Construction is risky business. In 2017, the construction industry was just behind transport, postal, warehousing and agriculture, forestry and fishing for the number of workplace deaths, according to Safe Work Australia statistics.
Falling from height was the most common cause of all deaths, followed by vehicle collisions, electrocution, and being hit by moving or falling objects. Lower back injuries, fractures and burns were among the range of injuries requiring hospitalisation.
Here are a few tips for managing risks in the construction industry:
- Heights – use of protective systems such as guardrails and harnesses, provision of full training, safe use of ladders, and considering which tasks could be handled from ground level instead.
- Falling objects – use of nets, guardrails and chutes, and isolating areas at risk of falling debris or other objects.
- Vehicles – using traffic controllers or lights, zero-tail-swing excavators and collision avoidance technology.
- Fire – separating combustible materials (such as rags, scrap timber and debris) from ignition sources (for example heat guns and welders), removal of flammable liquids, and provision of full training in fire safety and use of fire equipment.
- Slips and trips – daily removal of debris, rubbish and trip hazards, and isolating wet areas where necessary.
- Electricity – full compliance with Australian standards for all electrical equipment.
- Manual handling – reducing load sizes and use of mechanical aids and automation to reduce physical movements that could lead to injury.
Lastly, insurance is a critical part of your risk management plan. Construction insurance provides financial protection for residential or commercial building and for losses incurred due to damage or theft.