Every seven seconds in the U.S., a worker gets injured while they’re on the job. A workplace injury can happen in any industry, but they’re especially common among those who work in construction.
If you run a construction business, it’s imperative that you know which types of accidents are most likely to affect and injure your workers. The more you know, the easier it’ll be for you to help them stay safe at work.
Read on to learn more about some of the most common construction site accidents. You’ll also learn some important steps you can take to prevent them from happening to your workers.
Falls are the number one cause of death on construction sites. They’re also a common contributor to a lot of construction-related injuries, including broken bones and concussions.
It doesn’t matter if the fall takes place from a great height or a relatively small one. Either way, it can be a serious issue.
Often, when a construction worker falls while on the job, it’s because certain safety procedures have not been followed. It could also be the result of improper safety training.
Slips and Trips
Slips and trips are common causes of injuries, too. These accidents don’t often cause damage that’s as severe as that caused by falls, but they can still lead to broken bones, concussions, cuts, scrapes, and sprains.
When a slip and trip accident occurs on a construction site, the worker usually trips over a cord, cable, or piece of equipment that wasn’t put in its proper place. They may also slip on spilled substances that didn’t get cleaned up in the proper or most efficient way.
Vehicular accidents are also responsible for a lot of construction injuries.
Sometimes, these accidents occur while workers are driving their own vehicles. If they don’t know how to handle these vehicles, for example, they may be more prone to crashing them. They might also be more prone to accidents if they’re distracted while driving or driving in harsh weather.
Keep in mind, too, that vehicular accidents can also be the fault of other drivers who are in the same area as the construction site. For example, a construction worker who’s working on a busy road could get hit by a distracted driver or someone who’s speeding or drifting.
Construction sites are often full of exposed and unfinished wiring. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that workers may experience electrocution or shocks while on the job.
These accidents can lead to minor injuries like small burns, but they can also be fatal.
In many cases, when an electrocution accident takes place, it’s because the worker did not know how to handle wiring in the safest and most appropriate way.
Construction work is very challenging, and workers often have to lift heavy loads and spend long periods of time on their feet. If workers aren’t careful, they could subject themselves to overexertion injuries.
Common overexertion injuries include things like thrown out backs or pulled muscles. Workers might also end up dealing with repetitive motion injuries from performing the same task over and over again.
Overexertion injuries may result from a worker performing a task incorrectly or not taking adequate breaks while on the job.
Objects falling and striking workers are also responsible for many construction accidents and injuries.
These accidents can occur when an object gets dropped from high up, or when some debris is flying through the air. Swinging and rolling loads contribute to injuries, as do suspended loads that come loose.
These scenarios catch workers off guard, and the workers don’t always have a chance to get out of the way before they get hit.
Sometimes, construction workers can accidentally get caught in between or crushed by objects while on the job. This could be the result of a piece of equipment rolling over onto a worker or two unattended machines moving from their set location and trapping a worker.
Crushing and “caught between” injuries aren’t as common as some other injuries, but these types of accidents can cause serious harm.
All kinds of machinery, both big and small, can cause construction accidents. A nail gun could cause a nasty puncture wound, for example, or a jackhammer could send debris flying into a worker’s eyes.
Machinery accidents often contribute to a wide range of injuries on the construction site.
When they occur, it may be because a worker was using the equipment incorrectly or because they weren’t wearing proper protective gear (it could also be a combination of the two).
Fires and Explosions
Incomplete electrical systems can contribute to fires and explosions on the construction site, as can gas leaks and unfinished piping.
Fires and explosions can contribute to burns and other serious injuries, as well as deaths if they’re not handled in the appropriate way. They often occur because workers don’t know how to handle hazardous materials or situations safely.
As you know, trenches are often needed on construction sites. They may be necessary, but they can also cause serious accidents and injuries if they collapse while workers are inside of them.
If a trench isn’t dug in the proper way, a collapse (and the injuries that often accompany collapses) may be more likely to occur.
Preventing Construction Site Accidents
At this point, you might be feeling pretty paranoid about all the potential accidents that can happen to your workers. The good news, though, is that you can do a lot to prevent these accidents, including the following:
Provide Adequate Safety Training
You can avoid a lot of construction site accidents by ensuring your workers receive proper training before they begin working.
Hold thorough safety training courses for all new workers. It’s also a good idea to provide refresher safety courses for workers who have been on the job for a long time.
Provide Adequate Protective Gear
As you begin to read more and learn more about proper construction site safety, you’ll learn about the importance of sufficient protective gear. This includes things like hard hats to help prevent head injuries, as well as other protective coverings.
Having the appropriate gear for your workers will pay off later on, so it’s worth it to make the investment at the very beginning.
Keep Things Clean
Make sure the construction site stays clean, too. Obviously, there’s going to be dirt and dust flying throughout the project. That kind of stuff is unavoidable.
However, there still ought to be a certain standard of cleanliness that your workers meet. For example, they should always put equipment back where they found it and keep cords neatly rolled up.
Simple steps like these can prevent tripping and falling accidents. They also ensure that everyone can work in the most efficient way possible.
Keep Equipment in Good Working Order
Ensure that all your equipment is working correctly, too.
If there’s a tool or piece of machinery that is malfunctioning, but you insist that your workers continue to use it, you could end up with a serious (and expensive) injury on your hands.
Encourage your workers to report equipment that is malfunctioning so you can get it replaced as soon as possible. Perform random checks on your equipment, too, so that nothing falls through the cracks.
Protect Workers from Falls
There’s a lot you can do to protect your workers from falls. For example, you can install fall protection systems (guardrails, screens, nets, toe boards, etc.) to help prevent serious fall-related injuries.
Scaffolding can be very effective, too. The key, though, is to make sure it’s properly installed. Otherwise, it won’t be able to support weight and could end up causing more injuries.
Spend time on your construction sites often and be on the lookout for potential hazards. Encourage your workers to watch out for hazards and report them when they see them, too.
The sooner everyone can identify potential issues, the sooner you can take care of them and prevent them from causing serious problems.
Use Vehicles and Equipment Properly
Finally, make sure that your workers are using all vehicles and equipment in the proper way. Spending enough time on your construction sites can help with this, as can encouraging workers to report incidents of misuse right away. This can prevent a lot of accidents and ensure your work gets done on time and in the correct way.
Start Avoiding Accidents Today
As you can see, there are lots of things that can go wrong on a construction site. Keep in mind, though, that there are also lots of steps you can take to prevent construction site accidents from happening in the first place.
If you remember the guidelines outlined above, you’ll have a much easier time keeping your workers safe and preventing injuries and accidents.
Do you want to learn more about workplace safety for those in the construction industry? If so, check out some of the other articles on our site today for additional advice.