Throughout the year, I Build America – Kentucky participates in a variety of safety-related events and online campaigns. We recently wrapped up National Work Zone Awareness Week, and we’re preparing for Construction Safety Week. Safety is important in every industry, but it is especially important in construction, especially in heavy highway construction, mining and aggregates, and commercial construction, where work environments and equipment can be particularly rigorous in their demands for safety. Heavy construction workers are often exposed to dangerous equipment and hazardous materials, and they must take every precaution to protect themselves from injury.
There are many reasons why safety is so important in heavy construction:
- First, it is the law. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets safety standards for all workplaces, and heavy construction companies are required to comply with these standards.
- Second, safety is good for business. Companies that have a good safety record are less likely to be fined by OSHA, and they are also more likely to attract and retain good employees.
- Third, safety is the right thing to do. Every worker deserves to go home safely at the end of the day.
Kentucky has a good safety record in the construction industry. In 2021, there were 14 fatalities in the construction industry, which is a rate of 4.2 deaths per 100,000 workers. This is lower than the national rate of 4.8 deaths per 100,000 workers.
That being said, even 4 deaths is too many. We want to get that number to 0, and doing so requires the efforts of everyone in construction AND in the community. Across Kentucky, employers are working to improve safety across the board, including:
- Providing workers with the proper training and equipment
- Creating a culture of safety in the workplace
- Enforcing safety rules and regulations
- Investigating accidents and near misses
- Taking steps to prevent accidents from happening again
Safety is everyone’s responsibility. By working together, we can create a safe workplace for everyone.
Here are some additional tips for staying safe in heavy construction:
- Always wear the proper safety gear, including hard hat, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, and reflective vests.
- Be aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for hazards.
- Use caution when operating heavy machinery.
- Follow all safety procedures.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks.
- If you see something unsafe, speak up.
By following these tips, you can help to keep yourself and your coworkers safe on the job.