Construction workers face different kind of safety and health hazards while in their work sites everyday. By its very nature, construction is an inherently dangerous job. Many risky manoeuvres, like lifting heavy objects to great heights and excavation, are carried out routinely in order to achieve a goal. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists the top four causes of fatalities in construction as falls, struck-by, caught-in/between and electrocutions.
Construction site falls come in two categories: falls on the same level and falls from a higher level to a lower level. Construction site falls can occur in situations involving the use of ladders, either fixed or movable. Falls can occur as a result of poor housekeeping practices that could lead to liquid spills, lack of proper safety belts, lack of proper safety nets and lack of proper guardrails and lifelines. Construction falls could occur where there are unguarded openings in trenches, floors and other areas on the construction site. Construction falls can occur when scaffolds and platforms are not properly erected, inspected or maintained. Construction falls could be as a result of slippery work surfaces, which could be the result of any number of factors, such as snow on outside scaffolds. Also, construction falls can occur when workers lose their balance while trying to move large objects on an elevated work area.
Struck-by hazards occur when construction workers are struck by objects or materials, such as equipment and vehicles. This type of construction hazard is usually the result of poor training, poor planning and unsafe work practices. Struck-by hazards can occur when equipment like power tools and machinery are improperly guarded. Other struck-by hazards occur when materials or equipment are not stored properly and while pulling, lifting, pushing or carrying materials or equipment. Also, struck-by hazards occur during loading, storage, unloading and sorting of materials.
Getting-caught hazards are divided into three categories: caught-in, caught-on and caught-between. Construction workers can catch a limb in unguarded openings on working surfaces and equipment. Construction workers stand the risk of getting caught in a cave-in or a confined space. Construction workers can face caught-on hazards when their hair or limbs get stuck in fixed or moving projections. Caught-between hazards can occur when workers are caught in between two objects in operations where two moving objects are moving towards each other or where one moving object is moving towards a stationary one.
Electrocution hazards occur in both in-plant and outdoor construction projects. This type of hazard could be a result of contact with power lines, improper use of equipment, improper electrical installation and lack of ground fault current interrupter.
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