The California construction industry poses an endless list of safety risks for everyone on site. High-rise construction is hazardous because work takes place on multiple levels. If you were a member of a construction crew working on a high-rise project, it would be a good idea to become familiar with the safety precautions that must be in place to protect you and your co-workers.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires a competent person to assess all potential safety hazards already at the project planning stage. Based on that assessment, all the workers allocated to the project must receive relative safety training. Furthermore, all the workers are entitled to learn what hazards they will encounter and learn how to mitigate each one.
Falls are the most significant risk
Most construction site fatalities follow falls from heights, and when the project is a high-rise building, mitigation is crucial. Your employer must have a straightforward fall prevention program that includes the following:
- An adequately fitted fall arrest system
- A demonstration of how to wear the equipment and set up the equipment
- Safety training in the correct use of the harness, lanyards, anchors and other parts of the device
Along with the proper use, your safety training must cover the inspection of the equipment before every use along with how to recognize defects and damage to any part of the fall arrest system.
Other essential personal protective equipment
Due to the hazards related to multi-story projects, the following must form part of pre-project protection measures and safety training:
- Hard hats to protect lower-level workers from objects dropped from higher levels
- Hard hats for all when cranes or other overhead equipment moves materials
- Hearing, eyes, feet and hands need protection
- Respiratory protection if scaling, paint removal or sandblasting frees up lead-containing materials or dust
The higher your tasks take you, the more exposed you will be in extreme weather conditions, which could be any of the following:
- Too warm clothing on a hot day could cause dehydration.
- Not warm enough in cold conditions hampers movement, making strains or sprains more likely.
- In high winds, gripping tools and carrying loads, maintaining balance could be complicated.
Additional hazards include metal fumes in welding activities, heat and high voltages, storage cylinders and the compressed gasses they hold.
High rise-related falls could cause brain injuries or spinal cord damage that might put an end to your career. However, the California workers’ compensation program will have your back. Along with medical expenses and lost wages, you might receive permanent disability benefits. Furthermore, you might be eligible for vocational rehabilitation to learn new skills to prepare you for a different career.