Construction Industry Fatalities
Construction is an ever-growing industry in Australia; The sector has grown exponentially in recent years, with 2018 exhibiting significant increase in activity. While construction is a great career choice with high earning potential and lots of room for professional opportunities, it is also a job that carries with it great risk. Construction work is notoriously known for its dangerous work environments, resulting in workplace accidents and sometimes even death.
Construction Workers’ Greatest Risk
One of the most important things that construction workers and their employers can do to prevent these tragic outcomes is investing in preventative measures to keep all employees safe while on the site. Fall protection in particular is an essential asset for Australian construction companies, as construction typically requires work at great heights. Sometimes this work is done on a fully stable and flat base, but other times it is completed on unsteady or slanted ones. Construction jobs may even require that employees hang off the sides of buildings or balance on very small surfaces with minimal, if any, guard rails. As one would imagine, this setup is destined to cause harm when executed in a poor or sloppy way.
When buildings and safety equipment are not up to par, construction workers’ lives are put at risk. In fact, construction experiences one of the highest rates of fatalities amongst all industries in Australia. Unfortunately, falls from a height are also one of the most common causes of death within this industry. Of course, that is not to say that construction is dangerous within itself, but that it can be risky when the right precautions aren’t taken.
Luckily, there are local services in place to help equip your business with falls prevention along with many other height safety initiatives. Hiring a team of height safety engineers to assess your construction site and operating systems is one of the best tactics. From offering risk assessments to helping you design safe construction sites to providing height safety equipment and safety advice, the guidance of a height safety engineer is extremely beneficial for the wellbeing of your staff or yourself.
Construction is not a job worth risking one’s life for. However, it is a job that’s always needed and not going to reduce in demand anytime soon. Adopting and maintaining safety initiatives is how we can keep this industry thriving for years to come.
If you are trying to reduce the risk of accidents or fatalities at your Australian construction site, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Know what risks to look out for and the signs that they are present
- Have your site and equipment regularly inspecting to assess risk
- Fully train all staff members on how to work safely at heights
- Make sure your anchor points, ladders, handrails and the like are certified
- Install additional height safety equipment if necessary
- Ensure your construction site is engineered according to industry standards of safety
- Employ proven methods of fall safety such as fall arrest, which is a fall restraint system that protects people who are already falling
If you tick all of these boxes, you can take comfort in knowing that your workplace is now a much safer place for your team.
It should be noted that falls from heights are not the only construction industry risk to look out for, although they may be the most prevalent. Electric shock is another fairly common risk on construction sites, and may result in extreme injury or death. One possible solution is to schedule work after hours so that all power can be shut down while the construction is taking place. Staff should always make sure that all equipment being worked on is de-energised, and that staff are fully trained and junior staff always supervised to minimise their risk of coming in contact with live wires.
One other major risk on construction sites is getting struck with large objects or machinery. On most building projects, there will be any number of heavy machines and building materials that could pose potential threats. Aside from having qualified operators (which should be a given on any Australian construction site), site managers should also ensure that all machinery is regularly checked and working properly, that staff wear protective covers when on site, and that everyone is trained on how to best avoid getting in the way of dangerous objects. Equipment operators should also be trained on safe driving methods in addition to their standard licensing.
Know Your Risks and How to Avoid Them!
Whether you own a construction company or you work for one, it is extremely important to know the risks you face and take necessary measures to prevent them. We strongly encourage you to work with a local height safety engineer to come up with a plan of action to keep your construction site and all people on it safe while working. No construction job is worth a life, which is why proper precautions are essential.