With the arrival of another construction season, we must renew our commitment to safety on the job. Each year scores of Laborers are injured because safety measures were either ignored or improperly followed.
Always remember to wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) on the job. When there is movement overhead you need to wear a hard hat. Work boots, safety glasses, and vests are typically required and, depending on noise levels, hearing protection may be necessary. Fall protection is required whenever working at heights of 6 feet or greater (10 feet on scaffolds) and be sure to use respiratory protection when working around toxic dust or chemicals. Other hazards include electrical, slips, trips, and musculoskeletal injuries.
Laborers employed in highway work zones face hazards that include motor vehicles speeding by at 55 to 75 miles-per-hour, just inches from their work space. But let’s not forget that workers are at equal risk for being struck by construction vehicles and equipment in the work zone. This is particularly applicable to Laborers because so much of our work is on foot. Be aware of “blind-spots” behind construction vehicles and always wear high-visibility apparel. Take precautions when working around excavators and backhoe loaders and be knowledgeable of the necessary measures needed to avoid excavation hazards and cave-ins. Remember, the same rules apply for maintenance and utility work zones.