Did you know that being struck by an object is one of the leading causes of construction-related fatalities? That is why this hazard falls under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s list of Fatal Four construction hazards. How do affected events occur and what types of accidents and injuries can result? OSHA shares, “Workers are most often struck by heavy equipment and vehicles such as trucks and cranes, falling or flying objects such as tools and flying particles, or concrete or masonry walls under construction.”
While these affected risks exist, there are ways to prevent injuries and keep your team protected in the workplace. We̵7;ve compiled a list of five safety tips for your crew.
- Provide and apply personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE is designed to protect workers from all possible hazards in the workplace. Workers and site visitors should wear helmets that fit properly. If they are in areas with poor visibility or it is dark outside, bright vests or reflective gear should also be worn. Even when working in areas that do not require personal protective equipment, it is always better to wear it to ensure that you are easily identifiable and properly protected from objects that may fall or swing unexpectedly.
- Use barricades and signs to mark work zones. One of the best ways to reduce the risk is to properly barricade areas that are at risk of falling objects. It will also help other team members, site visitors and pedestrians know not to enter marked areas that may be dangerous. Post signs and barricades around elevated work zones to warn people below to watch for falling objects. Make sure the barricades are sturdy enough to withstand strong winds or other types of impacts that could knock them over or blow them away.
- Secure all tools and equipment. Equipment that is not secured can easily be knocked off elevated surfaces and injure workers or pedestrians below. Workers should make a routine of securing all equipment and tools when in use and at the end of the day. Also, regularly inspect tools and equipment to keep them in safe condition. If you notice damage to the equipment or a device’s protective components, seek repairs or replacements.
- Establish a clear communication system. Construction sites are busy and noisy, making communication challenging. To avoid accidental damage, establish effective communication systems. Hand signals, warning lights, two-way radios, overhead speakers, shorthand terminology, danger words: all of them can be helpful in informing your crew of dangerous situations.
- Train everyone. Training each new employee and holding refresher courses are important parts of keeping the workplace safe. Offer regular safety training, risk assessments and PPE talks. If a worker has not received sufficient training or does not have the credentials for a particular task or area, set a protocol to keep them out. Encourage workers to talk about and be aware of other team members’ tasks and areas of potential risk.
Construction sites are full of hazards, but there are things you and your team can do to improve safety. The first is to follow the tips above to reduce the risk of being hit by an object. Next is learning how to avoid OSHA’s other Fatal Four hazards, such as electric shock and falls. Finally, some insurance companies have security services experts who come to your workplace to identify risks and offer solutions.
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