Construction Debris Safety
According to The National Safety Council (tells us that) every seven seconds someone is hurt on the job. Moreover, the fatal injury rate on construction sites is significantly higher than the national average for all occupations. What’s even more staggering is that one in five workplace deaths happen on a construction site, as per Occupational Safety & Health Administration(OSHA).
Trip-and-fall accidents are common on a construction site. As these projects progress, the site becomes littered with debris. These hazards can include:
Broken concrete, bricks and cinder blocks
Discarded ropes, wire spools, and tools that are just “laying around”
Glass panes and broken window frames
Parts of wooden boards, steel beams or those used on scaffolds
Other injuries associated with construction site hazards occur during demolition of old buildings. All of the above materials, and other refuse, is on the ground at demolition sites. And many workers who are clearing up can fall after tripping on this ground litter, even if they’re paying attention.
Preventing Slip, Trip, and Falls on Construction Sites Due to On-Ground Hazards
OSHA reports also tell us that slips, trips, and falls account for half of all days workers spend away from work than all other on-the-job injuries. And it offers these suggestions to help reduce or eliminate them:
Wear comfortable, well-fitting footwear with plenty of “tread.” If the soles of your boots are flat, get a new pair, today!
Wear a hard hat that fits your head snugly.
Help keep passages and walkways clear of obstructions, and wide enough to allow safe passage.
Pick up after yourself and put away tools and equipment after you use them.
Keep outdoor surfaces clean and dry; and treat with sand, salt, or anti-skid adhesive if necessary.
Walk on non-slip floor mats indoors and clean your shoes often. Mats should have beveled edges, lay completely flat, be composed of non-slip materials, and be placed where moisture collects.
Your Contractor’s Responsibilities, and the On-Site Safety Manager’s Role
There are standards all New York City property owners and building contractors must meet to protect you from the hazards of on-ground/floor falls. They include:
Keeping walking surfaces clean and free of water, oil, and grease
Keeping stairwells and steps well lit, with sturdy railings along both sides when possible
Using proper indoor and outdoor lighting, and regularly inspecting it
Regularly inspecting, identifying and correcting ruts, slippery conditions, and other uneven ground on the construction site.
All construction sites must have a safety professional who is certified by the New York City Department of Buildings on-site during all shifts. This person monitors and records all safety hazards and makes certain they are corrected. Anyone can report a hazard to the site safety officer; even if your boss tells you differently. Many times they will tell you to notify just your immediate supervisor, which you should do. But if the hazard is still there the next day, tell the site safety person.
At the recent May kickoff of its annual Construction Safety Week activities, Acting Buildings Commissioner Thomas Fariello noted that, “Safety is everybody’s responsibility. And reinforcing that message of shared duty must be at the center of everything…
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