Though work-related injuries can happen anywhere, construction sites pose particular hazards that are rarely, if ever, found in other types of workplaces. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 937 of the total 4,836 work-related fatalities that took place in 2015 related to construction specifically.
Occupational safety professionals are aware of the dangers and are looking to develop and implement safer tools, chemicals and machinery. However, avoiding construction site accidents also requires constant vigilance. Knowing about the unique risks on a construction site may help in accident prevention efforts.
- Forklift accidents
Forklifts are prevalent on construction sites because they are effective pieces of machinery. However, they are also dangerous, especially when not properly maintained or with amateurs operating them.
Safety tips for working with forklifts include the following:
- Minimize movement with elevated loads
- Do not brake quickly or speed in slippery areas
- Do not modify a forklift without prior approval
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Trench collapse
Construction projects sometimes involve digging trenches. These can sometimes collapse without warning thanks to the instability of soil. Workers trapped in a trench that collapses can suffocate. To prevent trenching accidents, it is important to avoid making the angles too steep and to make sure the exits are not only clearly marked but stable. Workers in trenches should wear hard hats.
- Crane accidents
Whether working in the vicinity or operating the equipment itself, it is important for everyone to stay alert when around a crane. If a part of the crane comes in contact with a power line, electrocution can result. The load can strike workers, potentially causing injury.
- Falls from scaffolding
Use of scaffolding is common in construction, with 2.3 million construction workers per year using scaffolds in the United States. Scaffolding represents one of the major fall risks on a construction site. In addition to frequent inspection for stability and security, workers on scaffolding must wear hard hats at all times and maintain weight limits.