According to a recent study, a career construction worker faces a 75 percent likelihood of a disabling injury as well as a 1 in 200 chance of being fatally injured on the job. The study was compiled based upon multiple years of data. The reported results are very troubling. Those risks of personal injury or death are far too great.
What is most troubling is that these serious accidents can easily be prevented. Many construction accidents have a common cause. Often, these accidents occur due to a fall, a falling object, a chemical or electrical exposure, a crush injury, or an accident related to the operation of mechanical equipment. These broad categories account for a huge number of disabling construction site injuries. An easy way to prevent many accidents is to conduct what is typically referred to as an “activity hazard analysis” or “job hazard analysis” prior to starting each phase of construction. Conducting an activity hazard analysis is a requirement imposed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers on private contractors building on many Federal sites. It should be done on all construction sites, whether private or public projects.
The analysis is fairly easy for an experienced construction manager to conduct. The safety person needs to look at the task to be completed and the equipment to be used. Then, management can plan the safest manner of performing the task so that hazards can be eliminated if possible or protected against if elimination is not possible. The analysis can be used to identify risks in advance, to plan for those risks, and to communicate with all workers the understood method of getting the job done. This simple act of safety planning can prevent disabling injuries and deaths. Unfortunately, too often, management does not take the time or provide the safety personnel to analyze the risks.by Jeff Blackwell