As risk identification professionals like Lisa Dudzik can tell you, construction sites can be dangerous places – heights, holes, heavy equipment and other regular features of these sites can pose any number of hazards. Whether you are managing a large construction project or overseeing a home renovation, you need to be aware of the most common construction risks so that you take the necessary precautions to mitigate those risks.
Whether a project is being build up or down, there will almost always be a need for people to do their jobs at height – whether on scaffolding, cranes, platforms, or in harnesses. Care must be taken to ensure that work crews are properly trained and that safety equipment is well maintained and adequate for the job at hand. Workers doing their job at a height face risks related to falls, but it is important to remember that workers on the ground also face risks from objects that may be dropped or dislodged by workers overhead. Again, proper training and awareness is vital, as are safety features to minimize the risk of falling objects – for example, nets or other barriers.
Objects in Motion
A busy construction site will have objects moving through space in all directions – supplies may be hoisted up to workers overhead, cranes may be swinging heavy loads from one side of the site to the other, and people and vehicles will be moving every which way. To a degree risk the risk of accidents can be reduced by ensuring that transportation lines within the site are clearly delineated and as far as possible that barriers are erected to protect workers. However this is not always possible and so operators of heavy equipment as well as people moving around the site need to be vigilant.
Slips and Falls
With so much attention needed above and around anyone moving through a construction site, workers need equally to pay attention to the ground beneath their feet. Sharp objects, holes, uneven surfaces, liquids, cables and other hazards are pretty much everywhere on a busy construction site. Proper footwear is vital to ensure that crush or puncture injuries are minimized, and regular site inspections to identify and ideally remove hazards should be undertaken. However, awareness on the part of the construction crew is vital.
Demolition projects are notorious for releasing dangerous materials into the air. Asbestos has not been used in new construction for many years, but it can still be found in older buildings and becomes a hazard when it is released into the air. Other airborne hazards include dust and other particles, and potentially toxic fumes from resins, glues, plastics and other materials. Workers must be supplied with the necessary equipment to ensure that they are not exposed to these hazards, and supervisors must ensure that the equipment is being properly used.
These are just some of the many hazards and accidents waiting to happen that can be found on any construction site. Everyone involved must be vigilant and must work to identify these and other risks to safety and well-being of construction crews.