Knowing the Risks on the Job Site is the First Step to Safety

24.10.18 10:58 AM Comment(s) By Cratos

Running an efficient construction site also helps protect your team

The construction industry is more than a brick-and-mortar sector: it has people at its heart. It’s people who live, work, drive through and walk in what we create, and it’s people who build it from the ground up. Unfortunately, construction has many hazards that put its workers at risk. Thankfully, there are ways for proactive firms to put safety first.

The types and frequency of on-site construction injuries

The most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that over 5,000 construction workers lost their lives on the job in a year; more than 14 people every day. “Falls” is the leading cause of accidents and deaths onsite according to OSHA findings, with “struck by,” “caught-in/between,” and “electrocution” rounding out the hazards. Mitigating these four dangers alone would save 631 workers’ lives annually.

Construction workers are also at marked risk from diesel exhaust fumes. Minor complications can be eye or nose irritation, nausea, and headaches. Major ones can be respiratory complications, heart issues, or even cancer. Non-fatal injuries are rife in the industry, with over 197,000 recorded a year according to the latest figures.

Sprains and strains are prevalent. Construction is a physically-demanding job, and laborers are at increased risk of muscle and joint injuries (often through repetitive motion). Site workers run a risk of muscular-skeletal injury that’s higher than all other industries combined, and these injuries cause tens of millions of dollars of lost wages.

Don’t lose sight of the unseen

Less common injuries can also be dangerous. Excessive construction noise may have serious effects on workers and it is America’s primary cause of workplace injury. A warning call may go unheard onsite. A noisy distraction may compromise focus at a crucial instant. Psychological problems and heart attacks are even possible at the extreme end of the noise-impact spectrum (you can learn more about the dangers of noise pollution in our previous blog).

Preventing these hazards is what matters most … but the potential impact on your bottom line can go hand-in-hand with improving worker safety.

The financial cost of construction accidents

Fines for failing to take preventative action on accidents are steep. Consider the case of Florida contractor Great White Construction Inc: OSHA slapped them with a fine of over $1.5 million for repeated safety violations. A huge sum, but the penalties don’t always stop there. OSHA pulls no punches by making repeat offenders notorious via their Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The fines start at $12, 934 per violation. This jumps to that amount per day for failure to remedy the issue and $129,336 for each repeated violation. And these are only OSHA’s punishments. The Environmental Protection Agency is also tough on offenders. If a construction site fails to adhere to the Clean Air Act, they’re courting fines ranging from $37,500 per day up to a maximum of $295,000 (and higher, if the EPA sees fit).

Last year, the EPA racked up $2.98 billion in criminal fines, restitution, and mitigation. And if that isn’t enough of a wake-up call for construction safety, injured workers or mourning families can make claims in court. In Florida, a worker’s compensation claim can only reach as high as $917, but a personal injury lawsuit can go far higher. A New York construction worker received a $1.5 million payout for an eye injury.

The right equipment can save many things, in many ways

Construction firms and their employees work in a risky business, and developing safety awareness and using smart practices are essential ways to maintain a safe site. Triple E is dedicated to mitigating those risks while helping our customers stay on the cutting edge of competitive construction. Referring to this infographic will provide you with some valuable tips on forklift safety. Implementing a wider employee safety program is a wise choice to optimize your site, and this resource offers insight on how to do it well.

Introducing battery-powered equipment into your construction fleet may also be a valuable step away from the kind of risks we’ve mentioned. Battery-powered vehicles reduce noise to a significant degree and eliminate exhaust fumes entirely. Electric equipment has been shown to be up to ten times quieter than its fossil fuel cousins; so quiet they’re even okayed to work around hospitals without disturbing the patients.

Those facts alone already make for healthier workers and happier environmental enforcement agents, but the benefits don’t stop there. With the right attachments, a battery-powered skid steer can move hundreds of pounds of debris faster – and safer – than multiple people doing the job. The Sherpa 100ECO can shift hundreds of pounds even in high straight positions; a sure way to spare your worker's unnecessary strain and injury. The Sherpa 100 EHD is even more powerful. It can be remotely controlled, so can get into tight or dangerous spaces instead of a person.

Battery-powered vehicles are more cost-effective over time, eliminating fuel costs from your budget while reducing toxic fumes in your lungs. Less moving parts is another bonus when you ditch diesel engines; it means less maintenance and downtime. Battery vehicles can charge overnight and be ready for work the next day.

Just enter some of your data into this cost calculator to see the potential savings.

Triple E Equipment prides itself on bringing world-class battery-powered construction equipment to North American companies. It’s our mission to provide your firm with the safest and most cost-efficient options to protect your team, the environment, and your bottom line. To learn more, please drop by the contact page and we’ll be in touch.

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