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A construction site is prone to hazards for various reasons. One reason is that a construction site is flocked by many workers who have relevant skills, knowledge, training and experience in various fields and are usually under the control of a contractor. Some of these workers include labourers, plumbers, scaffolders, electricians, decorators, painters, steel erectors, and supervisors such as charge-hands and foremen. Another reason is that heavy and dangerous construction equipment are used there.

This therefore means that all workers have an essential role to play in managing health and safety risks. First, they must be fully aware of the health and safety risks involved in their work on the site and the best way to manage the risks. Second, all site rules and procedures must be duly followed and all risks, regarding all workers and members of the public must be promptly reported. This is necessary because most accidents can be prevented by adhering to simple safety measures and adopting proper working procedures. Workers must also not engage in anything that can endanger them and other persons.

Potential Hazards for Construction Workers

Some of the hazards that are peculiar to construction sites include:

  • Scaffold collapse
  • Falls (from heights)
  • Trench collapse
  • Failure to use proper personal protective equipment
  • Electric shock
  • Arch flash/blast; and
  • Repetitive motion injuries

Adhering to the following safety tips will help guide against accidents and ensure proper response in case any arises.

Personal Safety

  • It is advisable for all construction workers to wear protective equipment.
  • Drinks or drugs should not be taken while work is going on
  • All workers need to pay attention to personal hygiene
  • The workplace may have dangerous objects so you should not play there.
  • If any unsafe condition is noticed, it should be reported to your supervisor.

Adhering to the following safety tips will help guide against accidents and ensure proper response in case any arises.

Tidy Construction Sites

  • Passages should be kept clear all the time.
  • Sort out materials and pile the mup safely.
  • The stacks should not be too high.
  • Beware of floor openings and ensure that they are fenced or covered.
  • Remove refuse as soon as possible.
  • Provide sufficient lighting.
  • Familiarize with the location and the operation of fire – fighting equipment.

Safety Measures

  • Before you operate a machine, ensure that the dangerous part of the machine has been installed with a guard.
  • Avoid going to any area with insufficient lighting as there may be some dangerous places which have not been provided with fencing.
  • Keep vigilant all the time and watch out for moving cranes, hooks or other lifting equipment.
  • Before you use any electrical installation or tool, check the condition of its electric cables.
  • Avoid dragging electric cables on the ground or allowing the cables to come into contact with water.
  • Use electrical tools installed with an earth leakage circuit breaker.
  • Use and handle chemicals with care.

Safety Tips for Workers on Falsework Operation

  • If you are engaged in falsework operation, you should:
  • Check whether the falsework is erected in accordance with the design.
  • Make sure that the falsework is securely erected.
  • Check whether the struts of the falsework are secure.
  • Ensure that the props are erected vertically and arranged at a suitable distance in a row.
  • Report to your supervisor when any unsafe situation is found.

Safety Tips for Workers on Scaffold Operation

  • Do not use scaffolds unless they have been erected by trained workmen and under the supervision of a competent person.
  • Do not use a scaffold unless it has been inspected and certified safe by a competent person before use.
  • Strictly follow the instructions of a competent person. Do not alter the scaffold unless authorized to do so. Do not work on an unfinished scaffold.
  • When it is necessary to work on a mobile scaffold, lock the wheels of the scaffold before you start working.
  • Do not work on a scaffold unless it has been provided with a suitable working platform.

Safety Tips for Workers on Fencing Operation

  • Do not work in a dangerous place unless its floor edges and openings have been installed with secure fencing.
  • If you notice any dangerous places that have not been installed with fencing or the fencing has been damaged, reinstall or repair the fencing. If this is beyond your capability, inform your supervisor at once.

Safety Tips for Workers on Ladder Operation

  • Use a ladder which is of good construction, sound material and adequate strength. Examine the ladder before using it and inspect it at regular intervals.
  • Place the ladder on a level and firm footing.
  • Place the ladder at an appropriate angle.
  • Ensure that the ladder has a sufficient length. The upper end of the ladder should be at least 1 metre above the landing against which the ladder leans.
  • Do not use a ladder unless its upper or lower end has been securely fixed or secured by another worker.
  • If there are electrical installations nearby, do not use metal ladders.
  • If work is carried out 2 metres or more above the floor, use a suitable working platform.

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