According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, nearly 20% of all private industry worker fatalities in 2018 were in construction. This is not surprising considering the potential dangers of working with heavy machinery, power tools, and materials that can fall from heights. Although construction workers are more likely to be injured on the job than workers in other industries, you can take some steps to minimize the risk of injury.
Here are some of the most common injuries encountered in home construction and how to avoid them:
1. Strains and sprains
Strain injuries are caused by overusing muscles or tendons, while sprain injuries occur when ligaments are stretched or torn. These are usually caused by lifting heavy objects, doing manual labor for long periods, or using improper posture and body mechanics. Workers may also be injured if they are not given proper rest breaks to help prevent fatigue.
To avoid these injuries, workers should always use the correct lifting technique and wear protective gear, such as gloves and back supports. Workers should also take regular breaks to prevent fatigue and ensure proper posture while working. Warming up before beginning a task can also help to reduce the risk of strain.
2. Slips and falls
Slips and falls are common in home construction due to wet, slippery surfaces and unstable footing. Workers may also be injured if they are not wearing the proper safety equipment, such as hard hats, safety goggles, and steel-toed boots. Although some falls may not be avoidable, some steps can be taken to reduce the risk.
To minimize the risk of slips and falls, workers should wear the proper safety equipment and keep all pathways clear of debris and slippery surfaces. They should also be aware of their surroundings and potential hazards, such as uneven surfaces or overhead objects. Cleaning up any spills immediately can also help prevent falls.
3. Machine-related injuries
Working with power tools and heavy machinery can be dangerous if workers are not properly trained. Workers may also be injured if they are not wearing the appropriate safety equipment, such as hard hats and protective eyewear. Some workers may also be injured if they are not using the correct technique when operating machinery. Because machines can malfunction, it is vital to use them correctly and maintain them properly.
Workers should be properly trained to use any machinery they will be operating to avoid these types of injuries. They should also wear the appropriate safety gear and maintain good housekeeping practices to help prevent accidents. Machine malfunctions can also occur, so regularly inspecting and maintaining equipment is essential. You should also consult a machine guarding expert witness to ensure that all appropriate safety measures are in place. They can also provide advice on better protecting workers from machine-related accidents.
4. Cuts and lacerations
Cuts and lacerations are common among workers in home construction due to the presence of sharp tools and materials. Workers can also be injured if they are not using the correct technique when handling sharp objects or power tools. Cuts may also occur if workers are not wearing the appropriate protective gear, such as work gloves and eye protection.
You can take simple steps to avoid cuts and lacerations. Workers should use the correct technique when using sharp tools or power tools and wear protective gear when necessary. If possible, workers should also use safety guards on power tools to help avoid contact with sharp edges. Keeping work areas clean and organized can also help to prevent cuts, as it reduces the chances of workers coming into contact with sharp objects.
Blackouts can occur when blood flow to the brain is restricted, usually due to a blow to the head. In home construction, workers can be injured if they are struck by falling objects or debris. Even a mild blow to the head can cause temporary loss of consciousness and lead to other serious injuries.
To avoid blackouts, always wear a hard hat when working in an area with the potential for falling debris. If you feel dizzy or lightheaded, sit down immediately and ask a coworker to fetch you some water. People should also be aware of any potential hazards and take steps to protect themselves from injury.
Injuries in home construction are unfortunately common but often preventable. Following the safety tips above can minimize your risk of sustaining an injury on the job. And if you do sustain an injury, be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Always wear the appropriate safety gear and take all necessary steps to protect yourself from injury. With these simple precautions, you can help ensure your safety and that of your coworkers.