More workers die in the construction than any other industry, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The most common causes of construction worker deaths – called the Fatal Four – were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. Many of these deaths were preventable.
Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment by providing workers with proper safety equipment, supervising their work, and properly training them. Workers should also be cautious and proactive at construction sites, and follow safety tips like these:
- Be aware of your surroundings and consider risk scenarios. If a worker isn’t doing his job correctly or isn’t wearing proper protective gear, bring it to his attention. And if you are unsure how to correctly use equipment, ask your supervisor.
- Never operate or use equipment without wearing the proper clothing and safety gear, like a hard hat, goggles or glasses, and non-skid footwear. If you notice any defective equipment, inform your supervisor. And be sure you know where the first-aid kit is located in the event of an emergency.
- Falls are the leading cause of on the job fatalities for construction workers, so use scaffolds and ladders safely. Never erect a scaffold on uneven or slippery ground, and the scaffold should be kept clean and never overloaded. Use care while climbing or descending ladders and scaffolding. Never use these pieces of equipment in bad weather conditions because they can become slippery.
- Chemicals are often found at construction sites and can pose hazards if they react to something unknown or become explosive. Be quick to respond to any kind of spill, and never touch any of these chemicals with your bare hands. Instead, always wear protective gloves when handling chemicals. Some chemicals can even give off toxic vapors, so its best to avoid being around any chemical if you don’t know what it is. Also, be sure there is a fire extinguisher near by in the event of an emergency.
- Make sure your supervisor has trained you and you are comfortable working with equipment you’ve been assigned to use before you begin work. Your supervisor should also caution you about potential dangers with various equipment and chemicals, not working in bad weather conditions, and about not getting overheated while working in the sun or in high temperatures.