Common Safety Hazards Contractors Face in the Workplace


Safety in the workplace is of paramount importance, especially for contractors, who face a variety of safety hazards depending on the type of work they are performing. Recognizing and mitigating these hazards is imperative to establishing a secure working environment for everyone involved.

Despite the progress made in safety equipment, technologies, and comprehensive training for contractor workers, the incidence of both fatal and nonfatal injuries and accidents remains unacceptably high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reported that there were 5,190 fatal work injuries recorded in the United States in 2021, with 951 deaths occurring in construction and extraction occupations. Contractors are a vulnerable population when it comes to serious injuries and fatalities on the job. They often perform higher-risk jobs with little to no supervision, making it crucial for employers to have a comprehensive contractor management program.

Workplace Safety and OSHA Regulations

Contractors’ safety is the responsibility of the companies they work for, and failure to ensure their safety can lead to severe financial consequences and legal liabilities. OSHA’s findings, indicating that 20% of occupational fatalities occur in construction, underscore the importance of a robust safety program, which may include the use of contractor management software to enhance safety and health practices. The agency also reports the fatalities of contract workers every month, often publicizing citations and fines for both host companies and the employers of contract employees if they are killed or injured on the job.

Regardless of the substantial fines issued by OSHA for safety violations, the rate of fatal injuries in construction remains relatively unchanged. The complexity and hazards of the work, compounded by an increase in instances of self-harm among workers, present significant challenges that demand attention. Prioritizing safety standards for contractors and their employers is not only ethically imperative but also a sound business practice, leading to lower insurance and workers’ compensation premiums.

Working at Heights

Falls from heights represent the primary cause of fatal injuries in the workplace. OSHA reports that falls account for 33.5% of all construction fatalities, making them the foremost hazard on construction sites. Although around 62% of construction workers are exposed to heights (data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor), only half utilize personal protective equipment. Proper training on various types of equipment and strategic work planning, coupled with safety measures like nets, guardrails, and equipment securing, significantly diminish the risk of falls.

Moving and Flying Object Hazards

Over 60% of contractor workers operate in proximity to moving and flying objects, including vehicles, machinery, and equipment. According to OSHA statistics, struck-by hazards rank among the top four deadliest at construction sites. Working near moving objects often leads to falls, with 60% of the annual 42 crane-related deaths resulting from falling objects. It’s vital to train contractors to keep a safe distance from moving objects and to wear high-visibility clothing. Adherence to OSHA standards and proper training substantially mitigates the risk of accidents related to moving objects, enhancing overall construction safety.

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls can occur in nearly any environment, and construction, mining, and oil and gas sites are particularly susceptible due to uneven terrain, structures at varying stages of completion, and unused materials on site. Effective management of work areas and access routes, combined with comprehensive training, is instrumental in minimizing the risk of slips, trips, and falls.

Other Common Safety Hazards

Beyond the above mentioned hazards, contractors also contend with common safety risks such as noise, hand-arm vibration syndrome, material and manual handling, collapsing trenches, asbestos, electricity, and airborne fibers and materials. Delivering appropriate training and providing protective equipment is crucial to reducing the risk of accidents and injuries associated with these hazards and elevating construction safety.

How to Manage Workplace Safety Hazards

Timely identification of safety hazards, comprehensive safety training, and protective equipment are pivotal in enabling contractors to work safely and minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries. The utilization of contractor management software emerges as an effective tool for managing safety standards and ensuring regulatory compliance, thereby fostering a safer workplace.

Appruv, a leading contractor management software, assumes a crucial role in averting risks linked to safety hazards on worksites. By streamlining safety standards and ensuring compliance, Appruv empowers contractors to proactively address safety hazards and create a secure work environment for all workers.

For further insights on how Appruv can assist in addressing these hazards and enhancing workplace safety, contact us today. For more resources, check out the Appruv Resource Center.

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