According to the Bureau of labor statistics (BLS), people working in the construction industry are highly vulnerable to injuries and fatalities. BLS has recognized the construction industry as the fourth most risky profession and second in causing fatal injuries.
As per legislation in Australia, the construction business owner or director of the construction company is accountable for the assessment and risk management at a construction site and is also liable for punishment in case of an onsite mishap.
Accordingly, WHS Management Plan needs to be prepared and implemented at every construction site to protect working staff, people connected to the construction site, and construction business from any undesirable harm.
What are the primary safety issues associated with construction?
The construction business is considered highly risky and dangerous as it involves occupational safety risks associated with during:
- Working at heights
- Housekeeping works
In addition, material handling and stacking also involve risks for the health and life of workers. Handling hazardous construction material such as pollutants, toxic chemical substances, oil products, asbestos, and asbestos-containing products, and radioactive, flammable, and explosive materials besides various other regulated materials as toxic substances can be the sources of causing injuries or produce ill effects on the human body.
Accordingly, the construction safety management plan should always be based on the recommendations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Under prevailing legislation, all possible hazards and risks must be listed in the Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) and be briefed to the workers before commencing high-risk construction work. All safety measures must be implemented for the safety of workers.
Safety of workers on construction sites
Work at the construction site keeps on changing each day as the construction work progresses. Accordingly, as part of the construction safety procedure, the need for specific safety measures must be reviewed each day and informed to the workers. The workers at the construction site must be provided with certain specific protective equipment, such as:
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) that may be minimum or additional
- Hard Hat or Helmet – to be worn all time and is also must for visitors
- Safety Glasses- to protect eyes from dust due to debris or sparks due to welding etc.
- Safety Vests – High Visibility Shirts Hand Protection Gloves – to protect against cuts while handling material or equipment, cutting metal studs or during cleaning operations, etc.
- Proper clothing – Full-Sleeves Shirt, Long Pant and High Boots with a stiff sole and metallic protection for toes
Besides the above, workers must be asked to use:
- Hearing Protection Equipment when working near equipment, tool or machinery that makes a loud noise
- Dust Mask to offer respiratory protection while working with fiber-glass, fire-proofing, cleaning floors, or clearing debris.
- Face Shield – along with safety glasses, during working in a high debris area, operating grinder, or any spark-producing activity like welding, etc.
- Safety Harness – an attachment fabricated from rope, cable, and locking hardware helps workers work with free hands even while hanging without fear of falling and avoiding injuries.
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