Do you know over 11 million Americans work in the construction industry? What’s alarming here is that according to HSF’s Labour Force Survey, in this industry, the number of work-related accidents is greater than in any other line of work.
The report reveals the crucial state of the industry. Take a look:
- Around 78,000 workers are facing work-related ill health:
Source: LFS estimated annual average 2019/20-2021/22
- There have been over 30 fatal injuries to employers during the period of 2021 to 2022, whereas the fatalities in 2017 were 36.
Source: RIDDOR, 2017/18-2021/22. Accident kinds are shown for the top 5 causes of fatal injury.
- Around 59,000 non-fatal injuries to workers were reported over the period of three years from 2019 to 2022.
Source: LFS, estimated annual average 2019/20-2021/22
Apart from physical health, mental health diseases are common in construction workers. The comparison of the industry with others reveals a significant rate which indicates the importance of enforcing safety regulations and reforms in the companies.
Ways To Ensure Workplace Safety in The Construction Industry
There are ways to make sure that your organization and its workers stay safe at work. This ensures an increase in productivity and saves you from financial troubles. You and your colleagues can enroll in OSHA 30 construction training for essential site safety knowledge related to potential hazards that may cause serious injuries and even death.If an employee suffers an injury the company has to pay the penalty of thousands of dollars and in worst cases the state government also takes action of charging with criminal offenses that results in a complete shutdown of the operations. Hence, it’s best to be careful and conscious about safeguarding the rights of your workers and giving them a safer worksite to thrive and succeed.
Understanding the Importance of Workplace Safety in Construction
Although the construction industry is of essential need, one can not overlook the fact that there are tremendous hazards that need precautions and workplace regulations. Back in 2018, the highest number of fatalities was in the construction industry, which is now showing graphs of improvement after the enforcement of safety precautions.
According to the study published by Health and Safety Executive, the major reasons for workplace injuries and fatalities were caused by slips and falls, improperly lifting or moving heavy objects, and collisions with vehicles and objects. Take a look below:
The rate of preventable deaths increased 6% from 2020 to 2021 which shows an increase of 11% since 2011.
Considering the statistics, in over 58 regions of the United States, OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been creating reforms and training workers and organizations to enforce safety regulations and learn about practices that can safeguard the health of every employee without disrupting productivity.
Regulatory Standards and Compliance
OSHA has created a number of regulations that comprehensively covers all areas of hazards and make an organization hazard-free for its workers. Following these regulations, the workers’ deaths have dramatically decreased over the last few decades. From 38 workers per day in 1970 to 13 per day in 2020.
Here are some of the regulations that you must follow:
The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations:
It requires managers to plan the work, assess all risk factors, and control and organize the tasks.
The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations:
It applies to all construction projects regarding the strength, quality, durability, and safety of the building structure and its construction practices.
The Health & Safety (First Aid) Regulations:
At the construction site, the organization should install first aid camps and keep all the emergency supplies with proper professionals to handle the injury at the site.
The Personal Protective Equipment Regulations:
The PPE ensures the offering of necessary training and resources to avoid and handle hazards at the construction site.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations:
This regulation revolves around carrying, dragging, lifting, or all sorts of physical activities that involve critical and heavy objects.
Developing a Comprehensive Safety Training Program
Implementing regulations is one part of ensuring safety. The other one is to educate and train your workers. Before you do that, you need to understand the number of hazards that are possible to occur; for instance, some of them are listed below:
Working at height: When working at heights, unstable platforms or lack of proper functioning harnesses can cause life-threatening hazards.
Moving objects: Lifting equipment and moving heavy objects, especially with chemicals or concrete, can cause fatalities. Hence, it’s important to equip your teams with proper gear, equipment, tools, and resources.
Slips, trips, and falls: Uneven surfaces, unstable platforms, and uneven terrains cause major slips and falls cases. The presence of loose temporary structures can also result in major injuries. Hence, you need to make sure that the construction site is stable and strong enough to bear the weight of your workers, who should be equipped with proper harnesses. In case of any slip, there should be emergency measures available on the site.
Apart from this, weak infrastructure, exposed power supplies, dust, and heat are some other factors that should be taken care of.
One of the primary training objectives should be to teach employees how to perform risk assessments and identify potential hazards on construction equipment. By recognizing potential dangers, operators can take necessary precautions and prevent accidents by replacing damaged parts with aftermarket components. Incorporate scenario-based training exercises to help employees develop critical thinking skills and make quick, informed decisions in challenging situations.
Implementing Safety Training for New Hires
Occupational Safety and Health Administration has introduced two of the most valuable courses – 10 Hour OSHA training program and the 30 Hour training program. Both of these courses help in educating and training your employees, especially the new hires.
The new joiners are sometimes oblivious of the hazards on the whole, and they are not aware of the practices that your organization follows. Hence, to avoid any injury and fatalities, it’s best to educate them and guide them to follow all the regulations.
Apart from this, training the existing workers and managers is of utmost importance as well. Whether you are new to the industry or have been working for years, there is always a need to stay updated. Every once in a while, new technology, trends, or practices surface in the industry about which managers or existing workers may not be aware. With these online courses, it’s easier to refresh your knowledge and stay updated.
By implementing OSHA practices, the rate of worker illnesses has gone down significantly from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1970 to 2.7 per 100 in 2020.
Moreover, workers are getting aware about the importance of safety as around 81% of the workers are getting concerned about their physical health and 58% consider it extremely important to work in a safer environment.
Each course covers crucial topics and guides the students through multiple examples, real life scenarios and evaluates their understanding by conducting assessments.
Utilizing Technology and Simulation in Safety Training
When talking about advancement and safety, how can one leave technology behind? The construction industry has undergone a series of transformations since the advent of many innovative solutions.
Technology has made construction practices safer and more reliable. Through digitalization, it has become easier to monitor and manage teams. Managers can view the activity of their workers and warn them beforehand. Through the use of Augmented reality, workers are getting trained by watching virtual sites and experiencing augmented scenarios.
Moreover, IoT devices and sensors play a role in providing valuable data about the possible hazards that help in taking precautionary measures. Simple devices that monitor the pulse and heart rate help in keeping the workers safe in times of extreme weather or during labor- intensive work.
Organizations should promote a culture of safety in the construction industry where employees can share their concerns and take necessary actions to prevent accidents. Everybody should be aware about their rights and stay conscious to avoid any hazard.
Implementing the regulations or training the workers do not ensure safety at the maximum level; there is always a need to continuously evaluate and improve your practices based on scenarios and experiences. In this way, with time, your organization can be able to fully function without putting the life and health of its workers at risk.