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Falls and Slips and Burns, Oh My! The 4 Most Common Construction Site Injuries and How to Prevent Them

January 18, 2022

Filed Under: Safety

At Gray & Son, safety is a top priority on every job site. We strive to create a safe work environment for both our team members as well as those impacted by our work. Working in construction naturally comes with its risks, and OSHA has found that there are four types of construction site injuries that are most commonly reported. By knowing the most common injuries that can occur, we can make better steps towards preventing them on the job.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

In construction, it is important that the appropriate steps are taken to prevent job site injuries from happening. In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that one out of every five worker deaths in a private industry occurred on a construction site. This totaled 1,061 fatalities. In the same year, more than 200,000 nonfatal injuries were sustained.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) works to implement and regulate safety measures on job sites. They have narrowed down the most common hazards on job sites and provided the following steps to prevent them.

Falls

This category includes both falls from heights as well as slips and trips. Due to the unpredictable terrain on a construction site, most falls are the result of uneven surfaces. In addition, improper mounting and dismounting equipment can lead to workers falling and being injured. Ladders are a common piece of equipment involved in fall incidents, as improper ladder use or stabilization can result in serious fall accidents.

The lack of fall protection equipment greatly increases a worker’s chance of suffering an injury from a fall. It is important that all workers be provided with such equipment and be properly trained to use it.

Slips and trips are most often caused by misplaced items or spills and leaks.

Many of the causes of falls, slips, or trips can be avoided. The following measures should be taken to prevent injury:
Ensure that work areas are clean, clear of clutter, and well-lit.
All employees should be using three points of contact when mounting and dismounting from equipment.
Wear shoes with adequate traction.
Follow safety regulations for ladders and train all employees on these rules.
Install and use appropriate fall prevention equipment, including guardrails, personal fall arrest systems, and safety nets.

Struck by an Object

OSHA defines a struck by an object injury as any injury that results from the impact between a person and an object or piece of equipment. Workers who suffer struck-by injuries are most often struck by heavy equipment and vehicles, such as trucks and cranes, falling or flying objects, like tools and flying particles, or concrete or masonry walls that are being constructed.

The key to preventing these incidents is to block off any dangerous areas as well as to ensure that all workers are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Other ways to prevent injuries caused by being struck by an object include:
Stacking materials properly to avoid any falling and sliding objects.
Restrict access to areas that are in close proximity to lifted or suspended loads.
Train employees not to position themselves between fixed and moving objects.
Secure all materials and tools properly to prevent them from falling.
Avoid driving in reverse if your rear view is obstructed.
Verify a reverse signal or backup alarm is installed and functioning properly on all mobile equipment.

Electrocution

Electrocution most commonly results in burns, but it can also lead to more severe injuries such as cardiac arrest and nerve damage. While the risk of electrocution is naturally higher on job sites that have heavy amounts of electric-related work, other projects that may deal with digging near power lines can also come with a higher risk for electrocution.

OSHA regulations focus on covering requirements, proper design and use of electrical equipment, and utilizing electrical protective devices and proper insulation. Other advice for minimizing electrocution incidents include:
Use all required PPE.
Use de-energizing equipment and proper lockout and tag-out procedures.
Train employees to keep a safe distance from parts that are energized.

Caught in/between

Caught in or between accidents occur when a worker is caught between two or more objects. For instance, if a vehicle traps a person against a wall, if a body part is pulled into machinery or if materials collapse on someone. While staying focused on your surroundings is the best way to prevent these injuries, OSHA also provides the following advice for those working in or around a construction site:
Don’t place yourself between heavy equipment and an immovable object.
Don’t put your hands, arms, or feet near moving objects.
Don’t wear loose, long clothing or jewelry that could get caught on moving objects.
Don’t work in unprotected excavation areas or where water is accumulating.
Don’t get in the swing radius of a rotating object.

Implement Safety on Your Worksite

At Gray & Son, safety is a top priority on every job site, no matter the size. We strive to make sure that every worker goes home unharmed at the end of every shift. We implement a variety of safety measures on our job sites, including the ones mentioned above. If you’re interested in learning more about our approach to construction safety or to see if we can help with your next project, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team!