Emergency procedures in construction

Written by lindsay zortman
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Emergency procedures in construction
Emergency situations can happen at any construction site. (Construction. image by Saskia Massink from Fotolia.com)

Construction company owners take on a great deal of risk when setting up their businesses. Not only are the owners responsible for the day to day safety risks their employees must deal with, they must also be prepared for emergencies that can develop while on the construction site. Setting up emergency procedures for each construction site is an essential part of running a responsible construction business.

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Identify Possible Emergencies

Identify the emergencies that are likely to occur in your location or line of work. Tornadoes, earthquakes and floods are all natural disasters that should have emergency procedures. Emergency procedures should include more typical emergencies that can occur on a work site as well. Because each type of construction site will have accidents it is more at risk for, it is impossible to list all of the possibilities in your Emergency Procedures book. Instead, concentrate on the types of accidents or emergencies that can occur.

Similar responses should be listed together. Falls from buildings, scaffolding or ladders can all be listed under a "Falls" section. Cuts from equipment and accidental amputations of fingers or limbs can be listed together. Medical emergencies such as asthma attacks, allergic reactions and heart attacks can be listed with other medical-related emergencies.

Individualised Lists

Take each identified emergency and develop company procedures that you want all employees to follow during an emergency situation. Tell them where the first aid kits are, procedures for calling 911 and notifying supervisors, and train them in CPR and first aid procedures. Stress that the accident scene should remain untouched until a supervisor approves items to be moved. The final step of each individualised emergency procedure should include information on filing an incident report following company regulations.

Construction workers have a unique environment where accidents can occur around any corner. Because workers may not be close to the emergency procedures manual, it is important to keep the overall principle of your procedures as simple as possible.


Emergency procedures should be well documented and bound in a binder or book. Every construction work site and supervisor should have a copy of the emergency procedures. Employees should attend yearly training on emergency procedures and receive copies of the full procedure manual. In addition, training in CPR and first aid techniques are a welcome addition to annual procedure training and could help save a fellow employee's life.

Sample Emergency Procedures

Cuts, Amputations and Small Lacerations

Apply Pressure to the wound. To prevent excessive bleeding it is important to apply direct pressure to a bleeding wound. The injured employee can do this if he is able to, or a co-worker can step in if the injured person is unable to do it himself. If the injury stops bleeding and the employee does not feel that stitches are needed, use the first aid kit to clean and bandage the wound.

Assess the injured worker. If the wound is major, such as a finger ambulation, the injured employee may be in shock. Keep her alert and talking. Elevate the injured limb while continuing to apply direct pressure.

In the case of amputation, workers should locate the finger or limb as soon as possible. Wrap the amputated part in a plastic bag or towel and put it on ice if available. If there is no ice available, put the amputated part in a cooler.

For amputated fingers or other body parts, you must call 911. Even if the employee insists that he can be driven to the hospital, company policy mandates calling 911. For cuts and lacerations, however, a fellow employee may drive the injured worker to the hospital for stitches.

Continue to assess the injured worker for signs of shock. These include passing out, feeling light headed, weakness and talking incoherently. Remember to leave the injured worker lying down with the injury elevated until emergency personal arrive. Use CPR skills as needed if the injured employee goes into shock.

Notify the supervisor after emergency personal have taken over the situation. Do not disturb the work site because management will want to see the accident scene and discuss the incident with all staff.

Fill out an incident report and turn it in to the supervisor within three days of the accident.

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