The construction industry of India has seen a staggering growth in the last 4 years, from $78 billion in 2013 to approximately $140 billion this year. However, there is a flip-side to this booming growth.

A study conducted by NDTV revealed that 1,092 workers died due to accidents and 377 were injured on jobsites, between 2013 and 2016.

An employee’s injury on a construction site directly costs a company:

  • Large hospital bills and prescribed medication
  • Occupational therapy
  • Equipment like crutches or wheelchairs

The costs that are absorbed with operations include:

  • Repair or replacement of equipment due to damage
  • Hiring and training of replacement for the injured employee
  • Loss of man hours
  • Lowered morale and efficiency

Studies have also shown that the indirect costs are usually three to four times the direct costs, and could potentially amount to as much as 20 times. Ensuring safety, therefore, becomes imperative to sustaining efficiency in any construction site and avoiding unwanted costs.

As a business owner, it is your job to communicate proper safety practices to your workers and operators, and thereby create a safer and sound working environment. By taking the steps listed below, you can avoid accidents and injuries on your site and also, relieve your business from significant unforeseen losses.

Training and Education

Perhaps the most important aspect of safety in a construction site is to ensure that all equipment operators are adequately trained. Be it classroom training or hands-on training, every operator needs proper education and understanding of the operating procedures for a machine’s controls, gauges, signals, indicators and displays.

Your local dealership can provide hands-on equipment training to your operators. Service technicians also have the knowledge and experience to help them troubleshoot and maintain a machine. They also understand and can articulate technological upgrades, and enlighten your operators on how to derive the maximum performance from your machine.

Fall Protection and Scaffolding

Having fall protection systems is the most cited standard in the construction industry. As a company, you are required to provide fall protection systems to protect your workers on surfaces with unprotected edges, or sides that are six feet above a lower level. Fall protection may include guardrails, safety net systems and personal arrest systems.

Approximately 65% of all construction employees perform work on scaffolds. They are exposed to falls, electrocutions and falling object hazards. You should ensure that all scaffolding are designed, erected and disassembled by a professional or competent person. They should be erected on solid footing, fully planked and at least 10 feet away from power lines.

Safety Guidelines

Every construction worker must be made aware of the universal safety guidelines, such as:

✓ Wearing protective clothing and personal protection equipment

✓ Using a seatbelt, the grab handles and steps that are provided for a three-point contact while entering and exiting a machine

✓ Wearing tight-fitting clothes that don’t get caught on the components

Make sure that equipment operators review safety and instructional decals, prior to operation. Such decals are also strategically placed on the interior and exterior of equipment, to alert operators about potential hazards. Replace decals that get worn, damaged or missing.

You should also implement a written hazard communication programme that includes an inventory of all hazardous substances at the site. Have a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) available for each hazardous substance. Train your employees regarding the risk of all hazardous chemicals and their proper handling.

Equipment Features

Heavy equipment can be highly technical, especially with the evolution of smarter technologies. Therefore, it becomes crucial for operators to understand advanced equipment technologies. Both you and your operators should understand the multifunctional display panels of the equipment. Rearview or side-view cameras, travel and backup alarms, worklights and mirrors account for safety and efficiency. Cameras improve visibility and reduce the risk of workers getting injured on a site.

Aerial Lifts and Work Zone Inspection

Ensure that all workers operating aerial lifts receive proper training, before being authorised to use aerial lifts on the site. Aerial lifts should be in good operating condition. Also, make sure that work zones are inspected for hazards, including holes, overhead obstructions, inadequate ceiling heights, slopes and ditches. Power lines should be de-energized if possible when workers are in the vicinity.

These practices are essentially prerequisites to proper and safe implementation of projects at any construction site. Invest in preventive measures such as training and educating your workers, propagating safe equipment operations, installing safety systems and carrying out routine maintenance and regular inspection goes a long way in saving on sudden spikes in cost.

Engineers into construction businesses can avail collateral free Engineer Loans from Bajaj Finserv to address safety needs of their workers at their site. Being well-financed helps in the event of any unforeseen incident.

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