Safety Best Practices

Top 10 Workplace Hazards and How Safety Software Offers Simple Solutions

Emily Lundh @Emily
Safety & Compliance
0 min read
September 6, 2023

Hey there, fellow builders and safety enthusiasts! Let’s talk shop – construction shop, that is. We’re all about the hustle, bustle, and breathtaking feats of building and engineering that unfold on the construction site. But amidst the excitement, there’s a little voice – well, more like a booming loudspeaker – reminding us to keep safety front and centre. Let’s talk about the top ten workplace hazards and how we can prevent them from happening. So, grab your helmet and let’s dive into the art of staying safe while we build the world.


Hazard: Falls from Heights

Leading Cause: Unprotected Edges and Lacking Guardrails

Construction’s allure lies in building higher, better, bigger. Yet, falls from heights account for a staggering 36% of construction fatalities. The leading culprits? Unprotected edges and missing guardrails. Such hazards often haunt scaffolds, ladders, and elevated platforms, where a momentary lapse in attention can lead to devastating consequences.

Why It Happens: Rushing and Inadequate Training

Falls stem from a multitude of factors. Amidst tight deadlines and demanding workloads, rushing becomes second nature. But it’s often inadequate training that’s the Achilles’ heel. Navigating heights demands precision, balance, and the know-how to detect danger signs.

Where It Happens: Scaffolds, Roofs, Ladders

These incidents don’t discriminate; they happen on rooftops, scaffolds, or even when using ladders to reach elevated areas. These are the domains where ambition reaches for the sky but needs a safety net to match.

Solution: Asset Management & Digital Forms

Asset management steps in as the guardian of maintenance, ensuring equipment’s health. Combining it with digital forms provides streamlined checklists for inspections in elevated areas. It’s like having a vigilant companion on heights, making sure you’re secure every step of the way.

Hazard: Electrocution

Leading Cause: Contact with Power Lines and Faulty Wiring

Electrocution, responsible for an alarming percentage of construction fatalities, results from contact with live power lines or faulty wiring. This electrifying hazard turns a workspace into a potential danger zone, especially when working near power sources.

Why It Happens: Insufficient Awareness and Inadequate PPE

Electrocution is often the result of inadequate safety awareness—failing to recognize potential hazards or not maintaining the requisite distance from live wires. Lack of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) amplifies the risk.

Where It Happens: Overhead Areas and Wiring

Electrical hazards loom overhead—think power lines, wiring, and exposed electrical components. Any area where electricity is conducted poses a potential danger zone.

Solution: Incident Tracking & Certification Management

Incident tracking and reporting act as your vigilant watchdog, noting near-misses and accidents related to electrical issues. Certification management takes centre stage, ensuring only those trained to handle electrical tasks take the reins. It’s the equivalent of having a team of experts analyzing the scene for potential pitfalls.

Hazard: Struck-By Accidents

Leading Cause: Inadequate Warning Signs and Miscommunication

Struck-by accidents, responsible for nearly 10% of construction fatalities, arise when workers are caught off-guard by moving equipment or falling objects. Insufficient warning signs, coupled with miscommunication, form the crux of this peril.

Why It Happens: Neglected Visibility and Human Error

In the whirlwind of a construction site, visibility can be compromised. Human error also comes into play—be it a momentary lapse in focus or misjudgment of an equipment’s trajectory.

Where It Happens: Loading Zones, Pathways, Work Areas

Struck-by accidents transcend job roles and spaces. They can occur in loading zones, on pathways, or even within the construction area itself. Any zone intersecting with moving machinery becomes a potential setting for these incidents.

Solution: Alerts & Asset Management

Alerts emerge as your instant guardians, sending real-time notifications to prevent proximity-based accidents. Asset management contributes by ensuring equipment is in prime condition, lessening the chances of sudden malfunctions. It’s akin to having an alarm system that’s perpetually on the lookout.

site safety

Hazard: Caught In-Between

Leading Cause: Insufficient Safety Barriers and Machinery Interaction

Getting caught in-between—be it equipment or structures—is a hazardous reality. Inadequate safety barriers and unexpected interactions with machinery contribute to these incidents.

Why It Happens: Poor Spatial Awareness and Inadequate Training

Caught in-between incidents stem from factors like poor spatial awareness—a failure to gauge proximity—and lack of proper training in handling machinery.

Where It Happens: Confined Spaces, Machinery Interactions

Caught in-between hazards lurk within confined spaces or during interactions with heavy machinery. Areas that demand careful navigation are hotspots for these accidents.

Solution: Corrective Actions & Digital Forms

Corrective actions provide a blueprint for hazard resolution, reducing the chances of being caught in-between. Paired with digital forms, communication is streamlined, ensuring all necessary parties are aware of potential hazards. It’s like having an organized playbook for preventing entanglements.

Hazard: Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)

Leading Cause: Improper Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Hazardous energy-related incidents occur due to the improper execution of lockout/tagout procedures. These procedures aim to prevent accidental machine start-up during maintenance, repair, or servicing.

Why It Happens: Neglected Procedures and Lack of Awareness

Such incidents arise when lockout/tagout procedures are overlooked or improperly followed. Often, it’s due to a lack of awareness about the energy sources involved.

Where It Happens: Equipment Maintenance Zones

Hazardous energy situations commonly occur in equipment maintenance zones where machines are being serviced or repaired. The risk is amplified when procedures are not followed to the letter.

Solution: Compliance Management & Training Modules

Compliance management acts as a gatekeeper, ensuring only authorized personnel access energy sources during lockout/tagout. Training modules provide the necessary knowledge for executing these procedures with precision. It’s like having a comprehensive manual that prevents the unexpected start of a chapter.

"What we liked most about this user-friendly software is that we can track, safety, assets, maintenance, compliance, documents, employees' credentials, projects, customizable forms and it was very cost effective for us in order to keep growing our business."
Kim D., President @ Northern Equipment Rentals

Hazard: Confined Spaces

Leading Cause: Inadequate Precautions and Air Quality

Confined spaces pose dangers due to inadequate precautions and poor air quality. These spaces limit entry and exit, potentially trapping workers in hazardous conditions.

Why It Happens: Ignored Protocols and Limited Entry Awareness

Incidents in confined spaces occur when protocols for safe entry are ignored or underestimated. Additionally, lack of awareness about entry risks contributes to these hazards.

Where It Happens: Tight Areas with Limited Ventilation

Confined spaces include tight areas like tanks, tunnels, and sewers, often characterized by limited ventilation and access. The confined nature amplifies the risk, demanding heightened precautions.

Solution: Incident Tracking & Alerts

Incident tracking and reporting become your hazard scouts, unveiling threats within confined spaces. Alerts act as your guiding light, reminding workers to follow protocols when entering such areas. It’s like having a compass and a flashlight for navigating uncharted territories.

construction workers evaluating a site with ehs management software

Hazard: Respiratory Hazards

Leading Cause: Inadequate Respiratory Protection and Exposure

Respiratory hazards emerge from exposure to harmful particles, gases, or chemicals without proper protection. Poor air quality and hazardous substances pose significant health risks.

Why It Happens: Skipped PPE and Misjudged Risks

These hazards result from disregarding personal protective equipment (PPE) or underestimating the potential harm posed by certain substances.

Where It Happens: Areas with Airborne Particles and Chemicals

Respiratory hazards prevail in areas with airborne particles, gases, or chemicals, such as construction zones involving welding, painting, or chemical handling.

Solution: Certification Management & Reporting Analytics

Certification management acts as your ticket to the hazardous zone, ensuring only certified individuals tackle these risks. Reporting analytics play the role of a virtual detective, identifying high-risk zones and enabling targeted protection strategies.

Hazard: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Leading Cause: Prolonged Exposure to High Noise Levels

Noise-induced hearing loss stems from prolonged exposure to high noise levels. Construction sites, with their array of machinery and equipment, are a prime breeding ground for this hazard.

Why It Happens: Neglected Hearing Protection and Inadequate Zones

Failing to consistently wear hearing protection and entering areas without designated hearing protection zones contribute to this silent threat.

Where It Happens: Areas with High Machinery Noise

Construction sites with heavy machinery, drilling, and other high-decibel activities are ripe grounds for noise-induced hearing loss.

Solution: Reporting Analytics & Alerts

Reporting analytics keep an ear out for noise levels, while alerts act as reminders to don proper hearing protection. It’s like having a volume knob on potential hearing loss, keeping it at a safe level.

Hazard: Material Handling and Lifting

Leading Cause: Improper Lifting Techniques and Overexertion

Material handling hazards arise due to improper lifting techniques and overexertion. Heavy loads can lead to musculoskeletal injuries if not handled correctly.

Why It Happens: Ignored Training and Poor Technique

These incidents often result from lack of proper training in lifting techniques and ignoring the importance of adopting safe practices.

Where It Happens: Loading and Unloading Zones

Material handling hazards rear their head during loading, unloading, and moving of heavy loads in various construction zones.

Solution: Training Modules & Asset Management

Training modules serve as your personal lifting mentors, imparting the skills needed for safe handling. Asset management acts as your equipment supervisor, ensuring lifting aids are in optimal condition, lessening the burden on workers.

Hazard: Slips, Trips, and Falls

Leading Cause: Poor Housekeeping and Unmarked Hazards

Slips, trips, and falls occur due to poor housekeeping and hazards left unmarked. Uneven surfaces, clutter, and slippery conditions create a hazardous environment.

Why It Happens: Neglected Housekeeping and Distraction

These incidents often result from neglecting to maintain clean and organized workspaces or being distracted while navigating the site.

Where It Happens: Uneven Surfaces and High Traffic Zones

Slips, trips, and falls can happen anywhere, but areas with uneven surfaces, high traffic, or potential trip hazards are the usual suspects.

Solution: Incident Tracking & Reporting Analytics

Incident tracking and reporting shine a spotlight on accident-prone areas, while reporting analytics uncover patterns, enabling targeted preventive measures. It’s like having a magnifying glass that reveals potential hazards in plain sight.

Preventing Hazards with Safety Software Built for Construction

From heart-stopping falls to lurking respiratory hazards, there are a multitude of hazards that can happen at any point on the construction site. But as attentive and cautious as we need to be, there are simple ways to minimize the chances of something going awry. Remember, construction safety isn’t a standalone scene—it’s the plot that ties the entire narrative together. With safety software armed with features like asset management, digital forms, incident tracking, and more, you’re not just constructing buildings; you’re building a culture of security and care. Stay secure, stay informed, and continue crafting a masterpiece of construction site safety.

Well, when you’re ready to simplify the way you’re monitoring safety and reduce incidents, we recommend including SALUS in your evaluation process for safety software. Not only does SALUS have all the solutions we’ve covered in this article, users of their platform have reported a significant decrease in incidents since implementing the software.

With the power of the SALUS platform, you can manage safety compliance across your entire organization from a single place. So go ahead, choose wisely, and let safety software be the cape that guides you through the complex landscape of construction site safety. Stay safe, stay informed, and build on!

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