How Occupational Safety Regulations Save Lives in Construction

Workplace injuries in construction aren’t merely statistics; they represent the harsh reality workers encounter daily. Although Canada generally upholds high workplace safety standards, the numbers remain concerning. 

Just in 2015, 26,000 Canadian construction workers sustained injuries on the job, and 186 lost their lives. Despite the implementation of safety measures, accidents still occur. Common injuries on construction sites include falls, struck by object incidents, electrocutions, and caught-in/between accidents.

Amidst these dangers, occupational safety regulations and an accident injury lawyer Calgary protect workers from harm and ensure their well-being. 

The Harsh Reality of Construction Accidents

Let’s face it, construction work isn’t easy. It involves heavy machinery, working at heights, and handling hazardous materials. According to a report by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), construction has one of the highest rates of job site injuries. Here are major examples:

Soft InjuriesSoft-tissue injuries, such as bruises, sprains, strains, stress injuries, and conditions like bursitis and tendonitis, can vary in severity and are categorized into three grades: Grade 1 is minor, and Grade 3 involves complete rupture or tear.
FallsWorking from heights is a major risk factor. As per the CCOHS, Slips, trips, and falls from ladders, scaffolding, or roofs can lead to severe injuries like head trauma, broken bones, and spinal cord damage.
OverexertionThe leading cause of workplace injury, especially in physically demanding environments like construction sites. Employees performed tasks exceeding their physical capabilities, leading to ergonomic injuries.
FracturesAccidents at work can lead to various types of fractures, with some common ones including comminuted fractures, hairline fractures, impacted fractures, longitudinal fractures, oblique fractures, etc.
Struck-by injuriesGetting hit by falling objects, tools, or equipment can cause severe injuries, including amputations and crushed bones.
ElectrocutionElectrical hazards are a constant threat. Improper wiring, damaged cords, or working with live wires can lead to electrical shocks, burns, and even death.
Repetitive strain injuries (RSIs)Construction work often involves repetitive motions and heavy lifting, which can cause pain and discomfort in muscles, tendons, and joints.

What are Occupational Safety Regulations?

So, what can be done to prevent these workplace injuries? That’s the purpose of Occupational Safety Regulations. These regulations are guidelines set by government agencies to ensure the safety of employees or workers in various industries, including construction. They aim to minimize workplace hazards, prevent accidents, and protect workers from injuries and illnesses.

Occupational Safety Regulations in Construction

They cover various aspects of construction safety, including:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE is provided to construction workers to safeguard them from potential hazards. Proper utilization of PPE significantly reduces the risk of injuries from falling objects, debris, or exposure to harmful substances. The most common PPEs include:

  • Hard hats
  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Steel-toed boots
  • Respirators
  • Protective clothing
  • High-visibility safety apparel

Regulation of Heavy Equipment Operation

Heavy machinery like cranes, excavators, and bulldozers pose significant risks if not operated correctly. Occupational Safety Regulations mandate proper training and certification for equipment operators to ensure safe operation and minimize the likelihood of accidents and injuries.

Safe Work Practices and Procedures

Occupational safety regulations outline specific protocols for various construction activities, including excavation, welding, and working at heights. Adhering to these procedures ensures that tasks are performed safely, reducing the incidence of accidents and injuries on construction sites.

Smart Tools for Monitoring

With technological advancements, smart tools and wearable devices can monitor workplace conditions and worker activities in real-time. These tools provide valuable data insights, enabling proactive identification of potential hazards and implementing preventive measures.

Mandating Training Programs

Comprehensive training programs must educate construction workers about possible hazards, safe work practices, and emergency procedures. Regular training sessions on topics like fall protection, electrical safety, and scaffold usage equip workers with the knowledge and skills to reduce risks effectively.

Construction workers have various options for safety training courses. Workers must choose a course that addresses their specific needs. Some of the must-have safety training courses include:

  • Scaffold Safety 
  • Forklift Safety 
  • Basic Rigging
  • Electrical Safety
  • Crane, Derrick & Hoist Safety
  • Power Tools Handling Training

Risk Assessment & Management

Conducting a risk assessment is crucial in construction. Identifying possible dangers is the edge of risk of risk assessment. This involved planning and developing safety protocols and emergency approaches tailored to the workplace conditions. It’s all about preparedness and resilience in case of unfortunate events. 

Complying with CCOHS regulations ensures legal compliance while protecting workers, especially in the construction industry, from workplace hazards and injuries. 

How to Improve Occupational Safety Regulations in Construction

While Occupational Safety Regulations are essential, there’s always room for improvement. Here are some ways we can build a stronger safety net in the construction industry:

1. Prioritize Safety

Owners and leaders must embed safety into the company culture, emphasizing compliance and accident prevention in daily communication and work practices. Consistent messaging and regular interaction with the workers are essential for the success of any safety program.

2. Create a Site Safety Plan

A thorough safety plan ensures compliance and minimizes risk on the job site. Contractors should regularly review and update their safety plans. Key components of a quality safety plan include:

  • Project description, scope, location, and site conditions.
  • Identification of hazards on the job site.
  • Contact details for safety and emergency personnel.
  • Protocols for addressing safety issues and emergencies.
  • Overview of local, state, and federal safety regulations.
  • Procedures for reporting incidents or hazards, including “near misses.”
  • Feedback mechanisms for the safety plan.

3. Maintain Clear Communication

Share hazard evaluations with everyone involved. Use modern tools like smart devices and construction software to communicate instantly between the office and the job site.

4. Monitor Safety Incidents 

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” It’s a popular saying that emphasizes the importance of tracking safety incidents. Contractors must keep records of injuries and near misses to manage and improve safety effectively. 

Modern construction software makes it easy to record and report safety incidents. Regular safety reports help identify common hazards and prevent future accidents. Every injury lawyer Calgary and other cities would agree that detailed documentation is crucial to determining responsibility for mishaps in legal cases.

5. Conduct Workplace Safety Training

Regularly train all workers on job site safety, especially newcomers or those without construction experience. Continuous training is essential even for experienced workers to reinforce safety practices. Employers should also organize safety stand-downs and events where they directly discuss safety with employees.

The Role of Accident Lawyers in Workplace Injuries

If you’re dealing with a construction accident, don’t hesitate to seek legal help. An accident injury lawyer in Calgary can:

Investigate the accidentThey’ll gather evidence to determine the cause of the accident and identify if there were violations of safety regulations
Fight for your rightsThey’ll work to ensure you receive fair compensation for your lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Deal with the legal systemAccident lawyers have the expertise to handle complex legal procedures, ensuring a smooth and successful outcome for your case.

Ensure Safety on Site 

Occupational Safety Regulations are the cornerstone of worker protection in the construction industry. Construction companies can create safer work environments and prevent accidents by implementing robust safety measures, providing comprehensive training, and embracing technological advancements. Accident injury lawyers in Calgary help ensure injured workers receive the support and compensation needed to recover and move forward.

In construction, prioritizing safety is not just a legal requirement but a moral obligation. By implementing a proactive approach to occupational safety, construction sites are not just sites of progress but also bastions of safety and well-being.

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