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Ergonomics in construction

SafetyClicks™ Idea of the Week

Unexpected production costs and missed deadlines can cut into your company’s profits. One way to increase production is to reduce injuries. Back injuries and other ergonomic disorders are a major category of construction injuries. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce these injuries.

Show that you care about safety and your workers:

  • Let your workers know that safety is not an option; it’s a requirement.
  • Schedule regular weekly site safety meetings with all workers.
  • Walk your site daily and correct any hazards, or report them to superiors.
  • Recognize individual workers who use safe work practices and serve as an example to other workers.

Plan and organize jobs. Pre-planning and organizing each phase of a job can help in meeting schedules while making work safer and smoother:

  • Evaluate jobs in advance to identify hazards.
  • Think ahead and plan for the next task.
  • Teach your workers to rotate heavy and light tasks to prevent overexertion.

Schedule enough workers. When the schedule is tight, workers tend to take shortcuts and get careless. Be careful not to overwork your crew since when you have enough workers to help each other, the chance of losing a worker to injury is reduced. Also, look for signs of fatigue, especially in workers who work extended hours or unusual schedules.

Consider your options. Work may involve heavy lifting, awkward postures or repetition, so:

  • Provide mechanical equipment or co-worker assistance when possible.
  • Rotate workers among different job tasks (where training allows) to share jobs and reduce the chance of injuries.

Learn from past accidents and near-misses. You can prevent future injuries if you understand what caused an accident or near-miss:

  • Investigate accidents and near-misses to find the cause.
  • Obtain worker input on how the job can be improved.
  • Make changes and then follow up to make sure they are effective.
Source: Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA)