10 causes of construction accidents | how to prevent construction site accidents

 The construction industry is an emerging industry that has a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of nations. Construction work is generally considered risky and requires effort because it involves heavy equipment, tools, machinery, and hazardous materials. 

Construction accidents refer to accidents that occur on a construction site.

According to the Occupational Safety and health administration (OSHA) report; 1/10 of construction workers are injured every year.

According to the report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); 150 thousand construction workers were injured in 2019/2020.

Due to the increasing losses; it is important to monitor the safety of construction from the design stage to the construction stage.

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Causes of construction accidents

Some of the causes of construction accidents are:

1. Scaffolding and stairs

Most accidents are caused by falls from certain heights.

Workers fall from scaffolding or stairs while working on large-scale projects at certain heights.

Most accidents and injuries (such as fractures of bones, spine, head, etc.) occur due to improper and unprotected placement of stairs, and unprotected scaffolding in the corridors.

2. Unsafe things (gadgets)

Many sharp and hard objects used may fall at a height during construction and these falling objects can cause injuries such as cuts, head bruises and even death.

To minimize the fall of objects, the workspace must be clean and well-organized with safety measures in place.

Read: precautions and safety measures at the construction site

3. Failure to provide urgent health care

At the construction site, first aid and various sanitary facilities should be provided for the immediate treatment of injuries.

The lack of immediate facilities can lead to the worst accident conditions.

Some workers may have health problems such as respiratory problems, acrophobia, fear of light, etc.

Inadequate supervision of such workers by project managers can lead to accidents.

4. Equipment malfunctions

Before starting work, the equipment must be thoroughly checked and repaired whether it is working properly or not.

The durability of the device must be recognized correctly.

If it does not work smoothly, it should be checked by technicians for repair.

Thus, defective equipment is one of the causes of accidents.

5. Lack of proper training

There are many dangerous types of equipment used on a construction site.

Workers should be well trained or instructed to use the equipment safely by applying safety measures.

Lack of knowledge and expert advice on the use of heavy equipment is the main cause of construction accidents.

6. Heavy equipment

With the advancement of technology for efficient and fast operation of work, small equipment can be replaced by individual equipment with multifunctional capacity.

Individual equipment may be heavy in size and weight. To use this heavy equipment; proper guidance and skilled manpower are required.

Heavy equipment such as cranes, excavators, rollers, trucks, etc. on-site needs adequate communication between drivers, safety personnel, teams, workers, pedestrians, etc. during Operation.

It is difficult to operate heavy equipment on its own. Thus, they are also considered the cause of construction accidents such as collisions, accidents, etc.

7. Inappropriate serialization method

Some workplaces are exposed to on-site corrosion risks and sedimentation problems, and therefore cause difficulties in carrying out project work on time as scheduled and installation problems may arise on-site for the operation of various construction works sequenced in the project analysis of equipment and materials. Thus, this creates psychological stress and may lead to various accidents.

8. Inaccurate planning and scheduling of construction

In order to properly manage the time for the duration of the project and the resources required for construction, it is scheduled with the appropriate plan for estimating the cost, and recognizing the possibilities of risks and their complications.

Improper planning and scheduling can lead to improper management of workers, equipment and resources. This can cause various accidents at construction sites.

9. Noise and vibration hazards

The heavy machinery and equipment used on site produce high vibrations and noise. A loud sound can cause deafness and numbness in workers, and vibration causes various internal injuries to limbs and nerves.

Thus, a loud and noisy sound is considered noise and dangerous to human health. This is also the cause of accidents at the construction site.

10. Dangerous construction site

Some sites may have various shortcomings such as areas prone to natural disasters, unsuitable territory, unsuitable climate for construction, etc.

Thus, the workplace should be chosen very wisely before planning and scheduling construction.

Only experts and civil engineers should determine when to start work on the site.

Incorrect choice of construction site leads to failure, and demolition of structures during construction and may push workers to injury and death.

Thus, a dangerous workplace is also a cause of construction accidents.

Preventive measures against construction accidents

Some preventive measures against construction accidents are:

Risks can be recognized on-site if there is sufficient planning and scheduling. After getting acquainted, workers should have their own protective equipment such as helmet, jacket, heavy-duty gloves, etc.to prevent accidents to some extent.

Keep away from machines that make too much noise.

Provide adequate lighting on dark construction sites.

Remove protruding nails.

Inspection and repair of devices before carrying out work.

Provide personal protective equipment such as glasses, hard helmets, ear protection, heavy-duty gloves, masks, anti-slip shoes, reflective jackets, etc.

Provide a balanced diet and rest periods. Fatigue and health problems can cause accidents.

Providing an on-site trap net is not protected.

For earthworks, workers must have appropriate training and knowledge about underground structures using defensive devices.

Encourage construction workers to join the safety program.

Placing warning signs in hazardous areas.

Provision of medical insurance for employees.

Common types of fatal construction accidents

There are many construction accidents reported by OSHA statistics that have occurred at the sites. Some construction accidents are described below:

1. Falling/slipping:

Construction carried out at a certain height may result in the fall of workers due to inaccurate performance of scaffolding, ladders, and improper personal safety equipment.

2. Collision with heavy equipment or objects that may fall from certain heights above pedestrians.

3. Electrocution:

During construction, the equipment needs electricity to operate the works (such as wiring and welding). During work, workers can be exposed to electric shocks and an electric release may also occur.

4. Accidents occur due to the dangers of using equipment without following safety measures.

And various other types of construction accidents:

Demolish buildings such as roofs, floors, walls, etc.

Accidents with cranes, excavators and rollers.

The failure of heavy equipment leads to the emergence of various accidents.

Accidents during welding.

Unprotected rebar may fall off causing construction accidents.

The collapse of entire structures due to the huge frequencies of vibrations.

Drilling accidents.

Many harmful substances are released during the execution of work on the site such as toxic mould, hot concrete, etc.

Unmanaged rotating shafts and sharp cutting tools can cause serious injuries.

Non-hermetic or inappropriate lifts at the sites.

Safety measures after accidents

We cannot prevent some unforeseen incidents. But there are some safety measures that must be applied to treat victims of bruises after accidents.

There should be a warning alarm to alert other workers to help them and notify them of upcoming dangers using a siren.

A fire extinguisher must be present to prevent ignition accidents.

There should be medical teams on the construction site, all the time.

Easy and quick access to cars to go to the hospital.

An immediate first aid facility and various health facilities should be provided to the injured.

Immediate reports of incidents should be submitted to higher authorities.

There should be facilities for the compensation lawyer and management of all expenses for the treatment of the bruised worker for each minor and major accident at the sites.

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