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Construction site safety

From Academic Kids

Construction is the most dangerous land based work sector (the fishing industry is more dangerous). In the European Union, the fatal accident rate is nearly 13 workers per 100,000 as against 5 per 100,00 for the all sector average (Source: Eurostat).

The problem is not that the hazards and risks are unknown, it is that they are very difficult to control in a constantly changing work environment.

Contents

Nature of hazards

Hazards to construction workers

The two biggest safety hazards on site are falls from height and vehicles, but there are many more (electricity and being buried while working in excavations being two more examples).

Some of the main health hazards on site are asbestos, solvents, noise, and manual handling activities.

Hazards to non-workers

Many construction site cannot completely exclude non-workers. Road construction sites must often allow traffic to pass through. This places non-workers at some degree of risk.

Missing image
Sign_Road_Work_Ahead.jpg
This sign and advisory plate (625 MPH?) penetrated the windshield and roof of a car in a side-impact test crash. A safer sign would have stiffer uprights, no advisory plate and the flashing light would be moved to the point of the sign to spread the impact force.

Road construction sites are blocked-off and traffic is redirected. The sites and vehicles are protected by signs and barricades. However, sometimes even these signs and barricades can be a hazard to vehicle traffic. For example, improperly designed barricades can cause cars that strike them to roll over or even be thrown into the air. Even a simple safety sign can penetrate the windshield or roof of a car if hit from certain angles.

Applicable laws

Under European Union Law, there are European Union Directives in place to protect workers, notably Directive 89/391 (the Framework Directive) and Directive 92/57 (the Temporary and Mobile Sites Directive). This legislation is transposed into the Member States and places requirements on employers (and others) to assess and protect workers health and safety.

In the United States the Occupational Safety & Health Administration OSHA sets and enforces standards concerning workplace safety and health.


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