Construction Industry Risks

MEMIC data analysis indicates the following are areas of concern in the construction industry.

The analysis looks at construction industry injuries from January 1st, 2013 through October 11th, 2017. Below is a list of problems with recommended solutions that — if put into practice — can help make your place of business safer.

1. Inexperience
More than one third of the accidents in construction involve workers who have less than one year of service. These accidents can best be controlled through three programs:

  • Employee Selection Process which includes job application, reference checks, in-depth interviews and placement physicals.
  • Employee Orientation Programs which are conducted by the immediate supervisor, introducing the employee to company policies and the scope of a project, as well as tools-and-process training.
  • Medical Management Program which identifies a specific medical facility/doctor which is agreeable to working with you in returning employees back to work or alternative duty work as soon as they are able. The longer the employee is away from work, the more it costs the company.

2. Lack of Effective Supervision
Well-trained supervisors will manage well-planned jobs and will ultimately produce safe and productive job sites. Many supervisors are promoted into a supervisory position because of their technical ability or productivity. This does not mean that he or she is ready for the human relations challenges of making people accountable for safety and productivity.

  • Supervisor Training. Train your supervisors in human relations skills, behavior-based management and their responsibility toward safe production. We can help through our supervisory management training programs.
  • Make accountability to work safely a part of the job. Just as productivity is valued, safe work environments should be too. Make safety a part of every supervisor’s job performance appraisal.

3. Slips, Trips, and Falls

Of the injuries that occur in the construction industry, 26% are caused by slips, trips, and falls. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls to lower levels accounted for nearly 40% of workplace fatalities in the construction industry in 2015. Here are some simple ways to prevent these injuries and fatalities:

  • Routine housekeeping practices are generally not followed on construction sites. By effectively managing these housekeeping hazards, exposures to injury will be significantly reduced.
  • Maintaining proper worksite access through careful and routine maintenance of equipment such as ladders, scaffolds, walkways, and the use of proper tools and equipment is important in significantly reducing injuries.
  • Fall protection is critical. A strictly enforced fall protection policy should be in place. Anyone who is in a position of falling 6 feet or more should always use fall protection equipment 

4. Inadequate Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment appears three times on OSHA’s Top 10 Most Frequently Cited list for the construction industry.  Fall protection, eye and face protection, and head protection made the list.

  • Protective Equipment. Inexpensive personal protective equipment is available on the market today. It is unreasonable to see people working without basic protection including: eye wear, hardhats, hard-toe boots and any other equipment which makes it easier for the worker to get the job done effectively and safely.

5. Material Handling

The Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that, in 2015, sprains, strains, and tears were responsible for 37% of missed work day injuries. Too often, customer loading/unloading sites are not safe, or proper machinery is not available. Drivers, for instance, sometimes feel an obligation to complete a job and will load or unload without proper assistance. To avoid potential injuries, employers should require workers to:

  • Use and maintain lift-aid equipment such as cranes, hand carts, dollies, and stationary rollers (rather than lifting by hand) whenever possible.
  • When materials must be moved by hand, use appropriate body positioning. Avoid lifting from the floor level. Avoid extended reaching away from the body or overhead when moving materials.
  • Ask for help when lifting heavy or bulky objects.