According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of new residential construction projects have gone up 16.6 percent between August 2014 and August 2015. That is great news for the people who make their livings building homes, but there is a dark side to the residential construction industry that has been the topic of discussion for years.
An EHSToday.com infographic shows that 16 percent of all construction deaths each year occur in the residential construction industry. When you consider that nearly 20 percent of all work related deaths come from the construction industry, you can start to appreciate why so many people are concerned about the safety of residential construction sites.
The four most common types of residential construction accidents are:
- Falling or Flying Tools or Other objects
- Being Electrocuted
- Becoming trapped between two vehicles or two other objects
Falls Leading To The Construction Accident Charge
The Center for Construction Research and Training estimates that nearly 33 percent of residential construction fatalities are the result of falls from roofs. In order to institute measures for the prevention of these accidents, we need to start looking at their causes more closely.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration acknowledges that falls in residential construction sites are a significant problem in the industry. OSHA identifies the primary causes of falls to be:
- Lack of safety netting around perimeter of higher floors and near holes in the floors
- Unstable scaffolding
- Lack of guard rails
- Improper use of ladders
To prevent falls on residential construction sites, workers should be trained on the proper use of ladders and how to properly secure scaffolding. Instead of using scaffolding or ladders in places that may be dangerous, construction companies should consider using aerial lifts instead.
Falling Or Flying Objects
Despite wearing safety equipment, many residential construction workers are injured each year when they are struck by objects such as cranes, building supplies and falling equipment. In almost every instance, the root causes of these problems are the lack of proper safety training for employees.
Crane operators should be trained to be diligent in looking out for fellow workers, especially when they are moving their cranes laterally and have them loaded with equipment. Always secure building materials so they cannot be jarred lose and fall, and workers should be careful when using tools on the upper levels of buildings. By following basic safety rules, workers can prevent these types of accidents. Read our previous blog about crane accidents here.
The most common reason for electrocution on a residential job site is the lack of respect for safety protocol. When electrical lines are live in a new residential building, then there should signs posted throughout the structure to let workers know that the lines are live.
There needs to be someone responsible for shutting down the power when it starts snowing or raining in the work area. Workers who are not properly trained to handle electrical installation materials and equipment should not be allowed in those work areas.
Construction Safety Should Be Everyone’s Concern
The prevention of many residential construction accidents comes with following basic construction safety rules. For example, a forklift operator should always check to make sure there is no one working between two pallets of building supplies before they move those pallets together.
A construction worker is often trapped between two objects because someone was not paying attention, or the project supervisor did not alert the equipment operator that there would be work going on in that spot. Good planning and coordination between the workers and the site supervisor can prevent workers from being trapped between two objects and sustaining serious injuries.
Residential construction safety is the concern of every worker and supervisor on the job site. By offering comprehensive safety training and rewarding good work habits, construction companies can prevent many of the accidents that can often turn into fatalities.