It's Dangerous Out There

When you think about it, a construction site is the perfect storm for accidents.

Mon May 23, 2016 - National Edition
Jeff Winke


When you think about it, a construction site is the perfect storm for accidents: contractor margins depend on efficient, high production because projects need to be completed within tight deadlines.
When you think about it, a construction site is the perfect storm for accidents: contractor margins depend on efficient, high production because projects need to be completed within tight deadlines.

I read a lot. One issue that surfaces frequently in construction industry websites, magazines, and books is the issue of safety. It makes total sense when you consider the volatile mix of people, technologically complex big machines, and shrinking deadlines.

When you think about it, a construction site is the perfect storm for accidents: contractor margins depend on efficient, high production because projects need to be completed within tight deadlines. Get in, get-'er-done, get out, and move on to the next jobsite to repeat the process. In the haste, safety can too often be ignored.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of the most common construction site injuries include:

• Head injuries – Falling objects, tools, or materials, especially for workers who are digging or building from the bottom up. Injuries can include lacerations, concussions, traumatic brain injuries, etc. Wear a hard hat!

• Spinal cord injuries – Typically caused by falls, usually off a ladder, scaffolding, or other high part of the build site. Partial or full paralysis, lifelong disabilities, and brain damage can be the result.

• Broken, fractured, or crushed bones – Due to heavy equipment not being secured properly or operated correctly. When it's you vs. machine, you will always lose.

• Loss of hearing – The loud noises of heavy machinery and construction equipment make hearing loss one of the more common construction site injuries suffered. If you fail to wear earplugs while operating jackhammers or other extremely loud equipment, chances are you could affect or lose your hearing.

• Heat stroke –Overexertion and sun exposure, especially in the heat of summer, can cause heat stroke, which comes with nausea, lightheadedness, and often fainting. If left untreated, it can lead to brain, heart, or kidney damage.

Clearly, construction can be dangerous. Here are a couple of sobering stats to help you keep safety uppermost in mind:

1. One in ten construction workers are injured every year. (Source: OSHA)

2. Over the course of a 45-year career, a construction worker has a 1 in 200 chance of dying. (Source: National Safety Council)




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