6 Construction Site Hazards
6 Construction Site Hazards To Be Aware Of
Construction, like every other manual labour work, carries dangers. Those who work on construction sites are mindful of the risks of the job. They’re constantly handling various materials and operating different pieces of machinery and tools. If they’re not careful, they risk endangering themselves and others. This line of work is dangerous. The construction industry must be aware of common construction site hazards. They should also take measures to protect themselves.
Statistics from the Ministry of Manpower show that workplace injuries and fatalities rose significantly in Singapore. There were 6,293 incidents in the first half of 2020. This figure increased to 6,411 in the first half of 2021. Some top accidents include vehicular incidents, malfunctioning equipment, and slippages/falls. Let’s dive deeper.
1. Falling From Heights
Working at heights is one of the most common causes of site injuries and even fatalities. Falls may result from improper use of the following equipment/materials:
Without proper safety precautions, workers risk injuring themselves. They may end up falling and inevitably breaking their bones in the process. To avoid these, workers must follow safety rules and standards.
Construction managers should ensure that employees wear PPE (personal protective equipment). Safety gear may include hard hats, high-visibility vests, non-skid boots, and well-fitting uniforms.
Aside from wearing protective gear, workers must also understand their risks. If working at heights greater than 6 feet, they should use fall prevention equipment. The scaffolding should have secure guard rails and platforms for better stability. Additionally, there should also be visual cues for the workers. Managers should use appropriate signages and markings if working under low-light conditions.
2. Malfunctioning Equipment
Every construction site involves some type of equipment. They break ground, create aggregates, or transfer heavy loads to another area. As useful as these machines are, they’re not immune to damage. When left neglected or improperly used, these pieces of equipment can malfunction and endanger everyone’s safety.
Here are some examples of construction site equipment:
- Road rollers
- Electric power tools
Trained operators are the only ones authorised to use these types of equipment. They should also ensure the machines are well-maintained and functioning correctly.
However, even the most cautious operators can endanger themselves using defective equipment. All construction equipment must be pre-inspected before use to avoid injuries or fatalities.
Here are some examples of malfunctioning equipment
- Cranes – Missing parts and attachments often lead to crane accidents. The operators could get into severe accidents if they drive a defective crane. For example, a rusted wire rope may cause a heavy load to fall. Avoid this by performing regular lifting equipment inspections and inspecting it by an authorised examiner. Watch out for any abnormalities or unusual noises from the vehicle.
- Power saw – Power saws cut wood and other thick materials. They could be defective if incorrect blades are installed and safety guards are disabled. Every operator should follow the instruction manual before using this device and replace the blades if necessary. Operators must also wear loose clothing while using this power tool.
- Welding machines – Welding guns fuse two metals through heat or electrical energy. As useful as they are, they could also be dangerous if defective. Welding accidents may range from minor electrical shocks to severe burns. Workers can prevent this by inspecting the machine beforehand and wearing the correct protective gear.
3. Vehicular Accidents
Many vehicles are parked in a construction zone, such as container trucks, trailers, and self-loaders. However, they could also be a potential source of hazards without safety protocols. Construction sites can protect against these problems by implementing traffic control plans. Sites should also encourage strict training and safety education for vehicle operators.
Vehicular accidents can happen to anyone. For example, a container truck may tip over when it’s overloaded. This incident can harm the driver and other workers on the ground. Construction managers can avoid this by reducing the load of the vehicle. They must also ensure a designated location for the truck. This way, drivers know where to store the container when arriving on-site.
Driving at night or under low-light conditions may also cause vehicular accidents. Fortunately, this can be prevented by erecting tower lights. Everyone on the ground should also wear high-visibility clothing to avoid collisions or injuries.
4. Electrical Hazards
Electrical hazards also account for a considerable chunk of construction-site-related fatalities. Some of the most common electrical hazards include:
- Faulty wiring
- Overhead power lines
- Damaged electrical cables
- Overloaded circuits
- Incorrect grounding
You may resort to cutting construction costs by hiring inexperienced electrical contractors. But, this could be expensive in the long run. You may have to cover medical-related costs due to accidents.
You should instead hire trained electrical contractors qualified for the job. They should know how to handle electrical equipment and diagnose any related problems. You’ll avoid these common electrical hazards and simultaneously protect your workers.
5. Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials and toxic chemicals are abundant in construction zones. Not all materials emit dangerous fumes or Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). But, overexposure to these materials may be unsafe.
Managers must secure a material safety data sheet (MSDS) when workers handle hazardous materials. Additionally, workers should wear protective gear while handling chemicals.
For example, some buildings use asbestos as fire retardants and for insulation. But, excessive asbestos exposure can cause cancer and even lung diseases.
Site employees can protect themselves from the hazards of asbestos by wearing protective gear. As long as they’re handling the material, they should wear respirators, coveralls, and non-laced footwear.
6. Moving Parts And Loose Objects
Safeguarding site workers against moving parts and construction machinery should also be prioritised. Machines, workers, and vehicles will run simultaneously if construction is underway. Lack of site management may lead to injuries caused by moving parts and loose objects.
To reduce the risks, workers should:
- Distance themselves from the moving object/device/vehicle
- Be aware of their surroundings
- Ensure there is adequate on-site lighting
- Wear PPE at all times
Without the construction industry, none of today’s greatest architectural marvels would be possible. The industry should prioritise workers’ safety by protecting them against construction site hazards.
There may be workplace safety laws to protect the workers. But, it’s ultimately up to the managers and supervisors to safeguard them. The key lies in understanding the risks and implementing measures to avoid these common hazards.
Make your construction site safer using high-quality machinery and construction equipment only from Pollisum. Get in touch with us now! Learn more about how our construction services can help.
Frequently Asked Questions About Construction Site Hazards
Falling accounts for the highest number of fatalities in the construction industry annually. This accident may result from:
- Using unstable work surfaces
- Wearing inadequate fall equipment
- Human error.
The construction industry ranks at the top spot in most workplace fatalities.
Here are some of the most common types of construction PPEs:
- Hard hats
- Safety shoes
- Work gloves
- Safety belts
- Fire-rated clothing
- Safety goggles
- Ear protection muffs
A hazard refers to anything that can cause harm. Here are some examples:
- Electrical damages
- Deafening noises
- Blinding visuals
- Heavy loads
- Unstable structures