Construction works in the U.S. are normally efficient. Companies provide the right set of tools and equipment for every project. The workers are also well-trained in handling them. But still, injuries, including fatal ones, continue to run high in the construction industry.
Struck-by injuries, which are caused by moving equipment or a falling or flying object, are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries among construction workers. In 2016, it cost construction companies over $1.7 billion in worker’s compensation. The risk of being struck by a piece of equipment will sadly always be higher for construction workers than all workers in other industries combined. But employers and employees can work together to reduce the risks.
The solution is not to get rid of heavy equipment or decrease them. On the contrary, construction companies should obtain more of them. With an extensive fleet of equipment, they can achieve the following:
1. Decreased Incidents of Injury
Though construction equipment isn’t 100% safe, training workers on how to use them correctly will reduce the likelihood of struck-by injuries. In addition, providing equipment will minimize the hazards of certain jobs, like digging, excavating, or lifting. If workers need to lift a boulder or carry steel, renting high-quality cranes will make the job easier and safer. No worker would have to strain their backs just to get material where it needs to be.
To reduce the risks of struck-by injuries, here are some recommendations by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR):
- Perform comprehensive training, covering safe operation of power tools and equipment
- Secure smaller tools in work belts to prevent them from falling
- Wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves, eyewear, hardhat, face shield, etc.
- Use pedestrian walkways and observe caution before walking into traffic
- Inspect all tools and equipment before using them
- Use sequential triggers for nail guns
- Avoid working under a load, especially when lifting
- Secure all loads and lift evenly to prevent slipping
2. Accelerated Progress
Without the right equipment, progress will be sluggish, what with exhausted workers with limited strengths. A building that could be finished in six months could take a year to complete, even if you’re not short-staffed.
The types of equipment that can accelerate progress are the earth-moving ones. Those are backhoe loaders, bulldozers, excavators, and the like. They can prep the site, move material, and put them back on in minutes. Handheld power tools, like drills, circular saws, and nail guns also speed up jobs. They spare carpenters from manually cutting down lumber and hammering nails, both of which could take hours with little progress.
3. Cost-efficient Projects
Paying for equipment is cheaper than paying for labor. Upfront, labor costs definitely appear cheaper, but in the long run, they’re the opposite. With equipment, you can get numerous jobs done without worrying about hourly wages. On the other hand, paying workers by the hour, but not providing them equipment, only wastes your resources.
4. Fewer Wastes and Hurdles
The key to completing a construction project fast is eliminating every waste and hurdle you can. Equipment will allow you to perform this task impeccably. Dump trucks, for example, will help you get rid of waste and debris fast, prepping the site in minutes. Without those, you’d need helpers who would manually clear out the site, a task that could waste a few precious hours.
Equipment can also address hurdles like physical limitations. Since workers don’t have unlimited strength and speed, they can’t push, pull, and lift every material. They don’t have a superhuman sense of sight as well, so they can’t perform tasks in the dark, the time when some construction works take place. With loaders, power tools, lighting, and more, workers can extend their capabilities and deal with fewer hurdles anytime.
5. Streamlined DIY Tasks
Sophisticated construction equipment benefits DIY enthusiasts, too. As home renovations continue to boom, professionals are preoccupied with projects here and there, forcing some homeowners to take the DIY route. But without enough skill and experience, DIY-ers may end up with unpolished work. The outcomes can obviously look amateur and thus cost more.
But thanks to beginner-friendly equipment, construction novices can achieve pro-like results as well. It would take practice, of course, but at least, it’s all possible without a pro now. They can master basic tasks fast, like hanging a frame on the wall, installing TVs, or cementing driveways. This saves a lot of money and hones your DIY skills for virtually $0.
Even if some construction equipment has caused injuries, they’re still designed to increase the safety of construction workers. So let’s not be too frugal when buying them. They are investments, as is training. Use the equipment like it’s an extension of your body, and all should be well.