Khas Industries

The Fatal 4 Hazards In Construction

CONSTRUCTION: THE FATAL 4 HAZARDS

WHY THE FATAL 4 MATTER:

The fatal 4 construction hazards are falls, being struck by objects, electrocutions and caught in or between an object. These matter because they account for over 57% of all construction industry related deaths and if these can be eliminated then over 435 lives can be saved annually.

The guide below goes over why each of these hazards occur and what you can do to prevent them.

1) FALLS

WHY THEY HAPPEN:

Lack of safety equipment like guardrails, unprotected openings like skylights in roofs and not wearing protective equipment like harnesses can all lead to falls happening. Additionally, poor or inadequate equipment like ladders which are not secured or scaffolding that collapses can also lead to falls. Lastly a lack of adequate safety training for new workers may also result in falls as insufficient training would mean undervaluing safety which would lead to more risky behavior and consequently to more falls occurring.

HOW TO PREVENT THEM:

Performing a hazard assessment before beginning work is extremely important because it will ensure you can identify the risks present and prepare accordingly. Moreover, having inspections of vital equipment like guardrails, scaffolding and ladders before undertaking projects at height can prevent serious injuries. Focus on ensuring that scaffolding and ladders are properly installed and secured before undertaking any work on them. Ensure that when ascending heights you are using the appropriate safety equipment like harnesses connected to safety points(points which can handle 5000 pounds per person attached). Finally creating an emergency plan in case a fall does occur can help minimize the extent of injuries faced by workers.

2) STRUCK BY OBJECT:

WHY THEY HAPPEN:

In simple terms, struck by injuries are injuries resulting from impact from objects. They can occur as a result of flying objects, falling objects, swinging objects and rolling objects.

Common causes of these injuries include inadequate training for power tool use, lack of personal protective equipment on the site, removal of engineering safety guards, workers entering swing radiuses for cranes and equipment malfunction.

HOW TO PREVENT THEM:

People are often struck by objects in particularly vulnerable areas like their eyes and their heads. It is vital to wear PPE like helmets at any construction site to minimize risks from flying, falling, swinging and rolling objects. Secondly, essential safety training for risky tools like nail guns is essential to ensure that no one suffers unnecessary injuries. Moreover, ensure to stay away from heavy equipment like cranes and backhoes and in particular stay away from their swinging radius to prevent injuries from swinging objects. Furthermore, maintain safe driving practises when operating motor vehicles such as avoiding going into reverse gear when rear view is obstructed and parking all vehicles when not in use by using the parking brake.

3) ELECTROCUTIONS:

WHY THEY HAPPEN:

Electrocution is death resulting from being exposed to powerful electrical energy. Common electrical hazards also include burns, fires and explosions. Electrical risks arise from buried and overhead power lines that carry extremely high voltage. Often just coming into contact with these power lines leads to electrocution. Power line coverings in many cases are primarily for weather protection rather than protection from electrocution hence any contact with these can lead to fatal consequences. Electrocution can also result from a person’s body becoming part of the electrical circuit. This comes as a result of either touching two parts of a circuit, one wire of a circuit and the ground, or coming in contact with a conductor of the circuit. Finally improper use of extension cords can also cause electrocution. Extension cords are often used on sites to connect power tools but damage to extension cords can expose wiring which can lead to electric shock due to increased conductivity for current.

HOW TO PREVENT THEM:

For power lines, the best way to minimize exposure is to keep a safe distance away from them. This depends on the voltage running through the power line. The greater the voltage the further the distance that should be kept to prevent electrocution. Additional measures that can be taken include insulating the power line using sleeves or de-energizing it to prevent electrical shocks from accidental exposure. Furthermore, using non-conductive equipment like non conductive ladders and tools can provide additional protection from power lines. For buried power lines, clearly mark out where the power line is and ensure to dig around the surrounding area to ensure there is no accidental contact with it. Using circuit breakers which break the flow of electricity like Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters or GFCIs can also aid in minimizing the damage from electric shock. Lastly performing a cautionary check on the equipment before using will prevent chances of electric shock as any loose or bare wires can easily be detected and fixed before use.

4) CAUGHT IN OR BETWEEN HAZARDS:

WHY THEY HAPPEN:

Being Caught in or being caught between hazards in construction result from unguarded machinery with rotating parts, cave-ins of trenches or excavations and lastly from being pinned between objects such as a piece of equipment and a solid wall that can all result in fatalities.

For rotating machinery it is vital to ensure that the guards are not removed during use as this can often lead to serious consequences such as amputations. For example, with circular saws the guards protect your fingers from coming into contact with the blade which would otherwise crush your fingers.

Cave-ins whilst working in unprotected trenches are a huge reason for fatalities in construction. These result because the trenches are not adequately protected and sudden collapse will result in an enormous amount of soil falling over you which can cause both asphyxiation due to being buried underneath and being crushed by the weight of the soil itself.

Lastly you can become pinned due to coming between different hazards which leads to crushing injuries and can also cause fatalities. For example, if you come from an area that is a blind spot for a heavy equipment operator like a bulldozer operator you can easily get caught between the bulldozer and a solid object like a wall which can cause severe injuries.

HOW TO PREVENT THEM:

One basic step is to ensure that you never remove guards for machinery that has moving parts as those guards are designed specifically for your protection. Removing the guards will expose you to unnecessary risks which could have potentially fatal consequences. Also for machinery with moving parts ensure you avoid wearing loose clothing which can get caught in the mechanism and then pull you into the machine itself. Secondly when performing repairs on machinery with moving parts, it is vital to ensure that the equipment is de-energized by ensuring that the power source is locked out which will prevent accidental startup of machinery which can cause severe accidents. Another essential safety measure is to ensure you maintain distance from heavy equipment like tractors and excavators to prevent being pinned by these vehicles. If approaching the vehicle make sure you get visual acknowledgement from the operator and that the operator powers off the machine before you approach. For operators it is important to wear seat belts so that they can avoid being crushed by heavy vehicles tipping over. When working in trenches or on excavation sites, it is vital to have trench protection like shoring and benching which can prevent trench cave-ins. Finally providing workers with adequate training around construction site safety is another essential step to minimizing accidents and injuries.

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