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28 April
Let’s Be Safe Out There
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Construction sites are inherently dangerous; that is common knowledge.  Therefore, it is imperative that there are stringent protocols set to assure the health and safety of all - workers and the public. A great deal of work has gone into identifying what type of hazards are on a construction site – there are many. However, just as much work has gone into setting up rules and recommendations to make sites safer. Ten Common Construction Site Hazards
    1. Working at heights accounts for most of the fatal injuries on construction sites. It is critical to take whatever steps possible to avoid this hazard. Start with appropriate training and do whatever work possible on the ground. Use equipment with an extra level of safety.
    2. Moving objects are commonly found on construction sites: equipment with moveable arms, diggers, even swinging hand tools. Reduce risks by being attentive to where the dangers are, and wear PPE such as bright visible jackets and hardhats.
    3. Slips, trips, and falls are caused by obstacles on the site, uneven terrain, loose cords and cables. These risks can be reduced by ensuring a clean worksite as possible. Perhaps assign someone to monitor the area.
    4. Noise is a constant on any construction site. Loud, repetitive noise can cause loss of hearing even deafness. Additionally, noise can be a distraction that could cause other accidents. This is where the use of appropriate PPE can have a strong impact.
    5. Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) is a painful and debilitating disease of the blood vessels, nerves and joints. It is usually caused by prolonged use of handheld power tools, including vibratory tools and ground working equipment. It cannot be cured, but It is preventable. Again, appropriate PPE critical.
    6. Material and equipment are constantly being moved around work sites. Sometimes this is done manually, and other times equipment is used. When carrying manually, workers must take precautions and know their maximum lifting limits and pay attention to those limits.  Workers must also be trained in the proper way to lift and move heavy loads. There are four key points to follow for manually moving materials. These points are identified in the acronym
      • Task – the specific task being performed
      • Individuals - know their maximum lifting limits
      • Load - note the shape and size of the load
      • Environment – get familiar with the area in which materials are being moved
Taking note of these points will reduce injuries related to lifting and carrying materials and equipment.  Workers must also train in the proper use and function of the equipment they are operating. They must always identify where other workers are located when moving materials and equipment.
  1. Collapsing trenches can be one of the most dangerous hazards on a worksite, especially if people are in the trenches when they collapse. Scheduled demolitions can cause areas to collapse unintentionally. Precautions are essential.  Know the kinds of supports required, ensure trenches are fully safe and inspect the supports at the beginning of and during each shift.
  2. Asbestos is no longer used in new construction as it is a well-known fact that it is a carcinogen and causes illness. It is found in some construction sites, especially if there is demolition.  If materials containing asbestos are disturbed, then fibres are released into the air. These fibres can cause serious and dangerous disease.  If asbestos is discovered, an abatement must be completed by a professional team specially trained to do so.
  3. Electricity causes numerous accidents on construction sites. Sometimes live wires are exposed, and people have been electrocuted. There has been an increase in electrocutions on people who are working with electrical equipment and are not qualified electricians. All electrical work must be completed only by those qualified to do so.
  4. Construction sites create a lot of dust that is often invisible, fine, and toxic mixture of hazardous materials and fibres. This dust can cause diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, which can damage the lungs. It is imperative that employees wear the appropriate PPE,
The above list demonstrates there are numerous hazards on construction sites, and this list is not complete.  Contractors and their employees are aware that there are dangers at every location. With the onset of COVID-19, this list has grown exponentially – but that is a different article.  Contractors must be vigilant and maintain a clean and organized work site and ensure that all workers are using the correct Personal Protection Equipment. Stay safe. Author Bio: Curtis Dansereau is the CEO and co-founder of Battlefield Supply Corp., which is located in Calgary, Alberta. You can visit their secure website at https://www.battlefieldsupply.com/. Contact them at 403-700-5922 to see how they can help protect your loved ones, your pets, and your property. Office hours are from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.