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    Safety tips to keep in mind as you begin work in 2016

    Published on 1 March 2016, Tuesday, 10:07 PM

    There's been a huge amount of residential building work done around the country. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there was over $24 billion dollars spent in this sector over the September 2015 quarter.

    Renovation activity ranging from DIY paving projects all the way to extensive home makeovers occupied almost $2 billion over this period, which is a trend-estimated 6.5 per cent year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, there was $13.6 billion worth of new residential construction being done, which is an 11.1 per cent jump up from the same period in 2014.

    Clearly, there's been plenty of action in the building industry; no doubt, there'll be plenty more in 2016.

    On this note, any builder or tradie knows that no matter the scale or type of project, there's one thing that's most important: safety. As you head back out to the work site this summer, check out some of these common accident occurrences and how you can avoid them with the right Kennards gear hire.

    Almost one-third of all fall injuries were caused by ladders.

    Falling from high places

    According to most recent Construction Industry Profile by Safe Work Australia, almost one-third of all fall injuries were caused by ladders. While we're sure that you're no stranger to using a ladder, it's easy to be complacent with several important safety rules.

    For instance, be sure to always wear slip-resistant footwear with heavy soles to reduce foot weariness, and clean them before climbing on to make sure that you've got plenty of traction to work with. Remember to never have more than one person on each ladder, no matter how long it is - instead, rent out a trestle ladder for the job.

    Safe Work Australia also mentions that 28 per cent of fatalities in Australia were from falling from a height. Avoid taking any unnecessary risks when doing any kind of work from great heights, big or small. Hiring a cherry picker or scissor lift is one way to do this with less risk.

    Always employ best practices when climbing a ladder. Always employ best practices when climbing a ladder.
    Vehicle incidents

    As noted by the Construction Industry Profile, 16 per cent of all deadly accidents were vehicle-related. An article by For Construction Pros underlines some fundamental safety principles when getting on and off equipment like mini loaders, excavators and so on. These include:

    - Cleaning mud off gloves and boots before moving.

    - Use the entire hand or foot when getting on or off.

    - When coming off the machine, always lower yourself properly rather than jump.

    But it's not just about the operators of the machine who can be endangered. Workers, as well as civilians, can be struck by machines if they aren't careful. It's not uncommon for people to watch enthralled as dirt or gravel is being moved by a dumper. Ideally, it's the responsibility of any foremen or fellow tradies on the ground to keep people way. Using traffic signs to restrict both drivers and pedestrians from getting too close is an easy way to enforce this.

    There's no such thing as going too far when warning people of hazards. There's no such thing as going too far when warning people of hazards.

    Whenever you bend from the waist, the stress placed on your lower back is three times more than when you do it with a straight back.

    Stressed out

    While some tradies like to think of themselves as invincible, it's important not to overwork yourself. Safe Work Australia says that 37 per cent of injuries were predominantly caused by body stressing. This means if you're carrying loads that probably feel too heavy for you to handle, don't be a hero. The Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health explains that many construction workers end up suffering from musculoskeletal disorders such as tendon inflammation, carpal tunnel syndrome and even degenerative disc disease.

    The organisation describes that not picking things up with a squat lift can contribute to future back problems. Whenever you bend from the waist, the stress placed on your lower back is three times more than when you do it with a straight back. This can happen if the thing you're carrying is too large, heavy or if you're holding the object too far from your body.

    Instead, hire out and use some of the many lifting solutions available. These include hand trucks, lift platforms, platform trolleys and more. Then, you'll be able to move things around the site both safely and quickly. Just be careful when you use them - 14 per cent of injuries were from being hit by moving objects!

    Safe Work Australia notes that the construction industry has expanded by 33 per cent in the past 11 years. It's important that every one of these workers keep safety at the forefront of their minds. If you want to minimise your risk, pop into a Kennards branch. We'll fit you out with most efficient and appropriate equipment for the job, which could go a long way in reducing danger so you focus on the task at hand.

    Nathan Mills portrait image
    Nathan Mills
    Nathan is a seasoned Kennards Hire team member passionate about empowering DIYers in their projects. He loves everything DIY and brings together years of equipment and project experience to help customers get the right tools for their next job.