Construction is one of the most hazardous occupations today, and masonry contractors are no exception. According to Masonry Magazine, masonry construction is one of the high-risk specialty trades with a nonfatal injury rate of 191.5 per 10,000 equivalent full-time workers.
Creating a safer work environment for those tradespeople helps you avoid OSHA fines, increase employee morale, keep workers on the job, and lower your Contractor Insurance and WC costs.
About the Work
Masonry is a physically demanding job, and masons often work in fast-paced environments. Lifting heavy materials and standing, kneeling, and bending for long periods of time can be strenuous on workers. Plus, masons often work outside where it can be muddy, dirty, and dusty.
Common hazards for masonry contractors include the Occupation Health and Safety’s (OSHA) top four causes of construction fatalities – falls, struck by, caught in/between, and electrocutions, along with cuts, heat exhaustion, exposure to noxious chemical, lifting and moving heavy objects, and overexposure to dust.
Here are four of the most common hazards masonry contractors face and ways to minimize those hazards:
Slips, Trips, and Falls
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of nonfatal work injuries that result in days away from work are the result of slips, trips, and falls. Construction workers are at risk for fatal falls from height by more than seven times the rate of other industries, according to the National Safety Council.
Masons are often required to use ladders and scaffolding to complete their work, which adds to the risk of falling and injury or death.
Here are five ladder safety tips to avoid falls:
- Inspect ladders for defects before using
- Place the ladder on a stable and level surface
- Use three points of contact at all times (one hand and two feet/two hands and one foot)
- Don’t lean, stretch, or make sudden moves while on a ladder
- The proper angle for setting up a ladder is to place its base a quarter of the working length of the ladder from the wall or other vertical surface
Here are five scaffolding safety tips to avoid falls:
- Scaffolding should be erected by someone who is properly trained and qualified
- Inspect scaffolding before using
- Use proper fall protection
- Fully plank the equipment
- Use guardrails
The CDC reports that there were 82 electrocutions or 0.8 electrocution fatalities per 100,000 full-time workers in 2015. To avoid electrocution, know the location of overhead and underground power lines to avoid accidental contact, inspect all tools including extension and power cords for damage before using, ensure that all electrical equipment is properly grounded or double insulated, and protect cords from foot traffic, forklifts, and other equipment.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, lifting heavy items is one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace, and this type of injury often takes a long time to heal. The main causes of these injuries are the weight of objects, awkward postures, high frequency and long-duration lifting, inadequate handholds, and environmental factors.
Here are five lifting safety tips:
- Use mechanical means to move heavy materials such as forklifts whenever possible
- When manually lifting a heavy object, place it close to your body at the “power zone” height – mid-thigh to mid chest
- Bend at the knees, not the waist
- Turn by moving the feet rather than twisting at the waist
- Take regular breaks
Masonry contractors can become ill or even die while working in extreme heat or humid conditions regardless of their age or physical condition. To help prevent heat illness, OSHA recommends that employers provide workers with water, rest, and shade and monitor workers for signs of illness.
Implementing a culture of safety from the top to the bottom of your organization, providing safety training, enforcing safety processes, and providing proper equipment and PPE can help reduce the number of injuries on your worksite and improve your bottom line.
Is Your Contractors Insurance Too High?
If you think your Contractors Insurance is too high, contact one of the experienced agents at the American Insuring Group at (800) 947-1270 or (610) 775-3848 or connect with us online. We specialize in both Contractors and WC insurance and will compare your insurance costs with several companies to ensure that you get the best price.