The building sector is one of the most accident-prone in world. Despite the efforts made by the construction industry, much progress still needs to be made to reach the zero accident target. In fact, large companies in the construction sector have embraced this vision. To reduce the risks and the number of accidents, it is necessary to respect the general safety precautions on the building sites. What general safety precautions for workers on a construction place? Here are some answers.
What is the interest of worker safety on a construction site?
Safety on a construction site is the responsibility of all the actors involved and mainly the entrepreneur. It is the latter who is responsible for the health and safety of the workers. However, in 2016, there are 90 accidents per 1000 employees in the construction sector. These accidents are often caused by lack of preparation and improvisation. There is no room for emergency on a construction site. The entrepreneur and his managers must therefore develop and implement a prevention plan.
In particular, they must ensure:
Compliance with existing safety standards;
Choice of quality products and equipment;
To the involvement of all actors involved on the site.
The optimization of general safety precautions on the construction site also testifies to the seriousness of the company and its actors. It is also important to remember that accidents in construction and public works have a cost.
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In the construction sector, the overall financial consequences of accidents at work and occupational diseases, including direct and indirect costs, can be estimated at 5% of the total cost of the structure.
Thus, preventing the risk of accidents reduces the impact of claims on productivity.
Measures to be adopted to ensure the safety of workers on a construction site
A construction site is a work environment in which several companies generally operate. It is also an environment in constant evolution that is characterized by many dangerous situations:
What are the important general safety precautions for your workers?
Work at height
Very important and dangerous traffic;
The presence of underground or visible pipes …
The risk of accidents is high therefore. For the safety and health of the workers, there are general safety precautions . If it is not possible to eliminate the risk, you must:
Provide the necessary collective protection equipment;
Wear personal protective equipment;
Write and make available to all workers the procedures and rules to be followed to reduce risks;
Tag risk areas using identifiers for easy identification;
Organize work on the site, including traffic to avoid possible falls …
These measures must be taken into account from the project preparation phase to the delivery of the project. They must concern every actor involved in the building (prime contractor, designer, contractors, subcontractors …).
Another important measure is to keep the yard clean to avoid minor accidents and hygiene problems. For this, it is necessary to provide waste storage areas and make use of specific containers. It will also train all stakeholders on the risks involved and the precautions to take. In particular, they must be trained to use the various equipment, assess the danger of a situation and take the appropriate precautions.
The importance of personal protective equipment (PPE)
Although collective protective equipment must be preferred, personal protective equipment should not be neglected. These are all devices that help protect a person against the risks involved on a construction site. Generally, protective equipment is a garment or accessory.
PPE helps protect the worker from the following risks:
Biological risks (inhalation of a biological agent for example);
Chemical risks (contact of the skin with a chemical for example);
Mechanical risks (shocks, falls …);
Electrical hazards (electrocution);
The risk of injury (wounds, cuts …);
The noises ;
Radiation risks (ionizing and non-ionizing).
The choice of personal protective equipment should be based on the risks to be prevented. It will also be necessary to periodically check the operation, the safety, the comfort, as well as the dates of expiry of the equipment.
The different categories and types of personal protective equipment
Personal protective equipment is classified into three categories according to the severity of the risks. We can mention:
What are the important general safety precautions for your workers?
PPE class 1 (they protect against small vibrations or shocks, superficial aggressions without lesions);
Class 2 PPE (they protect against severe attacks and shocks that may affect vital parts);
Class 3 PPE (they protect against serious risks with irreversible or fatal consequences).
There is a wide range of PPE depending on the area to be protected. For eye protection, masks and glasses are often used. Earplugs, hoops, communication devices, and helmets are used to protect the ears. Facial protection requires the use of masks, hoods, crash caps, visors, face shields, specific helmets … The seat belts, and the gas detectors are part of the specific PPE often used by isolated workers. To optimize fall protection, we must opt for quality equipment including well-secured nets. For example, the safety of a safety net is essential to reduce the risk of falling workers and equipment.
Other other types of PPE are available:
Purification devices, breathing apparatus, ventilation apparatus, and masks for protecting the respiratory tract;
Gloves, cuffs and other accessories for hand protection;
Safety shoes, and boots to protect the feet;
Specific professional clothing against cold, heat, fire, and chemical hazards to protect the body;
Fall arrest devices including nets, lifelines, ropes, reels …
Safety measures in cases of work in a confined atmosphere
In a confined space, workers are subject to many risks including:
The wounds ;
Explosions or fires;
Physical trauma …
Working in a confined space is risky. Several measures must be implemented to prevent all these risks. First, it is necessary to evaluate and list all the confined spaces of a construction site. Then, it will be necessary to determine the protection solutions adapted to each space. Workers to work in these areas must be well trained on the risks involved and be equipped with the necessary PPE. It is also necessary to install a communication device in order to be in permanent contact with the workers.
Preventive measures in case of heat wave
Working outside or in a very hot environment is very risky. This can be the cause of several respiratory disorders and pathologist. Here are some protective measures to respect:
Equip each worker with PPE compatible with hot weather;
Arrange a favorable schedule to avoid working at times when it is very hot;
Renew teams or workers;
Schedule more breaks than usual;
Provide facilities where conditions are more favorable to accommodate the workers during the interruptions …
Risk prevention when the worker is exposed to cold
Just like heat, cold can negatively impact the quality of work, cause accidents on site and some health problems . We can mention:
The loss of dexterity;
Numbness of the exposed parts;
Musculoskeletal disorders …
To reduce these risks, here are the precautions to take:
Inform and train workers on the risks of working in a cold environment;
Consider forecasting temperature, humidity, precipitation, and airspeed to plan activities;
Control, limit the working time of the workers and increase the recovery time and the break time;
Avoid sedentary work;
Organize teamwork and limit physical effort;
Set up heated break rooms;
Install a communication system and security devices;
Provide workers with protective clothing against the cold …
What to remember from this guide? All actors on a construction site must ensure that collective and individual protection measures are respected. The financial and social impact of accidents on construction sites is too important to be minimized.