Did you know that working in construction is one of the most dangerous career choices in the United States? It’s sad but true. About 20% of worker fatalities in 2018 were in the construction industry.
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise considering construction workers commonly spend long hours in the hot sun surrounded by hazardous equipment. Not to mention other workers who may not be paying quite as much attention as they should.
If you’re in the construction industry, it’s vital that you create a construction safety plan to ensure you don’t become part of the statistic. And if you aren’t sure what tips and tricks should make up that plan, wonder no longer, because we’re here to help! Listed below are eight tips to keep in mind to stay safe on the job.
Now then, let’s get started!
1. Stay Hydrated
You may think you drink enough water, but if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Heat-related illnesses and emergencies are much more likely for construction workers than most other occupations.
Especially if it’s a hot day, you should be drinking water every 15 to 20 minutes, even if you don’t feel thirsty. And the extra water will not only help to prevent injury but will also improve your overall health!
2. Stay Focused
There’s nothing wrong with bringing a stereo to the job site to listen to music while you work, but you want to make sure that it’s not so loud that you can’t hear your surroundings.
Stay alert and focused at all times. This includes keeping your cellphone in your pocket or otherwise out of sight. If you need to make a call or read a message, step away from any hazards before allowing yourself to become distracted.
3. Don’t Forget SPF
It’s easy to forget sunscreen; in fact, only about 14% of men wear some type of SPF when working or playing outside. But in order to stay healthy and avoid disease, sunscreen is a must.
You’re spending 8 hours a day in the blazing sun! Keep a tube of SPF 15 or higher in your toolbelt and apply it every few hours or so to fight harmful rays.
4. Maintain Proper Posture
Like sunscreen, allowing yourself to slump into poor posture is easy. You’ve probably heard that office work is bad for your back and neck, but standing all day isn’t great either.
Make sure you’re paying attention to your posture, correcting yourself every so often if you feel yourself hunching. Also, considering picking up yoga or other body alignment or stretching exercises to decrease back and joint pain.
5. Protect Your Hands and Feet
Invest in high-quality boots and gloves. Good boots will not only improve any back pain you may be experiencing but will also protect your toes from falling objects and stray nails.
Your boots should have a steel toe and your gloves should be durable enough to keep your hands safe from cuts, punctures, and chemicals. Just be careful not to choose gloves that are so thick you’re unable to handle tools safely.
6. Protect Your Head and Face
Always wear a hardhat and eye protection while on the job site. It’s essential that both pieces of equipment fit as snugly as possible without causing discomfort. The last thing you want is a shard of wood or metal to fly into your eye because your glasses slid down your face.
As a construction worker, it’s understandable that you would start to neglect your safety. Spending every day around these conditions will make you insensitive to the risks. But it’s important to keep your safety in mind, no matter how comfortable you get on the job.
7. Always Use a Three-Point Grip
Construction workers are no strangers to ladders, scaffolding, and other precarious positions, but once again, comfort does not mean safety. To prevent slips or falls, you should maintain a three-point grip when you climb.
This means at least three things should be touching the rungs at all times: either two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand. Now, even if you practice excellent safety, accidents can still happen.
If you’re injured on the job, read more here to find out what steps you can take.
8. Inspect Equipment Before and After Use
Last but not least, inspect your equipment, including tools and safety gear, before and after each use. Broken or cracked equipment increases your risk of injury severely.
When you arrive on the job site, inspect your helmet and safety goggles for any cracks or holes. And before using any tools, particularly power tools, ensure that they’re in proper working order.
Use These Tips to Build a Construction Safety Plan
Well, there you have it! By using these tips, you can build a construction safety plan that will help you stay safe on the job. That way you can come home from work every day unharmed, which of course, is the most important thing.
Remember, start with the basics. It’s important to put your health first. Drink plenty of water, never go out without sunscreen, do your best to maintain proper posture to avoid back and joint pain.
Use caution while on the worksite. Wear protective equipment at all times, keep an eye out for falling objects and your fellow workers, and don’t let familiar surroundings make you forget that you’re in a dangerous environment.
Do you work in the construction industry? Looking for more construction site tips and tricks? Check out our blog!