Safety is of uppermost importance to anyone on a job site. Workers must always be concerned about their personal safety, as well as the safety of their peers. Construction managers and Foremen must be concerned with the health and welfare of their teams, as well as the safety of members of the public who might be near the construction site. Accidents do happen in the construction field. In fact, construction as a whole is generally ranked in the top 10 in terms of deadliest domestic jobs. Roofing, taken as an individual subset of the construction industry, is frequently found among the top five most hazardous jobs. It is important to understand the fundamentals of jobsite safety, as well as some of the extra steps that can be taken to go above and beyond “safe.”
Tool Safety Is Basic – But Important!
A significant percentage of jobsite accidents involve the improper use of hand tools combined with a lack of safety equipment. For example, screwdrivers aren’t chisels, impact tools must use impact bits in order to minimize the possibility of shattering steel drive bits, and wrenches aren’t hammers. These tools are designed for a specific purpose, and using them for the wrong application can be hazardous. Add in a lack of safety equipment, like goggles, protective glasses, hardhats, and gloves, and you have a recipe for moderate to severe injuries on the jobsite.
Prepare For A Fall, Even If You Have Great Balance!
Roofers are some of the hardest working construction workers in the industry. It isn’t uncommon to find a roofer climbing a twenty-foot ladder with a seventy-pound bundle of shingles over his shoulder, with no harness and no safety net as protection. While this isn’t a smart way to operate, it happens – and this is why roofing is generally considered as one of the most hazardous construction jobs today. Roofers are frequently found on steeply pitched roofs, using both of their hands to manipulate necessary roofing materials, tools, and supplies. They are also exposed to the elements and must endure slippery conditions and unforgiving heights. To increase the safety factor for roofers, hardhats should always be worn. Additionally, roofers should wear a properly fitted harness and protective clothing, gloves, and eyewear. Roofers should also consider having materials dropped directly on the roof surface to eliminate having to haul heavy loads up a ladder, as most roofing supply sources will do this for a minimal fee. Lastly, keep compressor hoses tacked down to minimize trip hazards, and take extra precautions when using the roofing nail gun.
Operating Heavy Construction Equipment Requires Extra Caution
Heavy equipment is incredibly effective at accomplishing maximum work in as little time as possible. This is a testament to the power of these big machines – but it is also a fair warning to the unforgiving nature of these diesel-powered beasts. An excavator can frequently do the job of twenty workers, but this power must be respected. A swinging boom arm can cause severe injury or even death, so heavy equipment operators should ensure that their work area is clear and a spotter is watching the overall operation.
Two main concerns with operating heavy equipment in a safe manner are: 1. Eliminate distractions and 2. Ensure the machine is in good working order. While newer machines frequently come with climate controlled cab enclosures, radios, iPod hookups, and other comfort and entertainment features, these can distract and insulate the operator. It is best to focus on the work ahead and keep the radio for the drive home. It is also important to ensure the machine is in peak operating condition. This means that a pre-run inspection is vital – one that focuses on the integrity of cables, hoses, tires and treads, hydraulic systems, brakes, and electronics. This can help the operator discover any potentially dangerous faults in the machine before it is put into service.
Construction workers deal with more work-related injuries than most other workers across the nation. They have to work through cuts, scrapes, and bruises, and frequently endure exposure to dangerous tools and machines, harsh chemicals, and inclement weather. Workers must keep vigilant and watch out for each other on the jobsite. While construction work will always have some element of danger to it, following a few of these basic tips can help fight against some of the injuries and deaths that are reported each year on the jobsite.