Although we tend to equate construction site deaths with workers falling off scaffoldings, mechanical equipment failures or unexpected building collapses, the most recent construction site death involved a New Jersey man delivering drywall to construction site, read the full report here.
A one pound tape measure that became dislodged from a worker’s belt fell 50 stories, ricocheted off construction equipment about 10 feet from the ground and hit the man on the head. The victim, Gary Anderson, was rushed to the hospital but later died of his injuries. He was not wearing a hard hat at the time of the accident.
Usually, a one pound object isn’t capable of inflicting fatal brain trauma. However, the force behind the tape measure was so strong that it caused Anderson to experience immediate and heavy bleeding in the brain, incredible pressure build-up between the brain and skull and extensive damage due to the sheer power of a solid object falling from an extreme height and striking the skull.
It was a terribly unfortunate accident that could have been prevented if Anderson had followed one of the primary rules of construction site safety–always wear a hard hat.
5 Ways To Keep Construction Sites Safe
1. When getting on and off equipment, check your boots for excess mud, oil or lubricants that could make you slip and use gripping gloves to secure your hold. If there is no foot or hand holds on the equipment, use a step ladder to safely leave or access large machinery.
2. Another common construction site accident involve misjudging a machine’s swing radius. Prevent the possibility of someone getting struck by, roping off the swing radius area (allowing for extra room) and forbidding anyone except workers to enter the area. Use spotters if necessary to make sure no one wanders into the swing radius area.
3. All large construction vehicles are equipped with backup alarms. However, these alarms should never be depended on to guarantee assured clearance. Operators should always inspect the area behind their vehicle before backing up, preferably by getting off of the vehicle and physically examining the area for the presence of people, animals or objects that could cause an accident.
4. Housekeeping is often neglected at construction sites because workers are so focused on getting the job done. Consequently, discarded items, holes in the ground, loose wiring and other debris that isn’t picked up, put away or thrown away are accidents waiting to happen.
5. OSHA’s lock out/tag out rule covers the identification of a machine’s “pinch points” and protecting them from unauthorized access by locking them with LOTO tags. Noncompliance with LOTO guidelines could cost a construction company hefty penalties if workers are caught disregarding LOTO procedures.
For more information about construction site, especially in the winter time read our blog here.