Construction is an essential field for the infrastructure of society. It’s necessary to erect stores, offices, homes, and anything else involving a shelter.
While construction is certainly important, it comes with inherent risks that make it dangerous. Failing to take proper safety precautions when working a construction job or any do-it-yourself projects is a huge mistake that you must avoid at all costs.
This is because the injuries occurring during construction work are often significant. For perspective, 2.5 million Americans sustained a traumatic brain injury in 2010.
Construction accounts for just a small percentage of this, but it is the industry with the highest number of brain injuries, both fatal and non-lethal.
With this in mind, you’ll need to know what is most likely to cause an injury while doing construction. We’ll point out five of the likeliest injury causes below.
Lack of Fall Protection
A lack of fall protection certainly heightens the risk of a construction injury.
Many construction jobs involve heights to some degree. Whether it’s a several-story building or just a two-story house, falling from a distance is possible in either scenario.
The thing about falling is that it doesn’t take much distance to cause serious damage. Even a fall from just a few feet can cause a serious injury if you land incorrectly.
Falling from any distance is dangerous, but the risk of injury increases the longer the fall is. You’re more likely to die from a 30-foot fall than a 10-foot fall, but it can happen either way.
With this in mind, any job site you’re working at must have adequate fall protection. This entails the use of one or multiple techniques for preventing or minimizing the impact of a fall.
A few examples of fall protection include safety harnesses, guardrails, safety nets, and a suspension system. Each works differently and varies in effectiveness, but they will all save you from an injury if used correctly.
Any job site without fall protection involving heights above four feet is a major OSHA violation.
Falling and flying objects are another hazard found on construction sites.
While you can fall from heights while on a job, so too can objects. This typically happens when you’re working in a team with someone doing work above you.
The person working above you may make a miscalculation or error that causes something they’re working on to fall and hit you. Alternatively, they may drop a piece of equipment or tool that can also deal damage.
Hard hats are a good first line of defense against falling and flying objects, but they are not fail proof. Imagine a cinder block falls from the story above you. Would you trust a hardhat to avoid a likely serious injury?
Hopefully not and this shows that you never know what to expect on a construction site. Good safety measures should minimize the risk of a falling or flying object that can do serious harm, but it can still happen, especially when others are negligent.
You likely won’t be able to react quickly enough to avoid a falling or flying object, but be aware that they are a hazard of doing construction.
Equipment misuse, whether intentional or ignorant, also causes serious injuries.
Construction involves the use of power tools, equipment, and large machinery. These are all powerful devices that come with responsibility.
Everything you use on a construction site has a purpose. Picture something like an excavator. It’s great for quickly moving large piles of dirt and heavy objects that would otherwise take a lot of time and effort manually.
Someone bored might not be paying close attention while operating the excavator. They might not notice someone behind or nearby them and hit them with the claw or run them over.
Alternatively, a mischievous excavator operator may opt to play a prank on a coworker by attempting to scoop them up.
Either situation is extremely dangerous and shows that any tool, equipment, or piece of machinery can be used incorrectly. Incorrect usage is extremely dangerous and makes an injury likely.
A less common construction danger involves electrical hazards.
With electricity, there are two main concerns; fire and electrocution. On a construction site, this can happen in a few different ways.
A great example of this is if you’re working on faulty wiring. It may spark and ignite something flammable nearby. Alternatively, you may touch it and get electrocuted instead.
Construction sites have electrical hazards primarily due to impatience and foolishness. Lighting and wiring may be installed haphazardly and not up to code, which makes an injury likely.
While electrical hazards are not common, they do happen with an inattentive team. Unfortunately, the resulting injuries are often severe.
Repetition and Overuse
Finally, working construction for several years can lead to repetition and overuse injuries.
When you think of manual labor, construction is the first thing that comes to mind. Construction is almost entirely physical, involving heavy effort from lifting, swinging, holding, and moving.
The underlying theme here is repetitive, forceful movements. At the end of a workday, you’re likely exhausted and it’s because you’ve been physically spent.
This exertion takes a toll on your body, which adds up if you continuously strain it. Do this for several years and you can encounter a situation where you develop chronic injuries from your job.
Any manual labor is taxing on the body and construction is no different. Try to take care of your body as much as possible and avoid pushing yourself to limit long-term harm.
Construction is risky, especially if you’re inexperienced or working with people who are. Working a construction site involves several dangerous objects that can cause severe harm if someone fails to take appropriate safety measures.
Because of this, several injuries do happen on construction sites each year. A few of the most common causes for this include a lack of fall protection, falling/flying objects, equipment misuses, electrical hazards, and complications stemming from repetition and overuse.
Whether you do construction for a living or engage in it for personal purposes, you must always put safety first! Mistakes are incredibly easy to make and stupidly costly. Take appropriate precautions and never put yourself in a dangerous position.