The construction worksite is a dangerous one, and the potential for accidents is high. However, many on-the-job accidents can be avoided by focusing on safe practices and taking necessary precautions.

Most accidents are caused by an unsafe act, an unsafe working condition or a combination of the two. For example, a worker could fall off a ladder that was not secured properly – an accident caused by the unsafe act of not securing the ladder. Or, a damaged ladder could cause a fall, and that would be the result of an unsafe condition. But, that unsafe condition was caused by the unsafe act of not inspecting the ladder prior to use. In either instance, the accident could have been prevented by following proper safety precautions before using the ladder.

Hazards You May Encounter

Because your job has such a high potential for on-the-job hazards, it’s important to understand what causes accidents so that you can avoid them whenever possible. While it is impossible to list all of the hazards you may encounter while working, common ones include:

  • Using defective equipment
  • Not using proper protective equipment
  • Removing guards from equipment
  • Using tools improperly
  • Unsafe handling of materials
  • Horseplay
  • Failure to secure tools or materials either on the ground or on an overhead surface

Safe Steps to Avoid Accidents

The first step to keeping yourself and co-workers safe is to stay alert on the job and don’t let routine or familiarity lure you into carelessness. Always observe safety precautions before and during a task, even if those precautions make the task more inconvenient or take longer to complete. Cutting corners may not seem like a big deal, but doing so is a primary cause of accidents.

Next, know your job. The more you know about your job, the safer you’ll be. Know the proper procedures and safety precautions for any task you do, and if any questions arise during your workday, be sure to talk to your supervisor.

And finally, make a personal contribution. A good way to start this is to follow all safety rules, even if you think they are unnecessary or slow you down. Certain rules on the job are made for your protection, so follow them. Also, just because an unsafe act is not specifically prohibited, it doesn’t mean you should do it. Use your common sense when evaluating if an act is safe or not – there may be a very easy way to make it safer if you stop to think it through.

Focus on Good Habits

It’s human nature to work yourself into habits, and when you break a safety rule, you’ve taken the first and most influential step in forming a bad habit — a habit that can lead to an injury. Good habits, such as noticing unsafe conditions, following safety procedures and wearing proper personal protective equipment, are just as easy to form.

Develop a safe attitude! This is probably one of the most difficult things to face because most of us have the mistaken notion that it’s always someone else who gets hurt, never us. If we all do our share in observing safety rules and staying alert for unsafe conditions, everyone will benefit.

Content: Zywave, Inc.