Reducing the Number of Accidents in the Construction Industry

Scaffold plank

Every so often, you hear about an injury or death caused by heavy machinery or construction equipment. While safety standards and requirements are constantly improving, accidents can and still do happen. These accidents are more common with higher grade construction projects, including heavy duty shoring and bridge construction. Some believe that we need even stricter of safety regulations for these types of projects.

Better placement in riskier positions
One of the biggest causes of construction type accidents is a lack of experience. Construction workers and engineers who are familiar with the safety concerns tend to be more careful. They are also more aware of proper safety precautions and how to handle an emergency. Newer workers, however, do not yet have the experience needed to prevent a dangerous situation from occurring.

According to Sageworks, seven of the top 10 Fastest Growing Industries in the U.S. are related to construction. With such rapid growth, newer employees are pushed into more difficult of positions quicker. They are also encouraged to begin training and placed as construction project leaders sooner than they should be. Projects like heavy duty shoring and bridge scaffolding should have only the most experienced of workers leading the job.

Properly maintained safety equipment
Because many states and cities require specific safety equipment, most are present on construction job sites. However, if these specific pieces of safety equipment are rarely used, they may not be up to standard. When it comes time to use them for safety, they are not as efficient. Workers who are six feet or more above lower levels are at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. To protect these workers, employers must provide fall protection and the right equipment for the job, including the right kinds of ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear. These safety gear items also need to be properly maintained, used regularly, and appropriate for the job at hand. If the project does not have the necessary equipment, such as scaffolding, construction scaffolding rentals can be used.

Increased training standards
Construction workers are not required to attend school of any type. When they join a specific department or construction project, they may be required to complete a couple of hours of training, but that is it. Newer construction workers should be required to complete a series of safety trainings. It is estimated that additional trainings could significantly reduce the number of construction accidents, and the severity of those accidents. OSHA estimates that scaffold safety training and correct safety standards can save as many as 50 lives and prevent 4,500 accidents every year.

Specified safety standards
Because the construction industry spans across many different types of projects, it is also important to set safety standards based on the specific type of project. For example, completing heavy duty shoring projects drastically varies from constructing a bridge. Although both might be used in a single goal project, they both utilize different skills and different safety standards. It is better to have strict requirements for each and have dedicated workers to each type of project. Construction workers who are familiar with heavy duty shoring and constructing the post shore should not do work on the industrial scaffold.

Unfortunately, accidents and injuries occur on construction sites. Organizations, such as OSHA are continually improving the safety standards and requirements of safety equipment that is used to improve current injury numbers. The numbers do seem to be decreased, but additional work is needed, as long as there are any injuries. Some call for increased safety, including longer trainings, stricter requirements for some types of projects, better maintenance of safety equipment, and the placement of workers into extremely specific project types.

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