Old buildings are dangerous to work on. Thousands of people get injured and die while taking down or renovating old buildings every day. It is crucial for construction workers who renovate old buildings to prioritize their health and safety. Luckily, there are simple construction safety measures that can keep both workers and construction sites safe.
1. Keep the Site Clean and Organized
Renovation projects can be messy. Never believe that trips and slips aren’t as dangerous as other types of accidents on a construction site. Research has revealed that trips and slips account for over 30% of construction workers’ injuries when renovating an old building.
Fortunately, the risk of slips and trips on a construction site can be reduced by keeping the working environment tidy. Thus, it is recommendable to keep escape and access routes clean and free of debris to avoid injuries.
2. Avoid Working in Unsafe Areas
Never work in an unsafe area. Be aware of what is happening around you to stay safe. Most fatalities during renovation projects are caused by overturning or collapsing objects. Being struck by moving equipment is also a common occurrence on construction sites.
Construction workers should avoid working at great heights without protective gear and suitable guard rails. Entering unsupported trenches can also pose a risk, so always use safe access pathways. Working below various hazards like hanging crane loads can lead to severe injuries and death.
3. Handle Equipment with Caution
Never ignore a hitch or problem on a machine or equipment. Find the right avenue to report a problem to the supervisor. You could do it through an incident report or a near-miss report. Use whatever procedure in place to report an incident on the old building you are renovating.
The management can take timely action if it is notified earlier enough. And the sooner the management resolves a potential problem, the less the chance of fatalities and injuries. Never alter or force a machine if you aren’t supposed to or you weren’t trained to do so.
Also, never attempt to remove machine guards or scaffold ties unless you have the necessary training to do it. Tampering with machines without authorization can later cause severe injuries or fatalities.
4. Use the Right Tools
One machine or equipment can’t fit it all. Investing in the right equipment for renovating an old building can get the job done safer and quicker. Check the equipment to ensure it is safe and in good condition before using it.
Most construction workers are barred from using 240v equipment unless they have their supervisors’ authorization.
5. Wear PPE
Construction workers should always wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as it is their last line of defense when handling hazardous substances on the site. Safety boots protect your feet and give you a grip to help avoid slips and trips.
Construction workers can protect their skull by wearing hard hats. It might also be necessary to wear reflector vests for extra visibility while working on an old building at night.
6. Maintain Open Communication
Communication plays a critical role in the overall safety of construction workers. Staff should be able to alert one other or contact a construction accident lawyer in case of a serious incident.
Project managers are responsible for raising awareness about existing potential hazards among construction workers to ensure they stay safe. Contractors should be allowed to express their opinions about what they think could make their working environment safer. Site managers should create opportunities for staff to report any near-miss or accidents.
7. Create a Safety Culture at Work
Through open communication, create a safety culture across a construction site, given that most workers feel uncomfortable reporting accidents or equipment failures at work. Construction site operators can ensure workers’ safety by commissioning periodic risk assessments for all projects and tasks they undertake.
Workplace safety courses and additional training can also help create a safety culture on the worksite.
Older buildings are riskier to renovate than newer structures because of the slip, trip, and fall hazards, fragile structures, and toxic materials like asbestos that might make workers sick. Fortunately, there are several safety precautions both workers and their supervisors can take to prevent accidents when working on an older building.
And if an accident does occur, injured workers can either file a worker’s compensation claim or contact a construction accident lawyer to get help with paying their medical bills and time away from work. Hiring a lawyer is usually a better option because workers’ compensation cannot offer fair compensation in really severe construction site accidents.