Building a Culture of Safety in Construction Sites


Preventing Construction’s Fatal Four

Out of 4,693 fatalities in the private industry in 2016, 991 were under construction. The leading causes of these construction deaths were falls, struck-by-object accidents, electrocutions, and caught-in-between objects. These construction’s “fatal four” accounted for more than 60% of the fatalities recorded in the industry in 2016.

The above information is according to the latest statistics provided by the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The agency also revealed that eliminating “fatal four” in the workplace would save the lives of 631 construction workers each year. Thus, along with employee safety consultants, OSHA provides several tips on how to build a culture of safety in construction sites.


1. Falls

Falls are a leading cause of severe injuries and fatalities in construction because many workers fail to equip themselves with proper fall protection devices. There are also cases of workers using ladders, scaffolds, and elevating work platforms (EWP) incorrectly. Employers must protect their personnel from the risk of falling by taking the following steps:

  • Require the use of safety harnesses, safety nets, stair railings, and other fall protection equipment on the job site.
  • Train workers about fall hazards and promote the use of fall protection devices on site in an engaging way, as also advised by employee safety consultant, BDeWees Consulting.
  • Provide a guardrail around ladders, EWPs, roofs, and other spots where workers at a considerable height from the ground.

2. Caught-in-Between

When working with heavy machinery or power tools, construction employees’ body parts are at risk of getting caught, crushed, or squeezed between two or more objects. But there are ways for employers to prevent their workers from these unfortunate accidents:

  • Provide intensive equipment training to workers so they know where the pinch, sheer, and crush points are located.
  • Make sure equipment is shut down before doing any repair or inspection.
  • Encourage workers to wear close-fitting clothes and take their jewelry off while at work to reduce the risk of being caught in moving machinery.

Developing a culture of safety in construction sites is a huge help not only for the workers but the employers, as well.  For one, this helps them avoid face costly lawsuits and other losses due to workplace accidents or fatalities. More importantly, this culture of safety helps companies take better care of their greatest asset — the workers.

3. Electrocutions

Electrical hazards cause a considerable number of deaths and injuries in construction sites each year. These hazards, however, can be easily avoided by taking several precautions, including:

  • Employers must provide proper personal protective equipment (PPE) for their personal and train them how to PPE appropriately.
  • Have a safety officer on site to reinforce the use of PPE, especially when employees impose that wearing such protective equipment only slows them down or that they no longer have to wear those gears as they are too experienced to make mistakes while working.
  •  Employers must conduct regular electrical inspections on site, as well as equipment checks.

4. Struck-by-Object

In construction sites, many things happen all at once — heavy equipment is in motion, supplies are passed around, and loads are lifted to higher levels. These scenarios sometimes result in mishaps that cause objects to fall, roll, and swing, hitting workers accidentally. To help ensure their safety, here are a few prevention tactics workers can do:

  • Wear hard hats, safety glasses, and a face shield when working with or near power tools.
  • Secure protection tools such as screens and debris nets.
  • Be extra careful when in areas where work is being performed above.

Steer clear of heavy equipment in motion, and never position yourself under a suspended load.