by ASHLEY ORGAN, HCSS
This article was originally published to the HCSS blog on February 17, 2016.
Some of the most dangerous jobs on a construction site are those which seem the most innocuous. The way in which equipment is used and having the right construction safety systems in place on site can have a major impact on the safety of everyone.
Machines and equipment
Using tools and machinery is a vital part of almost every construction job. This is part of the reason why it's also one of the tasks most likely to cause injury. Prolonged use of tools like hand drills, power saws and other vibrating equipment can cause a condition called hand arm vibration syndrome, also known as "blue finger." According to the Alcumus Group, HAVS is one of the most common injuries cited by former construction workers in compensation claims.
Another common cause of injury stems from improper machine operation. Heavy machinery like cranes or excavators are essential for completing major construction projects. But too often, workers operating these machines are not adequately trained. This can lead to a variety of adverse consequences.
Power lines and other structures
Electrocution claims an average of three construction workers' lives each year. Without following proper safety regulations and allowing time for training, mistakes are bound to happen. This applies to structural collapse as well, which can result from a myriad of oversights in safety training and planning. Trench collapse is another serious threat to worker safety that often goes unrecognized. In addition, objects falling from structures can prove especially deadly. Even something as seemingly harmless as a bucket can gain enough speed to injure or kill someone from a significant height.
Laborers around the world are still working to contain the threat of asbestos, a hazardous building material that can cause respiratory diseases and cancer. Improper handling of other toxic substances on the construction site still accounts for many injuries every year.