10 Often-Neglected Construction Hazards

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, one out of five worker deaths in 2018 happened in construction. The high number of risks on construction work sites requires supervisors and workers to stay vigilant. By understanding commonly neglected construction site hazards, you can improve your team's safety through proactive measures. Keep reading to learn about 10 job site hazards that construction crews often overlook.

1. Falls

Fall hazards require close attention, regardless of height, site conditions and job length. All team members who work on sites with fall risks should have regular fall protection training. They also need to use protection equipment correctly and at all times while working near a fall hazard.

2. Scaffolding

Improper scaffolding use and installation can put workers at risk of accidents and dangerous structural failures. Everyone involved in a scaffolding job should have a solid scaffolding structure, experienced supervision and constant awareness of their surroundings.

3. Trenches

Trenches need careful protection and inspection to reduce the risk of collapse. Always inspect trenches before entry and after hazard-increasing events like rain. The majority of trenches require protective systems, and deep trenches should have a system designed by a professional engineer.

4. Equipment risks

Incorrect heavy equipment operation creates hazards for the operator and surrounding workers. Ensure that all of your operators have the training and certification required for their machines. When renting unfamiliar equipment, ask the dealer if they have any training or demonstration services.

5. Lack of personal protective equipment (PPE)

Hard hats, goggles, hi-vis clothing and other PPE protect workers from unexpected risks like falling objects and environmental exposure. Provide your team with plenty of PPE for the job and enforce its use.

6. Electrocution

Power lines, utilities and improper use of electrical equipment can put workers at risk of electrocution. Understand the distance requirements for power lines and only let properly trained team members handle dangerous electrical equipment.

7. Chemical and environmental exposure

Chemicals, dust and respiratory hazards can cause long-lasting injury without the right PPE. Extreme cold and heat also put workers at risk for environmental exposure, so these conditions require appropriate shelter, climate control and clothing.

8. Distractions

Job site distractions, such as fatigue or mobile device usage, can make employees more prone to hazardous accidents. Work with your team to find ways that they can use their devices responsibly and ensure they take adequate breaks.

9. Stress

Work-related stress can put crew members at a higher risk of fatigue, lower morale and other distractions. Keep an open line of communication with your team and provide clear expectations to help them manage stress on the job.

10. Lack of training and communication

Incidents can happen when workers aren't aware of hazards or don't know how to handle them. Provide hazard briefings for every job site and make training frequent and accessible.

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