Blog / 5 Construction Site Safety Risks & How To Prevent Them

July 24, 2019

From large scale industrial construction sites to simple residential paint jobs, job site safety should be the number one priority for all construction companies. Regardless of the job size or type, it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. There are various ways to ensure the right construction site safety precautions are in place including job site procedures, safety plan and education, and proper personal protective equipment.

What is the purpose of construction site safety?

The reason why safety programs are important is simple. To protect workers, employers, and those around them. Keeping both the employees and employers safe and out of harm’s way is necessary to avoid injuries and fatalities.

In addition, construction safety is necessary to keep jobs on track. By reducing the amount of on site occupational injuries and unsafe conditions, projects finish on time and reduce company costs. By making safety a priority, employees can focus on the job at hand- improving overall morale and productivity.

5 common safety risks in the construction industry and how to prevent them

There are a wide range of health and safety issues within the construction industry. OSHA states that injury and fatality rates within the construction industry are higher than any other area of work. At Trimaco, we understand the risk. We strive to educate our customers on the importance of safety equipment and what precautions to take to prevent accidents.

We’ve compiled a list of the most common risks and safety hazards a construction worker faces while on the job and how to prevent them.

1. Slipping and falling

Slipping and falling is one of the easiest and most common accidents that can happen in a work area. It’s important to prep your job site to avoid damage to surfaces from tools and equipment, but more importantly provide stability and traction to give employees peace of mind when moving about the work space.

Suitable surface protectors can range from non-slip drop cloths, to waterproof and slip resistant floor protectors. If protective footwear is required, non-slip shoe covers are a must to prevent falling. Non-slip surface protectors can also help with ladder safety and fall protection.

2. Asbestos

Asbestos is a harmful fibrous mineral that was used in building materials such as siding, paint and flooring in the mid 1900s. The use of asbestos in building materials was finally banned in 1977 because of its harmful and deadly impact.

Because many homes and buildings used materials that included asbestos, it is critical to take safety precautions when these particles can become airborne during construction work. The durable fibers are impossible for the immune system to breakdown and can cause cancer, lung disease and asbestosis.

To prevent exposure to asbestos risks:

  • Understand where asbestos is present on the construction job
  • Have reliable personal protective equipment and respirators
  • Provide safety training and safety practices in place to avoid inhaling Asbestos particles

3. Respiratory risks

Asbestos is only one of the many respiratory risks found on a construction project. Airborne particles from concrete, coal mine dust, harmful gases, fumes, sawdust and even smoke can cause serious lung complications, diseases and cancer.

To prevent this, inform workers of potential respiratory risks and provide appropriate protective equipment for their job type. If there is any presence of dust, smoke or gases, respirators or dust masks should be required. Next, prepare your area to protect others. Always enclose you work space with a dust containment system to keep particles contained. In addition, explore dust collection and ventilation systems to prevent the spread of dust.

When drilling and sawing materials that create dust, be sure to use a wet saw or drill to reduce the amount of particles in the air.

4. Face and skin hazards (flying particles, chemicals and gases)

Dust from materials, gases, fumes and smoke are not only harmful to your lungs, but can also cause serious injury to a worker’s eyes and skin, necessitating proper construction dust control. Anyone who enters a job site should be properly informed of the potential risks, and equipped with personal protective equipment to avoid harmful safety hazards.

Eye wear, such as safety goggles or glasses protect against particles that could harm your eyes. Spray socks and hoods protect the skin from overspray. When it comes to choosing a coverall type, know the potential risks and safety concerns of the environment. There are a wide range of protective wear options. To protect your skin from paint overspray and dirt a lightweight Polypropylene Coverall will suffice. However, if visibility or chemical splashes are a risk be sure to protect yourself with a Hi Vis or heavy duty PE Coated Coverall.

5. Heat exhaustion

Last but certainly not least is the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stress. Indoor and outdoor heat can cause severe dehydration, overheating and heat strokes. To prevent heat illnesses, job sites should have large supplies of cool water, and workers should drink at least one pint of water per hour.

When possible, complete the tasks in the shade and take frequent rest breaks. Lightweight clothing that doesn’t skimp on protection is a great way to prevent exhaustion. Coveralls with breathable backs, or lightweight coverall jackets are both great options when personal protective wear is necessary.

It’s important to not only avoid heat exhaustion but understand the signs for when it becomes a severe risk. These signs include:

  • Sweaty hands and cramps
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness or headaches
  • Nausea and weakness

If you or a teammate begin to recognize these heat stress signs be sure to promptly sit or lay down in a cool space, drink cool fluids and remove heavy, unnecessary clothing. If symptoms do not improve within the hour – seek medical attention.

Trimaco & Total Job Site Protection

Job site safety should be the number one priority on the construction job for all employees and construction workers. Trimaco understands the importance and value of protective safety clothing and materials that lower safety risks in harmful, unsafe conditions. For total job site protection products, be sure to checkout our full catalog.

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