Construction is booming across the United States. New projects are being completed in every state, including a significant number of sites in Utah. Within these dynamic work areas, a high rate of injuries is all too common. The construction industry is known for its many risks, primarily in the injuries of construction workers. Site owners and managers continually seek ways of reducing the chances of a serious or fatal injury. Although Utah heavy construction insurance is a critical risk management tool, preventing accidents in the first place makes sense. In this guide, we will explore the key strategies for preventing construction site accidents.
Common Accidents in Utah Construction Sites
Construction workers are often exposed to hazardous conditions and equipment as part of daily operations. As such, they are at risk of experiencing an injury. Sometimes, these injuries prove fatal. In 2018, about 21% of all worker deaths occurred in the construction industry, with 1008 fatalities reported to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA reports that the so-called “fatal four” are responsible for most worker injuries and deaths. The “fatal four” are:
- Object strikes
- Caught in/caught between incidents
Workers on scaffolding or exposed to heights in construction zones are susceptible to falls. While many of these falls result in minor injuries, about 300 workers died from falls in 2018, according to OSHA. Equipment and falling debris account for the majority of object strikes. Electrocutions resulting from contact with electrical wiring and systems may cause minor injuries like burns or loss of sensation, but in severe cases can kill workers. And, with so many operations taking place with equipment, movement of materials, and vehicles, the chances of being caught in or pinched between vehicles is high. Again, many such incidents result in minor injuries, but others can be fatal. These common accidents reinforce the need for robust Utah heavy construction insurance as well as safety-oriented workplace practices to prevent injuries or deaths.
Preventing Construction Site Accidents: Five Strategies
Employers have a responsibility to provide their workers with safe workplaces. Even though construction sites are potentially hazardous workplaces, certain strategies can help reduce injury rates, thus reducing the burden on Utah heavy construction insurance policies and associated claims. The top five prevention strategies are:
Safety training of workers – training is a critical part of any workplace, and in the construction industry, safety training must take priority. Training of new employees on safe work practices is always a smart solution, as is retraining workers on a regular basis.
Access to and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) – employers should require the use of PPE whenever workplace hazards necessitate them. PPE can include hard hats, respirators, protective shoes and gloves, and safety harnesses for workers on scaffolding or elevated frameworks. This equipment must be readily available to workers as required by regulatory agencies.
Regular safety briefings – weekly or even daily briefings on construction site safety have been shown to reduce a high number of minor injuries. During these briefings, workers can be alerted to changing conditions within the construction site as well as any new equipment or procedures they need to be aware of.
Fall prevention – use of harnesses can prevent falls, as can the use of safety railings, netting, and barriers. Construction sites should be kept free of slip and trip hazards as well; a ground-level fall may still result in a serious injury if hazards are present.
Hazard identification and mitigation – to promote safe workplaces, site managers and team leaders must take the steps needed to identify potential hazards and to alert others of their presence. If possible, these hazards should be eliminated. Certain hazards can be marked with signage or banners if they are not able to be eliminated.
More Safety Strategies for Construction Sites
With the above strategies and with the protection afforded by Utah heavy construction insurance, construction workers can expect safer workplaces. Still, there are other tools construction site managers can use to ensure the safest workplaces possible. These tools include:
- Providing reporting mechanisms for workers who spot hazards.
- Following all OSHA safety guidelines.
- Performing maintenance and repairs on vehicles and equipment to ensure proper function.
- Keeping workplaces clean and organized.
- Fostering a safety-oriented workplace culture through training and safety awareness.
Utah heavy construction insurance is the foundation of risk management in the state’s construction industry. With safety-oriented workplace practices and tools, the industry can continue to provide its valuable services while protecting construction workers from many common injury sources.
About BTC Insurance Services
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