It’s a fact: Construction worksites are dangerous. According to OSHA, one in five deaths among U.S. workers is in the construction industry.
The good news: even though falls account for 34% of all construction deaths, eliminating falls in construction would save more than 300 lives every year. [BLS]
Other Construction Safety Statistics
• Each year, 10.2 of every 100,000 construction workers suffer a fatal injury, which is the third highest rate of any industry. [BLS]
• Construction “Fatal Four” – falls, struck by an object, electrocutions, caught in or in between an object – together, these account for over 60% of all construction-related deaths. [OSHA]
• Injury and illness rates in construction were 24% higher than they were across all industries on average in 2020. [BLS]
• In 2020, there were 174,100 cases of injuries in the construction sector. [BLS]
OSHA estimates that construction companies save $4 to $6 for every $1 invested in safety programs. [OSHA]
Construction Safety Rules to Consider
- Always wear PPE. PPE reduces workers’ exposure to hazards on the worksite. Common PPE include goggles, helmets, gloves, earmuffs or plugs, boots and high visibility vests and suits.
- Don’t start work without an induction. Every construction worksite has hazards and work operations that are unique to the site. An induction tells workers where to go, what to do and what to avoid. Make sure workers and supervisors know what is happening so they can work safe.
- Be sure to follow sign directions. Signs warn and raise health and safety awareness. You might see prohibition signs, mandatory signs, warning signs, safe condition signs and firefighting equipment signs to name a few. Pay attention to all of these.
- Provide clear instructions. Enable workers (new and seasoned) to be familiar with site operations. Toolbox talks can be an effective way to communicate.
- Keep the site tidy. Pick up debris, loose items, stagnant water, whatever you see. Be sure to clean daily. This will help prevent slips and trips.
- Never put yourself or others at risk. Think safe and act safe on site. You are responsible for your own behavior so be sure to set a good example.
- Never work in unsafe areas. This might include: Only work at heights with suitable guide rails or other fall prevention. Don’t enter unsupported trenches. Make sure you have safe access. Don’t work below crane loads or other dangerous operations.
- Organize and store tools properly. You do not want tools lying around; ensure they are picked up and stored correctl. This will help prevent them from getting damaged or causing injury.
- Use the right equipment for the right job. Use the correct tool to get the job done quickly and safely. Accidents can happen when tools or equipment are misused.
- Have an emergency response plan. You want a plan that will direct workers on what to do when emergencies occur – fire, hazardous spills, etc. It may be best to have a dedicated team responsible for managing emergencies.
- Set up safeguards. Be sure to put engineering controls in place. This might include things such as barriers, fences, safeguards, things that will help isolate people from hazardous areas.
- Do a pre-check on tools and equipment. Ensure the tools you are getting ready to are free of defect or damage.
- Report issues immediately including defects and near misses.