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Construction site safety

A site-safety sign at a highway overpass construction site describing the mandatory safety procedures and equipment.

Construction is the most dangerous land based work sector in Europe (the fishing industry being more dangerous). In the European Union, the fatal accident rate is nearly 13 workers per 100,000 as against 5 per 100,000 for the all sector average (Source: Eurostat).

In the U.S. there were 1,225 fatal occupational injuries in the construction sector in 2001 with an incidence rate of 13.3 per 100,000 employed workers. [1] For the same year the construction industry experienced 481,400 nonfatal injuries and illnesses at a rate of 7.9 per 100 full-time workers in the industry. [2] Construction has about 6% of U.S. workers, but 20% of the fatalities - the largest number of fatalities reported for any industry sector.[3]

The problem is not that the hazards and risks are unknown, it is that they are very difficult to control in a constantly changing work environment.


Nature of hazards

Hazards to construction workers

The leading safety hazards on site are falls from height, motor vehicle crashes,electrocution, machines, and being struck by falling objects. Some of the main health hazards on site are asbestos, solvents, noise, and manual handling activities.

Hazards to non-workers

Many construction sites cannot completely exclude non-workers. Road construction sites must often allow traffic to pass through. This places non-workers at some degree of risk.

This sign and advisory plate (625 MPH, a test engineer's joke) (The sign says 62POINT5. The point is hard to see, but, if you look, you can see it.) penetrated the windshield and roof of a car in a side-impact test crash. A safer sign would have stiffer uprights, no advisory plate and the flashing light would be moved to the point of the sign to spread the impact force.

Road construction sites are blocked-off and traffic is redirected. The sites and vehicles are protected by signs and barricades. However, sometimes even these signs and barricades can be a hazard to vehicle traffic. For example, improperly designed barricades can cause cars that strike them to roll over or even be thrown into the air. Even a simple safety sign can penetrate the windshield or roof of a car if hit from certain angles.

Applicable laws

Under European Union Law, there are European Union Directives in place to protect workers, notably Directive 89/391 (the Framework Directive) and Directive 92/57 (the Temporary and Mobile Sites Directive). This legislation is transposed into the Member States and places requirements on employers (and others) to assess and protect workers health and safety.

In the United States the Occupational Safety & Health Administration OSHA sets and enforces standards concerning workplace safety and health.

See also


  1. ^ BLS. 2002 Census of fatal occupational injuries. Fatal injuries. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Safety and Health Statistics Program [1]
  2. ^ BLS. Survey of occupational injuries and illnesses. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Safety and Health Statistics Program. 2002. Nonfatal (OSHA recordable) injuries and illnesses. Industry incidence rates and counts. [2]
  3. ^ NIOSH Construction. United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Retrieved on 2007-10-15.

Έ==External links==

Categories: Occupational safety | Road safety | Occupational safety and health | Construction

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