Staying Safe on a Job Site | Basic Safety Tips on a Construction Site
Australian jurisdictions impose safety laws to help provide protection and standards for all workers in a construction site. There used to be different laws specific for each jurisdiction in Australia, but in the recent years, the Australian government put in place safety laws that harmonise occupational health and safety for all construction industry workers across Australia. These laws are the result of comprehensive national reviews and consultation, and the construction industry has been identified as a priority industry for work health and safety. These new laws also saw the introduction of the nationally recognized white card safety training, which is a legal requirement for anyone working in the construction industry.
Even more so than in any other industry, safety is a very crucial aspect of construction work because of the very high risk it poses to everyone who comes to any construction site. Everyone involved in this industry needs to follow strict practices for construction safety, from the CEOs to the frontline tradesmen, hands-on workers, foremen, vendors and guests. If you work in any part of the construction industry. This includes you.
Statistics about safety
Even with safety protocols in place, accidents can still happen in construction sites. Data show that 58% of fatalities were caused from falls, half of which involved falls from a height of less than four meters and 30% are falls from ladders.
In addition to facing falls and equipment mishandling, workers are also prone to repetitive motion injuries. Approximately 20% of serious claims were from back injuries.
Some of the common safety mistakes are the following
- Improper safety gear
- Falling objects
- Scaffolding collapses
- Falls and trips
- Electric shocks
Owners of construction sites are primarily responsible for making sure that the work environment of his workers and guests are safe and healthy; however, this responsibility is also upon you. As they say, “charity begins at home”, so safety also begins with you.
The following safety tips are very basic practices that you can follow to reduce the potential risks posed in any construction site:
- Undergo appropriate and comprehensive training for any equipment you will use on the job.
- Watch where you are going. Avoid stepping on loose boards, unsteady scaffolding, unsecured roofing surfaces, broken ladders or anything that may appear even remotely unsafe.
- Gear up! Wear all the required safety gear including goggles to protect your eyes from dust, hardhats, steel-toed boots and ear protection for noisy sites. If you are going to touch any kind of construction material, wear gloves; if chemicals are prevalent in your work area, wear a respirator.
- Practice and master the proper way to lift heavy objects. The technique to avoid stressing and injuring your back is to use your legs.
- Whenever present, use the handrails. These are placed for the specific purpose of preventing unnecessary falls.
- Never go to an area that has little or no lighting installed. Avoid these areas unless lights have been placed.
- Keep dry as much as possible to avoid electrocution.
- Be vigilant and be aware of what’s going on in your surroundings.
- Know your rights. You have the right to speak up and the right to expect everyone else to observe and follow the safety rules imposed in the construction site.
- Do not hesitate to report violations. This will not only help you, but it will also help others.
Majority of the accidents that happen are avoidable when safety programs are in place. When an accident happens, it not only affects the injured person but might even affect his or her family. It can cause physical strain to the family as the injured person will often require assistance in moving around; financial strain as some injuries require the injured person to be out of work for days or weeks; emotional even psychological stress as one thing can lead to another.
A safety program entails costs, but the benefits it poses for everyone involved in a construction site far outweigh the losses and costs one may be subjected to when accidents happen.