On-site injuries have long been a problem for nearly every construction company, and for good reason. 

Each year, construction companies face hundreds of thousands of accidents related to situations that could be avoidable with the right precautions in place. In 2011 alone, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, there were 4,069 workers killed on a construction site, most of which were avoidable. Though some of these problems truly are unavoidable, many of them can be minimized by following simple procedure. Every company is unique, but there are some practices that should be universal for any construction company, whether they are building a high-rise building or a small house.

Here are some of the most common issues that lead to injuries on the construction site: 

Lack of Training 

Every worker, regardless of what he or she is doing, should have a thorough understanding of not only what they will be doing, but also how to operate the heavy machinery they will be using. This might sound redundant, but thousands of injuries every year are caused by careless behavior on the part of the construction manager through lack of oversight. All operators of heavy machinery should have verifiable training on the machine or equipment they will operate. Many construction dealers will offer free tutorials for their machinery, such as videos, user manuals and quizzes. Some even offer a verifiable certificate to each person that passes the course. 

Overhead/ Buried Obstructions 

Before building anything, be sure to thoroughly inspect the construction site for buried or overhead obstructions. One phone call to your local utilities service will ensure that there are no buried pipes or wires, and can potentially prevent thousands of dollars in damages, along with any worksite injury that could occur. If you have exposed cables, be sure to use a cable ramp to ensure that machinery does not interact with them. 

Loading and Unloading Equipment 

Problems arise at every turn of a construction site, even on level ground. When loading and unloading equipment, it is crucial to make sure that no one is in the direct path of any heavy equipment, and that heavy equipment has enough room to comfortably maneuver around the construction site. This often requires a spotter to be nearby at all times. It is also important to make sure that the machine you are working with can clear the ramps that it uses, and that there is no crowding within that machine’s path. Use proper tie-down procedure, and use safety-ties to avoid pieces coming out of place. 

Though construction companies will most likely never be truly inevitable, we have come a long way in terms of construction safety in the past several decades. Since 1970, fatalities related to construction have been reduced by over 60 percent, and with a little bit of luck, this trend should continue.  

Patrick Rafferty is the marketing assistant for Brahman Systems, a Louisiana based construction company with a patented all-steel enclosed hose and cable protection

Note: All companies must provide personal protective equipment items.  From hardhats, vests, gloves, safety glasses, to first aid kits, they must be prepared properly.  Pat