Safety in the Construction Business

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries to be physically involved with, along with transportation and warehousing, and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting.

Safety in the Construction Business

This is according to the latest BSL chartbook that has highlighted the construction business as having the fourth highest fatal work injury rate in the U.S. With extremely worrying statistics like this, it it vital that anyone  involved takes extra care when going about their day to day duties, and anyone starting or thinking about a career in this industry know about the risks.

The most common causes of injury on a construction site are slips, trips and falls.  Other common incidents include falls from height, collisions with falling objects and careless use of plant equipment.  The most obvious ways to stay safe should be covered in compulsory site inductions.  It is crucial to pay close attention to the induction as it should contain information specific to that site – all sites are different and will hold dangers and equipment you haven’t encountered before.  Before you start work, expect to read and sign up to a method statement.  This is a document which explains clearly what is expected of you on site, any safety clothing or equipment you should be using, as well as risk assessments of all work activities.  The method statement should be relevant to the site that you are on and be clear and easy to understand.  If you will be using any chemicals or potentially harmful substances, then a COSHH risk assessment should also be included.

The Most Important Factor in Safety

When you start work on site, the most important factor affecting safety is attitude.  It is a mistake to think that the site management are solely responsible for your individual safety.  There is obviously a duty of care from the site management to the staff and operatives on site; however the decision to undertake any unsafe careless act more often than not lies with the individual.  Whether it be stretching that extra few inches sideways on a stepladder, or not picking up your electrical cable when you go for a break.  These careless and innocuous acts don’t seem significant, but that ‘one time’ could be ‘the’ time that someone falls and seriously injures themselves.

A Culture of Safety

A culture of safety can be created on a site that is clean and tidy and where the message from the site management is clearly safety orientated.  It is easy for safety to become the third priority below time and cost, however if this is the attitude of the management, that bad attitude will filter through to the rest of the site.  A safe site will be a site where individuals feel confident and able to make safe decisions and where the management reinforce those decisions and reward safe behaviour.

For many people, bad habits and unsafe working methods can creep in over time.  Often phrases like “I have always done it like this” are heard.  It can be very difficult to stand up to 20 or 30 years of experience, but it is even more difficult to explain why you had an accident working in a way that wasn’t safe.  Excuses such as “it’s a little bit quicker to do it that way” don’t seem very valid if you are facing loss of earnings due to an injury.  It is easy to forget about safety on site when you are trying to get a job done but the potential consequences of unsafe working make it something that simply cannot be forgotten about.

It is extremely important when buying plant machinery, especially used plant machinery that it has been thoroughly checked over and you are confident it is in sufficient working order. Injuries and accidents can often be down to machinery that hasn’t had the required maintenance and repairs.  If in doubt at all, get a professional to take a look and give you peace of mind. Stay aware and stay safe.

About Joan Up

Joan Up is a professional business writer specialising in personal and business debt issues and business safety and security.