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How to avoid safety issues with Reinforcing Steel?

Safety is the most important concern on the construction site whether it’s a small residential build or a massive commercial building.

So it makes sense to understand the most likely causes of injuries on a work site, so you can take steps to prevent the possibility of injuries occurring.

A study Statistics by OSHA showed that 61% of construction accidents are due to people being impaled by rebar.

Reinforcing steel or rebars are steel bars or mesh wires used to support walls, concrete, or other masonry structures. 

Workers can fall on the protruding bars which can result in deep lacerations or even life-threatening injuries.

Mishaps are quite common in workplaces unless preventive measures are in place.

Avoid safety hazards 

Careless handling of reinforcement steel can lead to safety hazards resulting in serious injuries, sometimes even death.  Some of the hazards are;

  • Rebars from concrete protruding in walking spaces
  • Concrete formwork bars protruding at low levels
  • Rebar scraps left unattended on the worksite
  • Workers not using appropriate safety equipment to mitigate risks.

Here are a number of ways by which you can avoid safety issues concerning rebars.  

Safety Caps

Safety caps are made of plastic so they are a cost-effective way of covering the protruding steel rods. Even though they are small, safety caps effectively protect against minor injuries and even impalement.

They are also very bright, thus increasing their visability which lessens the chance of the worker walking into or tripping over them by accident.

They are also quick and easy to install, therefore having a limited impact on installation times.

“Unguarded reinforcing steel is an accident waiting to happen.”

Control access

In addition to using safety caps, access should be restricted to areas where there are protruding ends.

Injuries happen when the workers are not paying attention to the hazards around them, so ensure that your workers are aware of their surroundings, or physically prevent them from entering the area altogether.

Use barricade tape to control the access to those areas with hazards.

They are generally brightly coloured and attract the attention of the workers alerting them to possible danger. 

Keep a clean and tidy site 

Ensure that you have a clean and tidy worksite. Gather and remove debris periodically to keep the site free from scrap, trip hazards and shrapnel. 

Reinforcing steel scraps lying unattended can rust and pose a safety risk for the workers which is why it’s crucial to arrange prompt and proper disposal of the scrap materials.  

Furthermore, to prevent slips, water, oil or any other slipper material should be removed promptly.

Hi-Vis clothing

Hi-vis clothing is made of brightly coloured material, this improves the visibility of the wearer even in low light conditions and should be worn by all workers on-site.

PPE

PPE or personal protective equipment refers to workwear that protects a worker against hazardous working conditions such as dust, loud equipment, etc.

PPE for people working with reinforcing steel may include;

  • Hard hat
  • Safety glasses
  • Steel cap, non-skid shoes or boots
  • Comfortable, form-fitting clothes
  • Gloves
  • Hearing protection
  • Fall protection harness
construction engineer using a circular saw cutting reinforced steel and bars

Best practices

Construction can be dangerous.

There are hazards lurking in all worksites, which can result in life-threatening injuries.

Here are the best practices to follow especially when working with reinforcing steel;

  • Educate all employees handling reinforcing steel about the possible hazards
  • Stay clear of the area when the rebars are hoisted
  • Protect the protruding ends of reinforcing steel with safety caps
  • Adequate lighting and signage should be present on the worksite
  • Restrict access to dangerous areas
  • Have a plan ready in case an injury occurs.

Safety is the priority when working with reinforcing steel. Do not hesitate to contact us if you need advice on safety accessories for your next construction project.

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