Construction sites can be dangerous places with many hazards. Hundreds of construction workers die each year and almost a thousand are injured every day. But these statistics don’t mean that safety is beyond your control. In fact, there is a lot you can do to keep yourself safe and reduce the chances of having an accident.
1. Come to work physically and mentally prepared to do your job and do it properly. Using or abusing alcohol or drugs â€“ illegal, prescription or over-the-counter â€“ can put you in danger. Lack of sleep is just as dangerous. They all affect your judgment, increase your response time, and impair your senses. Between 10 and 20 percent of the nation’s workers who die on the job test positive for alcohol or other drugs.
2. Be aware. Pay attention in safety training so that you learn about the hazards and understand them. But then make sure that you pay attention to your surroundings and use that safety knowledge. Think through the work and the hazards not just once, but throughout the day.
3. Wear the proper personal protective equipment. PPE can save your life. Once you identify the hazards you will face today, consider every part of your body, from your head to your toes. Whether you’ll be exposed to the hazard for 5 seconds or 5 hours, you must wear the PPE.
4. Protect yourself from falls. Falls are the leading cause of death on construction sites, but almost all fall injuries are preventable. Wear a fall harness that’s properly tied off or make sure there are guardrails anytime you work at heights.
5. Avoid stuck-by injuries; they can be fatal. Wear your hard hat and avoid working below others. Pay attention to back-up alarms. Make eye contact with the operator and get permission before you cross in front of a machine.
6. Avoid caught-between and caught-in injuries. Keep out of swing radiuses of cranes, excavators, and other rotating equipment. Never place yourself between moving equipment and any other object or structure. Keep machine guards in place. Tie long hair and beards back, and don’t wear loose clothing when working with machines.
7. Respect electricity. Only qualified electricians should make repairs to electrical tools and wiring. Be aware of overhead and underground power lines. Don’t use damaged extension cords. Do use double-insulated tools.
8. Don’t take chances. Shortcuts, making do with a tool that isn’t right for the job and horseplay can all lead to injuries. It only takes a second for an accident to occur. Accidents are for keeps; you don’t get “do-overs” in real life.
9. Follow all safety rules, policies, and regulations. If you think you have a better way, talk it over with your supervisor before you make the change so you don’t get hurt or fired.
SPEAK UP WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING THAT IS UNSAFE.