Basic job site safety is imperative in the construction industry, where a small mistake could cause a serious injury or even cost you your life. That’s precisely why organizations like OSHA have made a dedicated effort to improve safety and health awareness for all construction workers nationwide.
As of 2009, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that there were 816 fatal accidents on construction sites in the US. This occurrence was more than any other on-the-job fatality rate in other single industry sectors in the US in 2009.
It resulted in almost one out of five work-related deaths in the construction industry that year.
With these statistics in mind, it is more important than ever to pay attention to safety awareness on a construction jobsite. Simply understanding basic safety precautions can work wonders to prevent harmful and even fatal jobsite accidents that have become commonplace in the construction industry today.
The construction industry is in operation year-round, rain or shine. If you commonly find yourself working outdoors, then you need to be well aware of daily weather conditions.
In the cold, make it a priority to protect your hands, feet, and head with proper clothing. Wearing warm clothing that won’t restrict body movement is best to regulate your core temperature while still remaining quick and agile on your feet. If you are working in hot weather, wear clothing that will protect against the sun to reduce the risk of sunburn and heat stroke.
Regardless of the weather, it is critical to drink enough water throughout the day so that you don’t risk dehydration. Dehydration is common in hot climates, but it is also easy to get dehydrated in cold weather when the air is dry and lacking humidity.
In order to protect your health as a construction worker, it is essential to exercise regularly so that your body can withstand the strenuous demands of the job. When it comes to loading and unloading heavy materials, regular exercise will improve core strength and flexibility so that you are less likely to injure your back.
For example, if you are driving a forklift or operating a crane all day long, it will be easier for you to sit comfortably and maneuver materials if you are in good physical shape. This is critically important if you work in an industry where you lift heavy equipment or operate heavy machinery on a day to day basis.
Protection Against Toxic Materials
If you work in an environment where you come into contact with paint, you could be at risk for lead poisoning. This is especially common when working on tunnels, bridges, and elevated highways built several decades ago.
If you are in an environment where you are exposed to toxic chemicals, consult with your physician to have your blood lead level checked regularly as a precaution. In addition, when working with asphalt, don’t breathe in the fumes directly. It is also important to wear protective equipment, like a face mask, when waterproofing, roofing, or paving roads with hot coal tar to reduce the risk of eye, skin, and respiratory irritation.
Most construction workers that experience health issues often make problems worse since it is difficult to take time off of work to treat ailments. As a construction worker, taking necessary precautions will stop health problems before they start.