Despite having newer safety equipment and extensive training, the construction industry still observes a high rate of fatal and non-fatal accidents among workers. As per OSHA, one in five deaths among workers in the United States happen in the construction industry. Therefore, the construction risk assessment includes identifying and evaluating risks at construction sites and finding effective control measures to reduce the likelihood of their occurrence.
Four Types of Checklists for Construction Risk Assessment
Many construction activities are hazardous by nature and need a comprehensive evaluation of risks. This article will discuss four significant construction risks and create safety checklists for each one of them.
1. Fire Safety Checklist
According to the National Fire Protection Association, between 2013 to 2017, there was an average of 3800 fires in structures and buildings that were under construction. Fires are one of the significant risks at construction sites because they can occur on any construction project. Some of the common causes of fires at construction sites are hot work operations like welding and soldering, temporary heaters, smoking, arson, and flammable materials.
The fire risk assessment will involve identifying the fire hazards as well as people who are at risk. In addition to that, the management must take corrective actions to reduce and remove the threat. Finally, document the whole process for review and future use. Here are few essential points that must be there in the fire safety checklist:
- Find out if there are objects at the construction site which could start a fire, such as chemicals, machinery, vehicles.
- Note down materials at the site which can easily catch fire. These materials could be wood, paper, fabric, etc.)
- Note down people who could be at risk in case a fire breaks out. They can be full-time workers as well as third-party contractors.
- Ensure that fire detection and warning systems are installed on the site and are working correctly.
- Make sure there are sufficient fire escape routes everywhere at the construction sites. These escape routes should be appropriately highlighted and illuminated.
2. Fall Prevention Checklist
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 33% of all construction deaths in 2018 were from construction workers falling from height. OSHA considers falling from height as one of the ‘Fatal Four’ hazards in the construction industry.
Almost any walking or working surface at a construction site can turn into a fall hazard, especially if it is at an elevation of six feet or higher. Broken portable ladders, unprotected roof edges, and improper scaffolding are the common causes of falling at job sites.
Hence, it’s necessary to conduct a proper risk assessment of fall hazards to reduce fatalities and injuries. Keep in mind that any risk is a combination of two factors – likelihood and severity. Therefore, when assessing the risk of falling, it is imperative to determine how likely the person is to fall and how dire the consequence of the fall will be. Here is what you should keep in mind when creating a fall prevention checklist:
- All kinds of works that happen at height should be planned appropriately. Furthermore, everyone involved in that work should be experienced and competent.
- Conduct maintenance and inspection of construction and safety equipment used at the height at regular intervals.
- Ensure workers are not operating at heights during adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, sandstorms, thunderstorms, etc.
- Workers operating at a height for longer durations should avoid using portable ladders and use tower scaffold, podium step or cherry picker instead.
3. Electrical Safety Checklist
Death by electrocution happens when a person is exposed to a lethal amount of electricity. According to the 2018 NFPA report, 77% of the 325 electrocution deaths from 2012-2016 involved workers employed in the construction industry.
Both overhead and underground cables carry high voltage electricity and workers can touch them by mistake. Faulty electrical equipment and exposed wires are another reason behind electrocution at construction sites.
At construction sites, the risk assessment of electrical hazards identifies common risks such as faulty electrical outlets and old wires. The evaluation should also include what kind of electrical works are happening at the site.
Identify what could go wrong with electrical systems and what measures to take to mitigate the risk. The following points should be added to the electrical safety checklist:
- Use ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) at electrical outlets which are not part of the permanent wiring structure. GFCI cuts off the electrical current flow when it detects an irregularity.
- Workers at construction sites should maintain a safe distance from overhead and underground cables.
- Check power tools and extension cords for cuts, abrasions, and damaged insulation. Use Power tools for intended purposes only.
- Use Lockout/Tagout procedures to prevent accidental electrocution when electrical equipment is not in use.
4. Asbestos Safety Checklist
Asbestos is a group of minerals that are found in nature and are resistant to heat and corrosion. These properties are helpful in building materials such as floor tiles and insulation for pipes.
Both OSHA and the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) consider asbestos a health hazard because breathing can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other diseases. However, there is no safe level for asbestos exposure because even a few days can cause health problems.
The risk assessment of asbestos involves examining the potential asbestos-related health risks and identifying which precautions are required to make the workplace safe for workers. The person responsible for the evaluation should investigate the types and quantity of asbestos present at a job site. The asbestos safety checklist should include the following criteria:
- Identify locations and quantity of all asbestos-containing materials at the construction site. Ensure workers are aware of the presence of asbestos in their respective work areas.
- Make sure workers have clean protective work clothing, respirators, and equipment every week. They should also have access to a clean room and shower area in the workplace.
- Machines and tools that can release asbestos fibres should be equipped with exhaust ventilation.
There are various kinds of risks and hazards in the construction industry that need to be accessed responsibly. Safety checklists ensure that all these construction hazards are adequately inspected. Pulse is an EHS platform that offers different checklist templates for different types of industries. Register now to get access to new and exciting features.