At Vermeer WA & NT, safety forms an integral part of all that we do. We realise that worksites can be dangerous places, so we work closely with our customers to foster safe work practices.
While injuries and fatalities have been on the decline for decades, Safe Work Australia still posted 194 fatal injuries at worksites in 2020, with machinery operators and drivers, labourers and managers making up the majority of those affected. Between 2019 and 2020, there were over 120,000 serious claims to injury.
Those are alarming numbers. And with most of those injuries taking place in the construction, mining, transport and manufacturing industries, safety measures in construction sites must be well known and adhered to at all times.
What are the main causes of injury?
According to safe work Australia, the following methods of injury were the most common:
- Body stressing
- Falls, trips and slips
- Being hit by moving objects
- Mental stress
- Hitting objects with a part of the body
Best ways of improving safety measures in construction sites
Construction, mining and other job sites are often unique locations with their own set of challenges for the safety manager. The site manager in charge of implementing safety rules must have a detailed understanding of how to approach the job.
Here are 7 ways to improve construction site safety, as outlined by Safe Work Australia:
1. Seen something unsafe? Report it straight away.
If you see something unsafe or posing a risk to others – no matter whether it’s on or off the job site, you must inform the relevant person as soon as possible. Risks left unmitigated on the construction site or mine site can worsen over time and become harder to manage down the line – or cause injury to someone in the meantime.
2. Wear the right personal protective equipment (PPE)
Wearing PPE is essential when carrying out jobs that use power tools or even when in the vicinity where power tools are being used. Appropriate helmets, gloves, safety goggles, knee pads and high vis vests are some of the most common – but make sure you’re using the right gear for the job at hand. It’s no use donning safety goggles if you don’t need to – it’ll only get in the way.
3. Prioritise health and safety training
Construction and mine site injuries, along with other workplace injuries, are often the result of poor safety training. Ensuring all employees have the appropriate level of safety and first aid training is essential before allowing the job to go ahead. Where heavy equipment and hazardous substances are involved, it’s even more important to ensure workers have the right safety training.
As an employer or site manager, it’s important to assess the risk associated with certain jobs and make sure that those tasked with carrying out the job are properly trained to do so.
4. Ensure regular equipment inspections and maintenance
Equipment and machinery are essential to getting the job done but can become unsafe to work with and even lethal if not properly maintained.
Whether it’s HDD mining equipment, renewable energy equipment or anything in between, it’s important to conduct routine and spot maintenance checks to make sure the machines you’re operating are in safe working order.
5. Improve communication
Many job site accidents occur because of poor or lack of communication. All it takes is for someone to assume something, while the other fails to communicate their goal, and you have a potentially serious miscalculation on your hands.
Improving communication between workers, managers and third parties operating on the same job site can greatly reduce the risks involved with particular jobs. What does this mean practically? Here are some ways to boost communication on the job site:
- Establish an effective chain of command
- Conduct clear debriefs before starting work
- Ensure everyone is on the same page throughout the project
- Distribute handheld radios to workers operating in the same area
- Be clear, concise and factual in all methods of communication
6. Ensure proper signage
The construction industry, amongst many others, is full of dangerous job sites with hazardous materials, waste products, falling objects and electrical hazards around every corner.
Proper signage helps construction workers identify hazards and risks. It also helps them work effectively and can inform them about when to keep a safe distance. Make sure all signs are visible and appropriately labelled to minimise the risk of injury.
7. Get advice from your equipment supplier
Sometimes equipment can be a source of confusion – especially if you’re not used to working with a particular model. If you’re having trouble managing a piece of equipment – it’s important to know where to turn. Make sure to get in touch with your supplier.
At Vermeer WA & NT, we offer unparalleled after-sales support to our customers. As part of our mission to create safer, more efficient job sites across the country, we ensure proper safety and training is available to operators and managers alike. Get in touch with our team to find out more.