The construction industry is one of the largest employers throughout the world, employing millions. From the small construction sites to massive projects which can take many years to complete.
Unfortunately, the construction industry accounts for approximately one-fifth of all work-related injuries and deaths. Inherently sites can and will continue to be a dangerous environment to work in but, with ever-increasing safety standards, protocols, and procedures, the level of risk can be reduced.
One-third of all site accidents involve a vehicle, most are caused because of the following reasons:
1: Vehicles overturning causing serious injury
2: Workers and visiting personal being struck by a moving vehicle, usually when reversing
3: Construction materials falling from the vehicle or people falling from the vehicle
4: Poor maintenance of the vehicle
Before Construction Begins Is A Good Place To Start
When any new project whether large or small it is essential to have a trained workforce at hand. Each member of the construction team should have relevant off-site training in health and safety and preferably some basic knowledge of first aid or at least be aware of the nearest colleague who is qualified to help in the event of an accident.
For vehicle drivers and operators on a construction site, it is in most countries by law essential that the operator is qualified and certified in the relevant field they will be working in, refresher courses may be needed for license holders and constant reminders on the importance of health and safety when operating on-site should be of help.
Identifying Potential Risks
Site managers along with architects should evaluate and identify potential areas where accidents are likely to occur through a comprehensive risk assessment. With construction vehicles, there should be clear guidance on where and when they can operate on-site.
Weather conditions, having several different contractors on-site and the terrain all need to be considered to safely use construction vehicles, helping to prevent any accidents and injuries.
Main Causes Of Accidents On-Site
Speeding is often the cause of injury and death on construction sites. In the United States, alone speeding has been attributed to over 20% of all on-site accidents. Easily preventable, the main causes whilst speeding are rear-ending, mobile phone usage, fatigue, lack of hearing due to personal radios, and aggressive driving.
Vehicle maintenance is something that is often overlooked and can have a devastating effect. A vehicle should be checked before every shift ensuring that all accessories and parts are in correct working order. Following a check of the mechanics, a check of the cab itself is important especially the shield or roof of the vehicle to prevent injury from falling debris on-site. Keep a close eye on an excavator’s Minifinal Drives, because when it comes to the end of its life you’ll need to replace it.
Reversing is often the cause of accidents and damage to both the vehicle and construction. Never reverse if your line of vision is blocked if it is the only way and is unavoidable ensure the use of warning lights and an audible sound and proceed with extreme caution. To ensure a safe reversing operation ideally, a co-worker should be outside directing you and advising other site workers of your intended movements.
Prevention Is Always Better
Safety for your co-worker and yourself is paramount on-site. Everybody involved should take this matter as important as the quality of work you do on any project. Unfortunately, most accidents can be avoided but a shocking statistic is that most injuries or worse do not happen to the team working on-site.
Visitors to the site often are the victims of on-site accidents often involving construction vehicles. A visitor who is not familiar is required to wear high visibility and a hard hat at all times the same as workers and adhere to the same health and safety standards which are employed by regulation. With heavy vehicle drivers possibly under the assumption that everybody on site is aware of the safety protocols, a visitor whether it is the owner of the land, an investor making an inspection, or building inspectors they should always be accompanied by a member of your team to ensure everyone’s safety at all times.
As with any manual job involving vehicles, it is usually the operator who is responsible for checking for potential vehicle problems that could lead to health and safety issues but, it’s very probable on medium to large scale projects that you may not have been the last person to use the equipment so always check with the previous operator and if not available his foreman that there have been no issues with the equipment since you last used it.