What is a Risk Assessment on a Construction Site?
A construction risk assessment is used to evaluate health and safety risks on a construction site. Conducting regular risk assessments helps to comply with OSHA’s safety regulations. The three major hazards are categorized into physical, chemical, and biological dangers that could pop up on any job site:
- Physical – Temperature, noise, repetitive motion, bad posture, inonizing radiation, non-ionizing radiation
- Checmical – Gas, fiber, fume, dust, vapor, mist
- Biologcial – Mold, bacteria, poisons (such as plants and animals), viruses, blood-borne pathogens, parasites
With the help of a risk assessment form for construction, you can identify and evaluate potential hazards before tragedy strikes. At the same time, you can initiate workplace safety by providing employees with personal protective equipment, such as eye protection, face shields, gloves, harnesses, reflective vests, etc. based on the dangers present on that particular project.
These topics are briefly discussed in this article:
What are 3 Tips for Conducting Better Construction Risk Assessment?
A construction risk assessment can help to discern certain risks and prevent them. Typical accidents on the construction site are falls and electric shocks. To prevent such incidents, here are 3 useful tips to help you prevent accidents on your construction site:
Your workers should always have sufficient personal protective clothing (PPE) and other necessary equipment. In this way a variety of injuries can be avoided.
Regular Training Sessions
The right equipment is only usable and operational if your team is sufficiently trained in their use. Offer regular training and assistance to keep your team informed about the correct usage and wear of PPE required for their job. Communicate relevant changes and developments to ensure that employees know the behavioral guidelines for risks and hazards.
Implement Correct Processes
Accidents often happen due to unsystematic, inconsiderate actions. If certain work processes (e.g. the LOTO procedure) are practiced from the very beginning, incorrect procedures and associated problems can be minimized.
What are the 7 Steps to Performing a Risk Assessment on the Construction Site?
- Determine Work Areas
Before any work on the construction site can begin, you must first determine which operations pose the greatest risk. To do this, you should first begin with assessing each component of the worksite. This will largely vary on what step of the construction process is currently being undertaken and what the objective goals of each project are. For this reason, the safety requirements will vary from site to site. The site assessment should include an analysis of the following variables:
- Are your employees working at heights?
- Are there any moving objects that could hit workers or equipment?
- Are there any slick surfaces (sand, wood dust, water) that could produce slip, trips, or falls?
- Are there any machines being used that produce noise over 120 decibels?
- Do your workers handle equipment that could result in hand-arm vibration syndrome? (HAVS)
- Are there any materials or heavy loads that would require workers to manually handle or move them?
- Is there any debris on the job site that could fall on or crush workers?
- Is this undertaking a demolition or construction project? Then there is most likely asbestos present in the insulation and construction materials that are being or have been used in your project.
- Are there any live wires on the construction site, such as underground power cables or electrical equipment that workers should be aware of?
- This last one isn’t even qualified to be a question. If it’s a construction site, then no doubt there’s harmful debris floating around that could harm your worker’s lungs and cause irreversible disease.
It’s most likely you’ve answered yes to at least one of these questions. This is a construction site we’re talking about, after all, and it would be unusual if it were completely free from dangers. Personal protective equipment and staff training need to be issued if there are unavoidable dangers workers will come in contact within their line of duty.
- Conduct a Hazard Analysis
Once you’ve established which part of the construction site poses a threat to worker safety, it’ll then be time to conduct a hazard analysis. You can do this with the help of a hazard identification checklist. This analysis will cover areas such as:
- Manual handling
- Working at heights
- Slip, trip, and fall hazards
- Falling objects
- Nearby work
- Working outdoors
- Traffic management
- Site security
- Toxic chemicals
- Waste disposal
- Heavy lifting
- Small injuries
- Fire and ignition sources
- Heavy machinery
- Environmental dangers
- Topograhical considerations
- Prioritize Hazards
Some hazards are more dangerous than others and should be treated as such. Depending on the type of work and corresponding dangers present on your job site, it will determine how you rank these in accordance to the degree of threat, the likelihood of it transpiring, and the severity of its consequence should it come to pass.
- Determine Measures
If any of these dangers are lurking near, on, or around the construction site, then you’ll have to come up with a list of prevenative measures to mitigate the risk of exposure to each hazard.
An example of this would be working with a jackhammer, chainsaw, drill, and other power tools that give off vibrations and who have a higher risk of developing hand-arm vibration syndrome. Preventative measures for hand-arm vibration syndrome include:
- Take a break from jackhammering, drilling, etc. every ten minutes
- Maintain a loose grip on the power tool
- Refrain from wearing tight clothing on a day of heavy power tool use
- Wear appropriate clothing to ward off the cold
- Buy and use low-vibration power tools
- Wear anti-vibration gloves
- Maintain your power tools
- Don’t exceed your daily vibration tolerance
- Execute Measures
What would it look like to execute these preventative measures? First, an employer would have to take his list of liabilities and their countermeasures and thoroughly educate his employees about their risk. This might look like training classes or certifications before the employees may begin work. Second, the employer will have to provide all corresponding PPE’s and safety equipment required for each job. It will be the employer’s responsibility to maintain his equipment and make sure the construction site is as free from danger as possible.
- Control Effectiveness
After you execute the decided upon measures, you’ll need to analyze their effectiveness. There’s always room for improvement, and an in-depth analysis will help spell out where these improvements can be implemented. Especially in a construction zone where seasoned professionals, who have gotten a little too comfortable in their daily routines, take shortcuts with their safety. A gentle reminder here and there can go a long way in preserving a career otherwise cut short by an avoidable injury.
- Adjust the Hazard Assessment Continuously
Just because your company has performed a CRAW risk assessment doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Safety and hazard prevention is an ongoing fight, a ceaseless struggle between the forces of life and death, ability and disability. The ultimate goal is to have zero injuries and deaths occur under your watch. However, this isn’t always a realistic goal, so we’ll settle on keeping that number as close to zero as possible. For this to happen, though, you must always strive for continuous improvement.
- Document the Risk Assessment
A construction project risk assessment will make documenting easier as all of OSHA’s safety requirements are already accounted for on the checklist. You’ll also find that documenting safety measures and protocols will be to your advantage in the court of law. Without archived data of how you, an employer, have gone the extra lengths to keep your workers safe, the judge will most likely find you liable in the event of a workplace accident, even if it was negligence on the part of your employee. Protect your employees, but also protect yourself with the help of a digital checklist.
Lumiform: The helpful tool for a risk assessment on construction sites
With Lumiform’s mobile app, you can easily carry out any type of risk assessment via tablet or smartphone – online or offline. With the desktop software, you create checklists and evaluate the data collected in the field. This significantly reduces the risk of quality losses, occupational accidents, documentation errors, and damage to your reputation.
After each completed test, the collected data is securely stored in the cloud. The transparent documentation and comprehensive final report allow you to identify trends and weaknesses at an early stage. Benefit from further advantages with Lumiform.
- The flexible checklist builder from Lumiform helps you to convert any individual paper list into a digital checklist without much effort.
- Using the super intuite mobile app, you and your teammates can conduct check in the field with ease and in no time.
- All results, images and comments are automatically bundled in a digital report.
Try Lumiform for free