Construction safety involves all the safety plan, procedures, precaution, and guidelines necessary for ensuring safe completion of all the individual tasks which makes up the construction job. Construction job is a hazardous land based job with potential risks including; Falls, trenches, musculoskeletal injury, electric shock, different forms of cuts, spills, explosion, respiratory disorders, skin disorders, etc. The construction industry accounts for one of the highest fatality rate among all other industries.
Construction Safety fatality statistics
According to Wikipedia, “In 2014, the United States had 4,679 fatal occupational injuries, an incidence rate of 3.3 per 100,000 full-time employed worker. In the same year, fatal work injuries in construction and extraction occupations increased by 5%. One in five deaths of workers in 2014 were construction related. Construction has about 6% of U.S. workers, but 17% of the fatalities – the largest number of fatalities reported for any industry sector.
In United Kingdom, the construction industry is responsible for 31% of fatalities at work and 10% of major workplace injuries. In South Africa, there are 150 fatalities and approximately 400 injuries each year related to construction sites. In Brazil, the incidence rate for all occupational fatalities is 3.6 per 100,000.
The above statistics is pointing to one thing; the risk level of the construction industry. This high risk level proofs the need to ensure safety in the construction sector, hence – The need for construction Safety.
Construction Safety Management Plan
Adopting the Health and Safety Management System (HSE-MS), the Construction safety plan begins with having an active and viable Health and Safety Policy. Without a viable policy, nothing works. When the policy has been drawn out, other measures will be adopted for adequate implementation of the Health and Safety Policy. Other supportive actions include:
- Organizing for policy implementation: Here, roles and responsibility are allotted to different sections and individuals in the organization. Everyone needs to know what part they have to play and how.
- Plan and Procedures: What are the do’s and don’ts; What is accepted and not accepted; how we go about doing things and channels to follow – All these are what is penned down under the plan and procedures.
- Implementation and Monitoring: To ensure that the plan and procedures are working toward the achievement of the policy, there have to be close supervision for implementation. Also, the result of the implementation should be monitored to see if it is yielding expected results.
- Review/Audit: The outcome of the implementation should be audited both internally and externally. The aim of this audit is to compare our results with sectors best practices to see if we are doing well. If not, then the system has to be reviewed. The review may require changes; either some things added to the system or withdrawn from the system.
20 Invaluable Construction Safety Precautions
- Management has to be committed and supportive to ensuring all round safety in the organization and should live by example.
- Training and retraining of staffs should be taken seriously.
- Induction for new employees and visitors to site should be a routine.
- There should be a clear line of communication where workers grievances can be communicated to the management.
- Work design should fit the worker. Work should be design in such a way that work stress and pressure is minimized.
- There should not be conflicting interest between job delivery and safety.
- Safety should be taken to be paramount and a priority in all areas of the work.
- Emergency management plan should be in place and communicated to everyone on the site.
- Journey management should be defined where applicable. This will include determining transport route, speed limit, pre-operation activity on all vehicles, safe loading and unloading, driver’s health assessment, drivers training, rest points, substance abuse policy, feedback line, etc.
- Permit to work system should be strictly followed for high risks activities like confine space entry, hot work, work at height, etc.
- LOTO procedures should be strictly followed for all electrical repairs and maintenance activities.
- Traffic management plan should be in place; both internal and external traffic management plan. This is to protect the workers from traffic accident.
- In excavations, safe excavation procedures should be adopted to prevent cave-in. This may include slopping, shoring or stepping the excavation.
- Control should be placed on the use of high risk equipment. Only for authorized persons sign should be pasted on this equipment. Such equipment may include: Angle grinder, Electrical Panels, Table saw, Nail gun, Cut Off saw, etc.
- Personal protective equipment should be provided and enforced.
- There should be approach of encouraging and appreciating good safety performance.
- Confine space evacuation plan should be in place before confine space entry is initiated.
- Work at height rescue plan should be in place to ensure timely rescue for someone who may be suspended by the body harness at height or trapped by the debris net to avoid complications.
- Welfare facilities should be provided at different locations and within areas where high risk jobs are carried out which could endanger the health of workers. These facilities may include hand wash point, bathroom, changing room, face wash point, toilet, etc.
- Waste management plan should be in place; where waste are segregated, categorized and labeled. Hazardous waste, separated from non-hazardous waste and safe disposal medium and mode determined.