How Construction is Building a Better Safety Percentage on the Job
Ask any construction worker and they'll tell you the same: jobsites are dangerous work environments.
Fortunately, construction companies and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are doing all they can to ensure worker safety at the jobsite.
When it comes to workplace well-being, here are just a few ways the construction industry is keeping employees safe while on the job.
Accidents at construction sites are a serious matter.
In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that out of some 4,175 worker deaths in private industry for the calendar year 2012, nearly 20 percent were in construction.
The top causes of worker fatalities at construction sites included falls, being hit by an object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. Those four means of death accounted for more than 54 percent of construction worker fatalities in 2012.
Because of this, it's crucial among things for construction workers to wear highly visible, reflective clothing while at the jobsite.
Brightly colored vests, shirts, and pants complete with reflective strips are the best way for workers to stand out among the mechanical equipment and jobsite obstacles common among construction sites.
With highly visible clothing, crane operators, cement truck drivers, and other workers will see each other coming a mile away.
Regular safety meetings
Construction companies that have their workers' well-being in mind should hold safety meeting on a regular basis. Safety meetings help keep everyone on the job up to date on new and changing hazards at the jobsite.
Safety meetings should be held a minimum of once a day before the workday begins as well as anytime a major change occurs to the layout of the construction site.
During safety meetings, jobsite contractors can also check that all workers are wearing the appropriate safety and protective gear.
Much like the reflective clothing mentioned above, protective gear also keeps workers safe if and when an accident occurs.
Aside from requiring all workers to have catastrophic health insurance, construction companies should ensure that all workers entering the jobsite are wearing protective gear.
Protective gear includes hard hats, long, durable pants, gloves, and steel toed boots.
In addition, there is other protective gear that is required for particular construction jobs like safety goggles, particle masks, and full-body harnesses for work that take place at certain heights.
Sun exposure and hydration
Sometimes accidents and injuries on the jobsite aren't a direct result of the construction work. Such is the case with injuries that occur from prolonged sun exposure and dehydration on the job.
Most large-scale construction jobs take place outdoors, so workers should wear breathable clothing that covers the majority of otherwise exposed skin.
Additionally, construction companies should provide water hydration stations throughout the jobsite so workers don't suffer the consequences of dehydration.
Injury prevention programs
A great way to inform construction workers about the potential dangers of the jobsite and prevent future injuries is by holding regular injury prevention programs. These programs help workers understand the severity and consequences of a workplace injury, both personally and financially for the company.
In addition, injury prevention programs also help the construction company predict and fix potential workplace hazards before they take place.
From jobsite management to hazard assessment to general education, injury prevention programs help makes the construction world a safer place.
From safety meetings to prevention programs, construction companies are doing all they can to improve safety standards on the jobsite.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including jobsite safety and workplace insurance.
Environment Agency clamps down on plastic films and wraps
Businesses in the waste and construction industries must ensure they deal with waste plastic properly to stop illegal exports, the Environment Agency (EA) has warned.
The warning comes as the Agency is increasingly aware of plastic film and wrap from the construction and demolition sector being illegally exported.
Exports are frequently being classified as ‘green list’ waste of low risk to the environment, but are often contaminated with materials such as mud, sand, bricks and wood, posing a risk to the environment and human health overseas, and undermining legitimate businesses in the UK seeking to recover such waste properly.
During the last year, the EA has intercepted shipments to prevent the illegal export of this material on numerous occasions. The Agency inspected 1,889 containers at English ports and stopped 463 being illegally exported. This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste.
Those convicted of illegally exporting waste face an unlimited fine and a two-year jail sentence. But construction firms could also face enforcement action if contaminated construction and demolition waste plastic is illegally exported.
Malcolm Lythgo, Head of Waste Regulation at the Environment Agency, said it is seeing a marked increase in the number of highly contaminated plastic film and wrap shipments from the construction and demolition industry being stopped by officers.
“I would strongly urge businesses to observe their legal responsibility to ensure waste is processed appropriately, so we can protect human health and the environment now and for future generations. It’s not enough just to give your waste to someone else - even a registered carrier. You need to know where your waste will ultimately end up to know it’s been handled properly. We want to work constructively with those in the construction and waste sectors so they can operate compliantly, but we will not hesitate to clamp down on those who show disregard for the environment and the law.”
There are a number of simple, practical steps that businesses can take to ensure that C&D site waste is handled legally.
Construction businesses should check what’s in their waste
- Different waste types need different treatments and so must be correctly categorised to ensure it goes to a site that is authorised to handle it safely. Businesses can also check if their waste is hazardous as different rules might apply.
- If you are removing the waste yourself, you must be a registered waste carrier- registration can be carried out here. When a waste collector is transporting your site waste, you must check they have a waste carrier’s licence from the EA.
- You must also check that the end destination site any waste is taken to is permitted to accept it and has the right authorisations in place. Keep a record of any waste that leaves your site by completing a waste transfer note or a consignment note for hazardous waste which record what and how much waste you have handed over and where it is going.
Waste management industry must adhere to export controls
- Contaminated C&D waste plastic - including low-density polyethylene (LDPE) wrap and film - must be exported with prior consent from the EA as well as competent authorities in transit and destination countries.
- Those involved in the export of such waste must ensure that it meets the requirements set under the relevant export controls, such as being almost free-from contamination; the destination sites are appropriately licensed to receive and treat the waste; and waste is correctly managed once received.
The EA will continue to actively target those who export contaminated C&D plastic waste illegally, including any accredited packaging exporters who issue Packaging Waste Export Recovery Notes (PERNs) against such material in breach of their Conditions of Accreditation.
Businesses involved in the shipment of waste are required to take all necessary steps to ensure the waste they ship is managed in an environmentally sound manner throughout its shipment and during its recycling.
Anyone with information regarding the illegal export of waste including C&D waste plastics can contact the EA’s Illegal Waste Exports team at: [email protected] or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website