1. Types of Risks and Hazards
In any building sites there exist various hazards that may lead to numerous risks to the workers in a building site. The hazards include:
- Trenches and Excavations
- Head Injuries
- Bad backs
- Eye Injuries
2. Assessment of the Risks
Trenches and Excavations sides are likely to collapse any time when weights are applied. This poses a threat as soil cannot be relied to carry its own weight.
Head injuries in a building site are hazards that might result due to tools, equipments, and materials that fall from ladders or from high heights.
Electricity at the construction site is dangerous as they result to shocks, especially when construction at various places is incomplete and electric wires are left dangling around.
Falls in the site pose a great risk as studies have estimated that they make up 22% of overall accidents in building constructions. People can fall off from scaffolding, ladders, platforms, rigging, and through holes in floors.
Ladders in a building construction site if weak can fall on people or make workers fall.
Scaffolds that are shaky and weak are very dangerous in the building site. A Scaffold supports the entire building and if it is weak then there is a hazard of the building falling on people.
Bad backs may result when workers lift heavy loads at building sites.
Too much noise has been found to make people deaf and therefore it is a huge hazard in the site.
Eye injuries are hazards that are common in one out of ten injuries reported in building sites. Workers working without goggles are at risk of glare and welding flash, dusts, flying objects, and even corrosive chemicals.
Dusts in construction sites might contain sandy storms that cause difficult breathing and damaged lungs.
3. Control Measures to Reduce Level of Risks
Trenches and Excavations
- Proper confirmation from authorities on underground services should be done
- Guardrails or barriers should be incorporated around trenches and excavations
- Suitable ladders to be provided for entry and exit of trenches.
- Treating all wires as live
- Keeping water away from wires and hiding them
- Protecting work with an earth leaking device
- Never handling electrocuted people with bare hands
Head, Back, and Eye Injuries
- Everyone on the site to wear a hat and goggles
- Barricades and kickboards to be erected on scaffolds to prevent objects falling
- Workers at heights to secure tools with lanyards to prevent them from falling
- Provision of mechanical aids such as trolleys, hoists and ramps
- Organise work in such a way to avoid awkward posture
Noise and Dusts
- Wearing an approved dust musk
- Moving noisy machines away from workers
- Workers in noisy areas should wear WorkCover approved ear muffs
- They should be strong and easy access to platforms that are more than two meters high
- Keep metal scaffoldings away from electrical conductors
- Proper access should be used in climbing up or down the scaffolding
4. Implementation of Control Measures
In implementing the control measures it is advisable that the following requirements are satisfied. They include:
There should be availability of first aid where type A kit is available for 25 or more workers and Type B for less than twenty five workers.
Minimum contents of type A and B kits will be in accordance to the first Aid regulation of the 1983 Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Where 100 or more people work at a site, a first Aid room is required on site
In the event of an injury then: workers should not panic, stop what they are doing, think, and act; they should ensure victim is out of danger and comfortable; stop excess bleeding; and request immediately for an ambulance if needed.
Reporting of Dangerous Accidents and Occurrences
Accidents are to be reported to the right person, who might be the head contractor, union delegate, site foreman, or a member of work place committee.
An accident report form should be filled and sent to the WorkCover Authority. The forms are found at the nearest WorkCover office.
There should be one toilet for every twenty workers
If no sewage system is available then the toilet should be a flushing chemical one or equivalent with regular clearance.
There should be presence of facilities for washing and ample supply of clean, fresh drinking water.
5. Effectiveness and Monitoring of Measures
A safety check list should be available to make sure that the site is in compliance with basic health and safety standards and with the compensation and rehabilitation requirements of the Workers Compensation Act 1987.
The answers to the availability of the listed control measures in parts 3 and 4 should be affirmative. If NO, then a call should be made to the local WorkCover Authority Construction Safety Inspector, or Industry Association asking them what the law requires and procedures that can be done to make site safer.
OHS performance indicators and Audits should be done regularly so as to boost the safety ratings of the site.
Accidents and Incident records should be up to date and advertised through newsletters, notice boards, and staff meetings.
Inspections and injury statistics records should be done regularly and thoroughly for future references.