C+S September 2022 Vol. 8 Issue 9 (web)

software + tech

It’s no secret that accidents are too frequent on construction sites. Job sites are among the most dangerous workplaces in the US. Thousands of people die or are injured on construction sites each year. The con- struction industry has the highest number of fatal accidents. The ac - cident rate at the construction job sites is 71 percent higher than in other work sites. Despite spending on average 2.6 percent of their budget on safety train- ing, on-site safety still needs much improvement to keep workers safe. Here are some construction accident statistics from OSHA: 1. 1 in 5 employee-related deaths in the US is from construction 2. Approximately 1,061 workers die per year as a result of falls 3. OSHA says 60 percent of construction fatalities are from the “Fatal Four” - electrocutions, falls, being struck by an object, and being caught in between machinery 4. Younger and newer workers account for most of the accidents 5. Each year, construction accidents and injuries result in work- ers’ comp claims that cost an estimated $2.5 billion 6. An estimated 130,000 construction workers missed a day of work due to an injury 7. Smaller employers account for approximately 75 percent of injuries According to OSHA, implementing a safety program could save a con- struction company $4-$6 for every $1 put into the safety program. The estimated average cost of a construction injury is $42,000 per person. When employers take the time to implement in-depth safety programs and prioritize safety protocols, their employees are less likely to be injured on the job. Signage, safety huddle, equipment, and training all aim to minimize the number of accidents on the job site. Despite all these efforts, the dynamic nature of construction sites results in injuries and fatalities. Many people continue to get hurt while on the jobsite. Many fatal accidents are preventable. Accidents happen more often when the contractor companies do not adopt safety as a culture. Accidents can result in a work stoppage that can cost everyone involved in the project. On-site safety is as much a culture as it is an accident prevention program. General contractors and sub-contractors can work together to enforce the safety culture both on & off the job site. A culture of safety must be implemented top-down and set by the upper management. Contractors who put safety first will enforce the culture Reducing On-Site Accidents With Culture, Technology and Training By Shanthi Rajan

of safety. A safety office with clear responsibilities for evaluating, ad- vising and implementing safety protocols on and off the field can help build a safety culture. Giving priority to job site safety when a project is being planned and field work scheduled goes a long way in preventing incidents later. Project planners must consider the cost and time involved in safety- related activities like strong scaffolding, crane spotting, trench worker training, equipment operator downtime, sick days, and more. Here are a few onsite practices that can be part of the safety culture: • Daily safety huddle. 15 minutes before work starts for the day, every foreman or supervisor should hold a huddle to discuss the day’s work planned and the safety protocols in place. Track- ing daily huddles for compliance and congratulatory badges will reinforce the safety culture • Daily 2x10-min work breaks are shown to both reduce ac - cidents and improve work quality • Mandatory harnesses and tethers when working at heights can prevent fatal falls. Video and image analysis tools can help enforce the use of safety equipment • Site cleanliness with no debris or construction waste prevents accidents and injuries • Many workers leave their power tools plugged in, resulting in tripping injuries. Onsite safety culture must reinforce unplug- ging power tools when not in use • Coordinated and shared work plan where every team onsite knows where they are supposed to be and how for how long • Mentor and train younger workers on-site about site behavior, tool use, work methods and staying focussed on work safety • Awarding safety behavior, running safety drills, and training


September 2022 csengineermag.com

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