We depend on construction workers to build our roads, bridges, schools, and homes, yet this is the deadliest line of work in the country right now. The Occupational Health And Safety Administration (OSHA) reports that there were approximately 4,836 workplace deaths in 2015, and about one in five of those deaths occurred on a construction site. Even worse, fatal injuries are actually becoming more common in the construction industry.
Despite the leaps and bounds made recently to improve workplace safety, accidents still happen. And while new technology and safety equipment helps protect construction workers from harm, there are also new hazards on the modern job site.
Cell phones, lack of sleep, and incomplete training are just some of the dangers that put construction workers at risk today. Fortunately, there are also proven ways to reduce the risk of workplace accidents, injuries, and deaths. However, first it’s important to understand the most common construction site mistakes that lead to injury and death.
Keep reading to learn more about the most deadly hazards faced by construction workers, and simple steps for protecting the workers that so many of us depend on:
While understanding common causes of construction workplace injuries is important, so too is implementing strategies to prevent fatal accidents in the future.
Here are some more simple ways to improve the safety of any construction job site.
- Make PPE (personal protective equipment) mandatory
It may sound surprising, but about half of all workplace deaths from falls occur from altitudes of just 25 feet or lower. That’s because workers don’t exhibit full caution unless they’re working at higher altitudes. Similarly, 84% of workers with head injuries weren’t wearing one of the most essential pieces of safety equipment: a hard hat. Do your company and your workers a favor by making protection mandatory!
- Limit distractions
Although OSHA does not yet provide specific guidelines regarding cellphone use in construction sites, it’s a known fact that cellphones can be a major distraction when driving any vehicle. Studies have even shown that listening to one sentence through a cellphone can decrease driving-related brain activity by 37%, so it’s a good idea to restrict their use when operating machinery.
- Optimize Training
A recent study shows that more than two-thirds of construction worker deaths in New York were attributed to employers without state-approved training programs. If you want to optimize the training your workers receive, make sure the curriculum aligns with guidelines set by the state.
Ultimately, these are just a few ways to keep construction workers safer throughout day-to-day operations. If you want to reduce fatal construction accidents, then encourage employee feedback, communication, and always be there to provide support for your employees.