practices that you want them to follow. This can include helmets, safety goggles, ear protection, knee pads and hi-vis jackets. Replace them immediately once they become worn or unfit for purpose.
Apart from the proper clothes, having communication devices, highly visible and simple safety signage, medical equipment, and knowledge in first aid procedures is also important for immediate response during onsite accidents.
3. Keep ramps straight and cleared.
Even on level ground, there’s always the risk of equipment rolling over during loading or unloading. This is why it is imperative to keep ramps dry, straight and cleared. Allow plenty of room to maneuver the trailer and machine. This is sometimes difficult on tightly compressed job sites.
Use another co-worker as a spotter for guidance when loading and unloading heavy or awkward items. Make sure the machine clears the ramps before turning it. Keep people away from the sides of the machine during loading/unloading.
Use correct tie-down procedures and always double-check to make sure you and your trailer decks have proper clearance before loading it.
4. Inspect tools and equipment regularly.
Photo by Kateryna Babaieva from Pexels
Beyond manual labor, construction workers rely on tools and equipment for efficient and effective means to get their jobs done. Not only are they at a higher risk for serious accidents, but they are also at risk of losing limbs if their tools are unsafe or broken. That is why it is important to ensure that any equipment is safe to use and is in good condition.
It is also both the responsibility of the worker and the employer to immediately highlight issues with defective equipment.
5. Limit crowded areas around machinery.
Photo by MO ZHOU from Pexels
Crowding in work areas is one of the biggest construction workplace frustrations. It significantly increases the risk of accidents and injuries. As a force of habit, people on the work site gather to watch the large machines work. People on the ground should remain far from the operating area. While it is important for the safety of the men on the ground to stay clear of machinery, crowded areas could also affect the speed of the work being done.
Foremen should enforce this rule. A horn can be used to warn people to stay back and the work is about to start. Before backing up the machine, never ever forget to check your back first.
Carefully scheduling each task can also help minimize overlapping schedules between crew and crews of the subcontractors.
Having good communication between employees and workers is a major factor for safety. If there comes a potential risk, workers should communicate with each other to prevent it.
Aside from the internal communication between workers, they should also be regularly encouraged to speak up to their contractors. This could be about how to make their job safer and could be an opportunity to report any accidents or near-misses. Remember that they should feel comfortable approaching you with any safety concern.
Providing feedback to workers also strengthens communication and also a way to approach improvements in a constructive manner.
4 Essential Construction Safety Tips for Contractors. (2021, May 5). Border States. https://solutions.borderstates.com/construction-safety-tips/
7 Ways to Prioritise Construction Health and Safety. (n.d.). Stay Safe App. Retrieved August 28, 2021, from https://staysafeapp.com/blog/2017/08/16/construction-7-safety-tips/
West, V. (2017b, December 5). 5 Safety Construction Tips for Your Workers’ Well-Being. Construct Connect. https://www.constructconnect.com/blog/5-safety-construction-tips-for-your-workers-well-being
Meola, J. (2009, January 20). Top Ten Construction Safety Tips. For Construction Pros. https://www.forconstructionpros.com/business/construction-safety/article/10302747/top-ten-construction-safety-tips