Case Studies

Health and safety in construction is not a matter to be taken lightly. The construction industry is prone to many hazards and accident potential, and health and safety needs to be front of mind in every aspect of construction at all times. Construction materials, tools, machinery and handling techniques all come with their own dangers. The main types of accidents which cause death or serious injury on construction sites include falls, incidents with site vehicles, collapsing materials and contact with overhead power lines.

Most accidents can be avoided by implementing stringent health and safety protocols and ensuring those protocols are constantly maintained. Safety practices and compliance on a construction site is crucial to protect your team from injury and to prevent accidents. Below are some construction case studies about real safety issues and how they can be prevented.

Sample Case Studies

A 42-year-old structural ironworker foreman died when he fell off a steel beam in an incomplete warehouse roof. He fell about 38 feet to the floor below. The employer was installing the final structural steel beam (bar joist) in the roof of a new cold storage warehouse under construction. After a crane lifted the beam into place, it was not quite straight and the ironworker foreman wanted to use a hammer to straighten it. The area where the foreman needed to work had been barricaded with wire rope safety lines on all four sides, but he removed these lines to gain access. He was not using fall protection equipment. The foreman was standing on a portion of roof decking that had already been completed. To get to the beam, he reached his left foot out over an open, undecked area of the roof. He rested his left foot on the nearest joist girder.

A 40-year-old laborer/helper died when he fell through an opening in a warehouse roof. He fell approximately 27 feet to the floor below. The employer was demolishing the roof of the warehouse portion of a commercial building. Work was done at night because the coal tar on the roof would release hazardous gases if disturbed in the heat of the day. The site had adequate halogen lighting. None of the workers on the job were using fall protection. After the roofing material was removed, 4×8 foot sheets of plywood were exposed. Any damaged sheets needed to be replaced. The helper’s job was to follow the workers who were replacing the plywood, and to pick up the damaged sheets of plywood they had removed. He disposed of them in a chute. On this evening, one worker had removed a sheet of damaged plywood, but had run out of nails to attach the replacement plywood.