Stay Mindful of These Construction Hazards as You Work
As with any construction project, surface finishing is an opportunity to be vigilant about worker safety. Accidents and injury can occur in the blink of an eye, with the potential for lasting repercussions for operators and their companies. Whether in a workshop or at a larger construction site, surface finishing operators may deal with powerful machinery, different types of abrasive medias, and the many variables a large work crew brings to the table.
To minimize the risk of accident and injury to you or your work crew, stay mindful of these common construction hazards.
Construction Hazard: Dust, Shavings, and Fumes
It’s possible that during surface finishing, hazardous materials are released into the air. This can come from exposure to dust and shavings of a finished metal surface. Projects that require sealant or paint finishing can release VOC’s into the air, too, which can also be dangerous to health when inhaled frequently or over a duration of time. To minimize risk of exposure and inhalation, operators should wear masks.
Construction Hazard: Lack of Proper Safety Gear
Operators in a workroom or at a construction site should always be equipped with the appropriate safety gear. For surface finishing that requires the use of machines like portable sandblasters, this may include wearing a blasting suit, blasting gloves, goggles, and a protective mask. Lighter finishing jobs may merit the use of a protective work apron, hard hat, and steel-toed boots. Keep in mind that workers should dress for the hazards of the general working environment, not just their specific task.
Construction Hazard: Missing or Improper Air Filters and Detectors
A construction environment, primarily those indoors, should be properly ventilated at all times. A ventilation system keeps dust and chemical fumes out of the air, and can help prevent odorless toxins – like carbon monoxide—from building up as well. Ensure your worksite is up to code and equipped with the proper vents, carbon monoxide detectors, and smoke alarms.
Construction Hazard: Working at Height
Will your project require surface finishing that occurs off the ground? Applying a sealant to a metal beam or sandblasting a fixture on an open second floor can put your operators at risk for falling. To mitigate that risk, always identify when a project will involve working at height before workers arrive on site. On the job, keep walking areas near the area clear of miscellaneous objects to avoid tripping hazards, and make sure proper railings are in place and that workers always wear harnesses when required.
Construction Hazard: Too Many Moving Parts
A construction environment can have a lot going on. Not only might there be many people focused on many different jobs, those people often have to move heavy tools, sharp objects, beams, and powerful machinery. As these people and parts move around, it’s important they don’t get in the way of each other. You can decrease the likelihood of crossed paths and back overs with proper worker training. Instill in workers that call outs should be given when passing with heavy or dangerous objects behind others, reiterate the importance of checking blind spots, and regularly check that any machinery driven has working alarms when put in reverse. As an operator, practice the right protocol and encourage others to do the same.
There are, of course, a number of other construction hazards to keep an eye out for while working on a surface finishing project. Feel free to reach out to our team for more information about surface finishing and improving safety during your surface finishing projects.