A hard hat is an essential piece of a construction worker’s uniform for good reason. The construction industry has more fatal and nonfatal traumatic brain injuries than any other profession in the United States.
Falls, struck-by accidents and vehicle crashes are common — but often preventable — causes. Here are some strategies to minimize your risk of a work-related head injury.
Falls cause more than half of all fatal work-related brain injuries. Research shows that workers for small construction companies (less than 20 employees) and workers over the age of 65 have greater risk of fatal head injuries.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recommends employers hold annual Safety Stand-Down meetings to discuss fall risks with their employees. OSHA rules require employers to provide fall protection and the right equipment — including appropriate ladders, scaffolds and safety gear such as harnesses — for workers who are 6 feet or more above the ground. Extreme heat can affect balance, cloud thinking and slow reaction time, so on hot days roofers need more water and longer breaks.
Struck-by accidents are the second-leading cause of death on construction sites and the leading cause of nonfatal injuries. They occur when workers are hit by airborne objects, vehicles or heavy equipment.
To limit the danger, workers should wear hard hats and high-visibility clothing and avoid hazardous areas on a jobsite. Danger zones include areas under loads; inside the swing radius of a backhoe, crane or excavator; and within the blind spots of any piece of heavy machinery. Operators of heavy equipment need to follow designated travel routes at a safe speed, use a backup alarm while moving in reverse and obey the signals of a spotter.
Workers should tether their tools to their belt when working above ground to avoid dropping them on coworkers.
Construction jobsites can be dangerous, but so can the roads to and from the site. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of work-related deaths across all industries, and construction employees accounted for 14% of work-related traffic deaths in 2020 — second only to the transportation and warehouse industry.
A robust safety program that encourages defensive-driving tactics, regular vehicle maintenance and Department of Transportation compliance is a must. Research has shown onboard safety monitoring devices combined with driver feedback and coaching can decrease accidents 38.1% and reduce serious accidents by 59.1%. The T3 operating system offers several features that potentially can improve driver safety, including T3 Dash Cams, maintenance Alerts and T3 E-Logs to ensure driver compliance.
Learn more about how T3 can make your company safer.