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Common Construction Site Injuries

It’s important to know of any dangers on a construction site that could cause an injury, and how to prevent those common construction site injuries from happening.

Construction site injury statistics

Between 2018 – 2021 in the construction industry, there were an estimated 74,000 work-related ill health cases, according to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

There were 39 fatal injuries to workers and 4 to members of the public in 2020/21, and between 2016 – 2021, 50% of deaths in the construction industry were due to falls from height.

Please take a look below at some of the most common construction site injuries and ways of preventing them from happening…

What can cause construction workers to fall from height?

Working from height on scaffoldingOne of the most common causes of accidents in the construction industry is working from height. It’s essential to have the correct equipment and safety gear when working at heights.

Inadequate fall protection can cause workers to fall from height. It is the employer’s obligation to provide workers with the equipment and tools they need to do their jobs safely.

If your area is crowded with construction materials, tools and other workers, this will cause a trip hazard. This increases the likelihood of falling significantly, as you will struggle for room to move.

Unsafe equipment, whether that is ladders, scaffolding, aerial lifts or other equipment at height, will lead to falling from height. This can cause life-changing injuries such as damage to the spinal cord, brain injuries and other catastrophic trauma.

How can you prevent falling from height? 

Planning and organising your work are essential. You need to ensure you select and use the correct equipment, as well as keep walkways on site clear of obstructions.

What is the main legislation that covers work at height?

Completing the working from heights training course will help you to understand the regulations, allowing you to work in line with them. Taking the legislation seriously is an important priority to ensure safety.

What can cause electrocution on-site?

Although electrocution ranks as one of the highest leading causes of fatalities in the construction industry, electrocutions are preventable.

Electric shock can cause a number of injuries such as muscle spasms, preventing you from breathing and stopping the heart from beating properly.

How to prevent electrocution

Factors to consider to prevent electrocution include;

  • Knowing the location of overhead and underground power lines to prevent accidental contact
  • Inspecting your tools for wear and tear before using them and removing any damaged ones
  • Keeping metal objects away from live or electrical parts
  • Make sure all electrical equipment is properly grounded or double insulated
  • Disconnect the plug on any power tool or machinery before repairing or inspecting

What is heat stroke? 

Exhausted construction worker When your body gets too hot, you can suffer from heat exhaustion. This can quickly turn into heat stroke if not treated quickly, which can be life-threatening.

Working on a construction site is physically demanding, even more so in hot weather conditions. So, it’s important to know the steps for preventing heat stroke.

It’s important to be aware of the signs of heat exhaustion which you can suffer with prior to heat stroke. If someone has heat exhaustion, then it’s not usually serious if you can cool them down within 30 minutes.

But, what are the signs of heat exhaustion?

  • Dizziness and feeling confused
  • Headache
  • Suffering from cramps in the stomach, arms and legs
  • Fast pulse or breathing
  • Feeling extremely thirsty
  • Having a temperature of 38C or above
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling sick
  • Sweating excessively
  • Clammy and pale skin

If someone shows the signs above, then they need to be cooled down. Start by moving them to a cool place, have them lie down whilst raising their feet slightly, and get them to drink plenty of water and cool their skin. Within 30 minutes, they should start to cool down and feel better.

If they aren’t feeling better after 30 minutes and start to have the below symptoms, which are the signs of heat stroke, then you need to call 999…

  • Temperature of 40C or above
  • Feeling too hot but not sweating
  • Feeling confused
  • Having a fit (seizure)
  • Unresponsive
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shortness of breath or fast breathing

If they lose consciousness whilst you’re waiting for help, put them in the recovery position.

How to prevent heat stroke

There are a number of steps to consider to help prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Here are some tips that can help you when working on-site…

  • Stay hydrated with plenty of cold drinks
  • Wear clothing that is light in colour
  • Take regular breaks in the shade when possible
  • Sprinkle water over your clothes or skin
  • Avoid the sun between 11 am and 3 pm if possible

Read more useful information on sun protection tips for outdoor workers.

Why is plant machinery safety important?

It is not unusual for construction workers to use plant machinery. Therefore, only operators who have the correct qualifications should be using the equipment and machinery on site.

NPORS accredited courses are HSE recognised qualifications for plant machinery operators. With this training, not only can the operator keep themselves safe, but also those around them.

How can you stay safe around plant machinery?

It’s important to make sure the machinery you are using is fit to be used and well maintained. For example, ensuring it is the correct piece of machinery for the job you are doing and that all safety measures are in place.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is another important factor. You should be wearing the appropriate PPE that is required for the machine you are using.  You also need to ensure you are using the machinery in accordance with the instructions of the manufacturer.

As a multi-accredited training provider, the team at 3B Training want to ensure that more and more people are correctly trained and working safely to avoid these common construction site injuries from happening. Take a look at the variety of training courses we offer, available via online learning, in the classroom and in-house.

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