There are many safety risks on a construction job site. With hard hats and separating gates, some precautionary steps are taken to protect both employees and local residents of the area. One of the biggest risks in the construction industry is injuries related to heavy lifting. Construction projects often require the use of heavy equipment and tools and if not handled properly, could lead to serious injury.
Lifting injuries are commonly overlooked
There are many state and government regulations set to improve safety on construction job sites. Many of these safety regulations, however, are for the purpose of falls. For example, OSHA requires that fall protection is provided at elevations of four feet in general industry workplaces, five feet in shipyards, six feet in the construction industry, and eight feet in long shoring operations. In fact, many of OSHA?s safety standards are based on falls.
Fall protection is very important, but it is not the only safety precaution that is needed on a construction site. Equipment like chain slings and proper lifting equipment also need to be used to prevent injuries from heavy machinery. Workers also need proper training on the prevention of lifting injuries, including crane service operation and the appropriate lifting products.
External risks of lifting injuries
While the increased safety of proper machine equipment is important, it is also necessary to understand emergency protocol. Normal lifting occurs when the construction site is as expected, including consistent weather, normal usage of chain slings and other equipment, and availability to all lifting gear. Other factors, however, can affect the safety of the job site. For example, if the temperatures are hotter or colder than average, this can affect the user?s ability to securely hold and operate the machinery. The actual tools used on the job site can also affect the temperatures of the working area. This is often not a concern with falls, as uncoated metal mesh slings can withstand temperatures up to 550 degrees F. To prepare for incremental weather, the job site should have emergency preparations in place and know which lifting equipment to use in which temperatures.
The importance of proper maintenance
In addition to having the right safety equipment to prevent lifting injuries, these pieces of equipment also need to be properly maintained. This means preventative maintenance, routine inspections, and replacement when needed. Without keeping up with proper maintenance, the lifting protection equipment does not work the same. Equipment like chain slings and other lifting gear are more at risk of failing. Just like with fall protection, lifting protection plans should also be regularly tested. According to OSHA, during the testing of all fall arrest systems, the test weight of 300 pounds (plus or minus 5 pounds) should be used. The same weights should be used for lifting equipment safety.
Replace and upgrade lifting materials
It is also crucial that safety equipment is replaced when it is outdated or no longer working, according to safety standards. New safety equipment is constantly released into the construction industry and while it might not be cost efficient to replace every piece of equipment every time, items should be replaced regularly. This is the best way to prevent lifting injuries, which could put a production and financial strain on the construction business.
Construction workers are at risk of many injuries, including lifting injuries. Lifting injuries occur when safety equipment like chain slings are not used properly. They also occur when the safety equipment on site is not maintained or replaced when needed. Lifting injuries are often overlooked because they are not the worse injury that can occur. Yet, injuries from lifting can cause a lot of pain and can affect the worker for the rest of their life. Lifting protection is important.