As we reported in a previous blog entry, there are about 3 fatal construction accidents a day in America, based on data from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). To bring that number down to zero, construction workers and employers alike need to think more about preventing accidents around the average jobsite. We share here some basic safety concepts and steps that need to be kept in mind but that are also often overlooked on a busy worksite.
5 must-know construction site safety tips are:
- Safety gear: Every construction site should require all relevant safety gear before anyone is allowed to walk onto the premises. Hardhats, visibility vests, gloves, closed-toe boots, and so on are commonly required for construction work. Someone should be posted at all entrances to ensure everyone on the site has their gear. Employers should also keep a collection of basic safety gear to provide to workers who show up to the jobsite without the required items.
- Maintenance: Not only does safety equipment need to be present, but it also must be maintained regularly. This applies to any sort of equipment on a construction site, too. Everything from scaffolding and harnesses to earthmovers and electrical panels needs to be maintained often to ensure they are in full working order. Some of the worst accidents can be entirely avoided with preventative maintenance.
- Signage: Another easy yet often forgotten safety precaution at construction sites is setting up various warning signs about the onsite hazards. Signs should be placed around areas that have hazards relating to falls, electrical components, toxic chemicals, moving machinery, vehicles in motion, and so forth. Employers should walk their jobsite daily to ensure all necessary warning signage is still in place. Workers who see that a sign has been removed early or was never placed should report it to a supervisor immediately.
- Rest: Construction workers should be required to take all mandatory rest breaks in their workday. It is also safety smart to encourage workers to take additional breaks if it means preventing dehydration or exhaustion. Workplace accidents are much more likely to occur when a construction worker is unrested because a tired employee is one who loses focus and hand-eye coordination. For employers who are worried about costs, it is important to realize that a worker taking an extra 10-minute break costs far less in production expenses than it does to pay insurance premium hikes after a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim is filed.
- Safety task forces: OSHA inspectors are notoriously overworked, so your construction jobsite might not be seen by one for months and months at a time. To keep safety standards high in the meantime, construction companies should create safety task forces that are in charge of regular inspections and meetings to come up with proper safety protocols and training programs. Ask your supervisor if there is a safety task force that you can join. Or, as an employer, start creating one with reliable employees or consider hiring more workers to coordinate your safety and training efforts.
If you’re ever in a construction accident while working on a site in Chicago, then McHargue & Jones, LLC can assist you in your pursuit of compensation. You might be eligible to receive benefits through workers’ compensation. Independent contractors might have to sue their employer for negligence, though, which we can also help you with. Call (312) 487-2461 to get a FREE consultation.