The Bureau of Labor Statistics released alarming information regarding construction workers in a 2012 Economic News Release. The study revealed 4,383 work injuries, a number that increased 5 % in comparison to 2011’s findings. This information has caused many in the field to focus on ways to improve safety. Whether renovating a home, installing windows or assisting with commercial building projects; construction workers play a vital role in building America’s most grandiose dreams. If you are in the industry, here are a few tips to keep you safe.
#1 – Prevent Falls from the Start
With over 65 % of those in the construction industry using a scaffold regularly, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, planning for the risk that comes with an elevated project is critical. In fact, planning is one of the simplest ways to prevent injuries. If you are expecting to work on a project that requires you to labor above six feet, you should make sure that you have the proper fall protection equipment such as a safety harness, belt or ascender.
Ladder safety is also significant. Inspect equipment thoroughly beforehand. You should also avoid slippery surfaces, unstable floors and vulnerable edges. Most importantly, never sit on a skylight. When it doubt, never ever take chances above the ground.
#2 – Make Sure That You Are Lifting Properly
The Bureau of Labor Statistics study also reported back problems as the number one complaint among construction workers. You can prevent back injury by knowing how to lift properly. Although you may be strong enough to lift items alone, it is okay to ask a team member for help.
You should also always use equipment to handle large loads. Forklifts, dolly’s and hand trucks were created with your safety in mind. Another common mistake is using your back to lift. Your legs should be used to both lift and turn. Avoid lifting items above your shoulder level and break the load up if necessary.
#3 – Get Good Gear
Safety gear is imperative and helmet use is not up for debate. Helmets are specifically designed to prevent head injuries that can occur in the event of an unexpected fall. If you are required to use a tool belt, be sure to evaluate your set before the job. Make sure that you have the necessary fasteners, nail set, hammer, screwdriver and pencil. Invest in high quality tools that meet current industry standards. Suspenders are another way to save your back if you are using a wide belt.
Boots, glasses and gloves are also essential. Steel toe boots are highly recommended. They can protect your feet from sudden falling objects or sharp items. Boots also serve to stabilize your ankle should you come across a shaky surface. Protecting your hands is also required for using certain equipment or tools. Gloves may or may not be necessary based on the job, but when required do take heed.
These are just a few tips to help you stay safe, but there are tons of other resources available. Don’t be afraid to ask your team members or leaders for help. Asking questions is completely harmless.