Accidents and work-related illnesses are about twice as common among construction workers as for workers on average. Particularly common are falls, heavy and inappropriate lifting and accidents involving machines – but many injuries could be avoided through better planning. A good work environment benefits everyone through reduced absence due to sickness, more efficient production and improved economy. Here you can read about some of the frequently occurring risks and how to prevent them. Further examples and additional information can be found in the brochure Safer construction work (ADI 539) and on the web pages linked to the bottom of the page.

Preventing the risk of falling

Falls are the leading cause of deaths and accidents on construction sites. The risk of falling must be prevented. Guardrails, working platforms, work baskets or scaffolding must be used when needed. In the event that such equipment cannot be used, personal fall protection equipment must be used.

Working more safely on roofs

For working on roofs, guardrails or equipment that provides equivalent protection should normally be used. Railings can sit on the eaves or in a position that finishes just below the eaves. Sometimes, safety harnesses with rope must be used for protection instead of railings or other equipment. If personal fall protection equipment with rope is used, the rope must be attached appropriately to the roof, e.g. to a fixed safety device.

Checking equipment and installations

Fire equipment, alarm systems, electrical installations, traffic control devices, safety nets and safety signs and anything else belonging to the building site must be inspected and maintained regularly. It is appropriate to make a plan for when and how the inspections shall be carried out. Work should be stopped immediately if there are any flaws that may pose a serious risk to health and safety.  Work may only resume once the flaw has been corrected.

Storage and arrangement of materials

Serious accidents can occur when assembled or stacked construction products move. Where there is a risk of this happening, the construction products must be secured. The same applies when working with construction products or equipment that contain stored energy, such as pre-stressed steel tendons and spring-loaded doors. Remember that fastenings for construction products must be able to cope with windy conditions.

Passing vehicles

On some construction sites, the nearby traffic (cars, trains, etc.) pose a risk. Such risks may exist with road construction or railway construction but also, for example, in the construction of buildings close to the street. The regulations include a variety of measures that should be considered or taken in order to prevent risks. In the first instance, traffic must be diverted so that the work is not affected. High-visibility clothing with reflectors must be worn, particularly by the person directing traffic and by those who are working in places that are not separated from the traffic.