While all workplaces have their hazards, construction sites pose a particularly dangerous threat if you work on one. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the national average for fatal work-related injuries in all industries is lower than that for the construction industry alone.
The greatest percentage of fatal construction site injuries result from falls. There are different types of fall risks present on a construction site, but fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself from falling.
Be sure that you always use the correct ladder for the task. For example, if the work is electrical in nature, do not use a ladder with metal components. You should also ensure that it is tall enough to reach the work area safely. Before you use a ladder, inspect it first to ensure that it is free of any defects. If you run across a defective ladder, destroy it immediately if possible. Otherwise, mark it with a tag or label saying “do not use.”
An estimated 50 construction deaths occur every year in the United States because of improperly erected or used scaffolding. Maintain at least 10 feet between electrical power lines and scaffolding at all times. Platforms should consist of scaffold plank grade material, and all scaffolds should have toe boards, mid-rails and guardrails. Scaffolds should only go on solid footing and should carry four times the maximum intended load in addition to their own weight. Use ladders or stairwells to access scaffolds, and do not use unstable objects to support the planks or the scaffolding itself.
Ladders and scaffolds should undergo inspection by a competent person before use.