Masonry is an integral part of the construction of both commercial and residential structures. Although the process has several major advantages, the work can be very labor intensive. Masonry contractors may risk illness and injury as they work on homes, buildings, bridges and public works projects. Over the years, experienced masons have learned how to stay safe in dangerous conditions by following a list of recommended safety precautions.
Common Ways Masonry Contractors get Injured
Masons use bricks, concrete blocks, concrete and natural and man-made stones to build walls, walkways, fences and other structures. As they build with these heavy substances, workers may deal with dangerous conditions, like exposure to chemicals.
In fact, masonry contractors have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The most common masonry injuries are:
- Slips, trips and falls
- Falling objects
- Collapsing or cave-in of excavations or walls
- Sharp or protruding objects
- Exposure to noxious chemicals
- Moving, lifting or carrying heavy objects
- Overexposure to dust
Many of these injuries can result in Workers Compensation Insurance claims, which can cost employers in increased insurance rates and lost productivity.
Safety Precautions every Mason should Follow
Despite the dangers of the job, masonry contractors can stay safe if they take safety precautions. Experienced masons take the preventative actions outlined in these seven tips on a daily basis:
- Avoid all contact with unhardened masonry cement
- Wear impervious clothing and gloves to eliminate the possibility of skin contact
- Always double-check the safety of portable electric tools
- Install sturdy work surfaces
- Wear sturdy safety shoes with anti-skid soles
- Wash hands thoroughly at the end of every work shift
- Use respiratory protection equipment, like air masks and respirators
These safety precautions are easy for both employers and employees to follow. With simple changes in work behavior, like being more prepared, masons can significantly cut down on the risk of injury and illness.
From brick masons to cement masons to stone masons, daily safety checks are a crucial part of a workplace safety program. Employees who learn to follow recommended work guidelines become more valuable assets to their employers, which can help solidify the success of a contracting company.