7 Ways For Construction Workers to Stay Safe on the Job

Construction workers literally build our cities and neighborhoods from the ground up, but the work they do can come with a cost.

7 Ways For Construction Workers to Stay Safe on the Job

It can be dangerous. Construction accidents represent the majority of workplace fatalities, with many more injuries reported every single year. Some of those injuries result in life-long disabilities that make returning to work impossible.

You aren’t guaranteed to experience an accident if you work in construction. You just have to be aware of possible dangers and know how to stay safe so those dangers don’t result in a life-changing accident.

Stretch Before Work

Construction work can take a toll on your body. All that physical labor, at least eight hours a day, sometimes more than five days a week, has the potential to increase your risk of injury.

You can prevent some injuries by stretching before you begin work for the day. It gives you the opportunity to warm up your muscles and work on your range of motion so you don’t pull a muscle or overextend an arm or a leg.

Take 10 or 15 minutes before work every day to focus on stretching your:

  • Neck with exercises like rotating your chin from shoulder to shoulder
  • Legs with exercises like touching your toes without bending your knees
  • Shoulders by rolling them upward, backward, downward, and forward
  • Chest by squeezing your should blades together
  • Core by rotating left and right while sitting in a chair
  • Arms by bending your elbow, grasping it with your free hand, and pushing it behind your head

Inspect Tools and Equipment Often

Construction workers regularly use dangerous equipment. From power tools and saws to cranes and bulldozers, it’s easy to lose a finger, break a leg, or worse in a split second.

Not only is it important to know how to properly operate the equipment, but it’s also extremely important to inspect the tools you use regularly.

Chances are, there’s a schedule you’re supposed to follow when it comes to inspecting tools and equipment. Follow it. Even if you just checked it yesterday and you’re tempted to skip the inspection today, do it anyway. Rain damage, wear and tear, and even tampering can make a tool that was safe to use yesterday unsafe today.

Look over especially dangerous equipment, but make sure you look at regular hand tools too. Breaking a handle on a screwdriver can send the handle flying or ram your hand down the shaft, resulting in an injury.

Wear the Right Gear

Know what kind of equipment you need to wear according to the project you’re working on, and don’t be afraid to request a piece of PPE (personal protective equipment), even if you don’t need it. For example, you might request ear plugs even though no one else is using them.

Not only is it important to wear the right gear, but it’s also important to wear gear that fits. If your hard hat is too loose or you're wearing a mask that's too tight, don't be afraid to speak up. You can’t do your job properly if you’re uncomfortable. Not to mention, ill-fitting PPE can result in a serious injury.

Keep Work Areas Clear

It’s easy for things to pile up on a work site, but extra tools and equipment strewn about on tables and the ground have the potential to cause injuries. Not to mention, having to move tools out of the way so you can work on the next task is annoying.

Keeping your work area clear also means keeping it clear of people. Put up fencing and other barriers to keep onlookers away, but you should also clear other workers from the area. If there isn’t a direct reason for another worker to be there, they should leave to make more space for the work being done.

Take Your Time

Rushing through tasks actually kills your productivity, but on a construction site, it can also have disastrous consequences. Corners are often cut, which means an accident is likely, either now or in the future.

Slow down and take your time when completing tasks to ensure they are done properly to prevent injuries.

You should also slow down and take your time when setting up the jobsite too. Even though you may want to get to work right away, doing things like making sure the scaffolding is secure and the sawhorses are set up properly can help you avoid serious accidents.

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

It can be difficult to speak up at work, regardless of your job, but when you work in construction, it is extremely important to share information that could prevent an accident.

Notify your supervisor if you notice another worker isn’t using a particular tool correctly, or if they aren’t wearing the right gear.

Don’t be afraid to say no either. If someone asks you to work with a tool you aren’t trained to use, for example, you should tell them that they have to find someone else to help.

Use Your Sick Time When You Need It

It can be difficult to take time off of work when you’re part of a construction team, but it’s so important when it comes to keeping everyone safe. If you aren’t feeling well, you’re more likely to experience an accident, and you’re likely to get everyone else around you sick too.

Don’t just take time off when you’re sick. Your likelihood of experiencing an accident is greater if your head isn’t where it should be while you’re at work.

A few other reasons to call in sick include:

  • Processing grief
  • Dealing with a family emergency
  • Car and household repairs
  • Caring for a loved one
  • Taking a mental health day

Working in the construction industry can be extremely fulfilling, but it can also be extremely dangerous. No matter how long you’ve been working, it’s important to follow the tips on this list so you can prevent accidents from happening on the jobsite.