Risk reduction for environmental contractors
July 14, 2015
In addition to environmental-specific risks, environmental contractors still face on-the-job risks similar to all other construction contractors. These risks can affect anyone and it’s important to take the time to remind workers about these risks and how they can be easily prevented.
Whether by way of a sudden accident, or a chronic injury acquired over a long period, strains are very common and can damage muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. This can be devastating for employers and employees, resulting in increased workers’ compensation costs and lost work time. In fact, strains account for more than a third of all work-related lost time.
To reduce exposure to strain injuries:
- Invest in fully adjustable workstations, which can be tweaked for each worker
- Provide a stretching program for employees to help reduce risk
- Give each worker training and resources to prepare their own work station and practices to prevent injury
Slip, trip and fall injuries
Not all slip, trip and fall injuries happen from great heights; they can easily occur on flat, dry services. However, these injuries can be greatly reduced through rigorous practices of design, training and management. Awareness of the surrounding site is key to avoiding hazardous areas.
To reduce these claims:
- Identify where there may be wet, icy or greasy floors and implement a system to address these regularly
- Ensure adequate storage for equipment to be stowed properly, to help avoid a tripping hazard
- Implement policies and procedures for storing, cleaning and maintaining equipment
- Devise a policy in which all workers are responsible for reporting spills, leaks and other tripping hazards
Struck by/falling objects
These injuries – which include being hit by falling equipment, vehicles, debris and cave-ins – account for 18 percent of construction site fatalities and injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These injuries are a risk to both workers and the public.
To reduce these claims:
- Carefully plan for each project, ensuring each worker has the safety equipment needed, including hard hats, safety goggles and reflective vests
- Know and honor the limits of cranes and other heavy machinery
- Never walk under a load
- Maintain power tools in good condition
- Secure materials with debris nets and toe boards
Of course, even with these precautions, accidents can and do happen. Making environmental construction workers aware of regular on-site risks can help you to avoid high workers’ compensation claims and keep everyone safe.