Construction is a necessary yet risky industry. People need to work on scaffolding, maneuver around electrical wiring and build floors that reach well into the sky. Ensuring continual safety is crucial for every team, especially on dangerous sites.

Industry leaders can use these tips to make each site safer, no matter their crew’s size or goals. It’s always possible to reduce safety risks if you keep an open mind and try innovative ideas.

Which Types of Construction Sites Are the Most Dangerous?

Leaders and team members can improve construction safety on any active site by recognizing when a situation or location is becoming more risky. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the most dangerous construction sites always involve these risks:

  • Anything at great heights, since fall protection is the number one violated safety standard on construction sites
  • Construction involving traditional materials that may have asbestos in them
  • Construction requiring electrical work on live sites
  • Sites using industrial machinery like large trucks
  • Construction involving loose materials that could strike the eyes, face or head

Given how loose materials, heavy machinery, and some variation of heights are involved in all residential and commercial construction, increasing worker safety is vital for any project.

Strategies to Enhance Safety on Dangerous Construction Sites

Using these tips before and during construction will make everyone much safer on any active build. Each effort will reduce the risk of injuries, even for the most experienced staff.

1. Discuss the Biggest Risks Together

Some crews arrive for their shifts every day and wait to find out what work they’ll do. Although this is a standard routine for fast-paced construction, it leaves more room for accidental safety violations.

Before work begins on a new site, discuss the long-term plan with your workers. Note which steps come with specific risks and how those risks will change throughout the project’s development. Leaders can also conduct additional safety meetings throughout long-term projects so everyone’s aware of evolving concerns.

2. Invest in Better Safety Gear

Older gear may not provide the level of safety construction workers need to maintain every day. Worn straps and cracked materials could lead to accidents, so construction leaders should work with their management teams or company owners to invest in high-quality safety gear. Respiratory masks with better protection against particulate matter, top-tier footwear and durable hardhats that double as headlamps are just a few simple changes that would improve site safety overnight.

3. Conduct VR Training Sessions

Preparing team members for dangerous construction sites is more challenging because the environment is more challenging to recreate in training. Virtual reality (VR) headsets eliminate that issue. 

While using a VR headset, construction workers can complete training modules where they operate machinery in specifically dangerous situations. When it’s time to use that machinery in the real world, they’ll know to do things like use a forklift’s horn at blind intersections and corners to alert anyone in their path. They won’t need to experience a safety concern in real life before understanding how to react, further protecting everyone’s well-being.

4. Install Perimeter Security Measures

Safety threats don’t always happen during a work shift. They can also occur when people try to trespass on sites to steal materials or spend the night in partially built structures. Security cameras are a significant safety investment because they watch around the clock for intruders. Motion-activated floodlights may also increase construction safety by scaring potential trespassers away before crossing the property line.

5. Provide Reliable Communication Equipment

Two-way radios are essential on construction sites. They should have full batteries and enough range to reach across the site throughout the day. People working on responsibilities by hand will be able to reliably communicate with everyone, not just those in machinery with built-in radios.

Cellular boosters are also helpful. Teams that communicate with their phones instead of radios won’t have to worry about their safety diminishing on sites with poor cell reception. Given how rural populations have grown steadily in recent years, rural construction will likely continue growing.

6. Fly a Safety Drone

After receiving virtual or in-person training, an employee could fly a drone around an active site each day. The drone’s camera would provide better perspectives on those working at great heights. If crew members do something less than safe, the person flying the drone could note the activities so everyone can review better procedural methods in the following risk assessment meeting.

7. Document Safety Efforts With Team-Wide Software

Documentation is a powerful safety tool. Leaders should note correct procedures and accidental events to protect everyone. As they make daily logs, the long-term data will reveal patterns, like specific machinery that always requires repairs or mistakes made during particular construction phases. Management can then care for issues before they become more significant accidents.

8. Set Up More Signs Than Necessary

Dangerous construction sites don’t just pose risks to those working on them — they can also endanger the general public. Falling materials could injure people passing by if they don’t realize work is ongoing around the area.

Construction crews can set up signs pointing out things like exposed electrical wiring, unstable temporary flooring or active work happening well above populated areas. It helps those around the site make smarter decisions, like walking on the other side of the street to avoid potential injuries.

Signs also help the general community. If a sign on a busy road indicates where construction vehicles are entering or exiting, drivers can be more cautious. They should also know where they might drive over electrical cords if a site requires wiring run across a busy road. Although the wiring itself may not be an issue, being aware of what’s in their paths prevents drivers from encountering surprises and swerving their vehicles.

Improve Construction Safety on Every Site

Improving worker safety on dangerous construction sites is possible by evaluating risks and planning around them. Efforts like flying a safety drone, improving worker gear and ensuring constant conversations regarding risks increase safety on any site.