Construction workers face one of the highest likelihoods of injuries and even fatalities at work of any profession. Here are the top five hazards to look out for on-site and how to prevent them.

Working at height

In 2015/2016, over one quarter of construction site fatalities were a result of workers falling from heights, making it the most common cause of fatal injury according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

To prevent risk of falls, any employee expected to work at height should require training on all equipment surfaces and safety procedures beforehand. Due to its risk, working at height should only be done where absolutely necessary. If something can be assembled on ground level and then moved up, that should always be the first resort. All equipment must be regularly checked and maintained and fitted with safety features such as a double guard-rail. 

Slips, trips and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are a common hazard in almost every work environment, although they can be more dangerous on a construction site.

HSE reports show that thousands of construction workers are injured yearly following a slip or trip that could have been avoided by keeping work areas and access routes clear. 

Therefore it is extremely important to manage working areas, and in particular, stairs and narrow paths and use cordless tools wherever possible or run cables at high levels. Clearly sign any slippery surfaces and assure appropriate footwear is worn at all times. Most importantly, all risks should be reported and rectified. 

Electric shocks

According to HSE, there are 1,000 electric shock accidents reported every year, which accounts for approximately 8 precent of construction site deaths, often from contact with overhead or underground power cables or machinery. Electrical accidents are particularly dangerous when they occur on high work platforms as workers run the risk of falling. 

The number one greatest prevention to electrical accidents is to ensure only qualified electricians carry out electrical work. Also, always ensure employees are familiar with where the power lines are and train them on the safe and appropriate distance they must keep from electrical sources. 

Moving objects

Overhead lifting equipment, diggers and supply vehicles are at risk of moving around on uneven terrain which can be extremely dangerous to workers. 

Reduce risks by avoiding working close to these kinds of objects and ensure workers are wearing their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as high-visibility clothing. Finally, ensure staff are trained to be vigilant of their surroundings at all times. 

Collapsing trenches/caught between

One of the biggest dangers on construction sites is the collapsing of trenches with workers caught inside. This accounts for almost 7 per cent of construction fatalities.

To prevent collapsing trenches, ensure that the kind of support used is best suited for the trench. Any trench with a depth of 5 feet or deeper must have sufficient trench wall support and appropriate safety measures. Also, ensure that the trench is regularly inspected before and during work shifts.  Finally, ensure all utilities are clearly marked prior to digging and all employees are trained on how to properly protect themselves.

This Post Is Part Of A Series: 101 Toolbox Topic Ideas For The Construction Industry
Do you struggle to come up with toolbox talk ideas each week to discuss with your workers? Fear no more, Work Safety QLD is here to the rescue with 101 Free Toolbox Talk Ideas for the Construction Industry.


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