Guide to Workplace Safety for Construction Workers

Workplace safety must be a top priority for anyone who walks onto a jobsite, especially those who spend their time in proximity to hazardous substances

According to OSHA – the leading government authority in workplace safety, construction workers face significant risks each and every time they visit a jobsite. Whether they’re involved in demolition work, trim carpentry, new home framing, or large-scale commercial jobs, there are a variety of risks that construction workers must be aware of in order to minimize the risk of injury or even death. Read on for a general workplace safety guide for construction workers – based on five dangerous situations a worker may face:

  1. Be “fall conscious” – As the leading cause of injury and death among construction workers – and the single biggest source of OSHA penalties in the industry, lack of adequate fall protection is simply unacceptable. Whether using a fall protection device with an integral decelerative cable or simply safer scaffolding materials, it is crucial that falls be avoided at all costs. OSHA levied more than $20 million in fines in the year 2014 alone for fall-prevention equipment deficiencies. The basic OSHA 10 or 30 hour class will discuss this topic in-depth.
  2. Recognize the dangers of asbestos – Construction workers face asbestos all too often. Whether they’re demolishing an old building, rehabbing a boiler or furnace in a commercial establishment, or simply working in an attic of an older home, asbestos fibers can cause severe and irreparable damage to a worker’s pulmonary and respiratory system. Taking a training course from an accredited workplace safety organization will go a long way to enhancing job site safety and minimizing asbestos exposure.
  3. Be safe in the “trenches” – Working in and around trenches is a fact of life for construction workers – especially those who work on large municipal projects or on commercial builds. There are a host of safety regulations that must be followed to keep workers safe when operating within a subterranean trench. Escape ladders, specific rules regarding materials kept near the edge of the trench, reinforcing plates, and more are important to consider when striving for total safety in the trenches.
  4. Use machinery with caution – Significant and lasting injuries – even deaths, can be attributed to improper use of heavy equipment and machinery. Serious injuries occur simply by slipping while climbing into or out of a machine’s cab or operating platform, while other injuries have occurred when machine operators are struck by falling debris or interfere with overhead power lines. Making sure that machine operators are 100% comfortable with their equipment and understand how to safely work within an area that might contain construction workers on foot is vital to ensuring a safe and compliant jobsite.
  5. Get trained! – One of the biggest safety concerns today is simply a lack of training. Construction workers should take, at a minimum, the OSHA 10 hour class before ever swinging a hammer. Those who want additional instruction can opt for the 30 hour class. This longer series of instruction modules is also well-suited for construction managers, foreman, and other supervisors. The Asbestos Institute has a track record of delivering top-quality training at affordable prices.

Workplace safety should be the first priority for those who frequent the jobsite. By completing the requisite training and by using common sense, there is no reason why construction site injuries can’t be significantly reduced.

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