Dealing with injuries on site< Back to Blog
At Sheriff Construction, safety is our number one priority.
It’s why we insist that every site operative is CSCS registered, ensuring that they’ve covered the basic health and safety precautions. It’s why we have properly trained First Aiders at all our sites. And, it’s why our Foremen carry out an ongoing programme of on-site Toolbox Talks, so that our workers’ knowledge of safety issues is continually refreshed.
Because of this, Sheriff has recorded no serious accidents over the last five years!
But, even though we follow every precaution possible, the nature of our work means there’s always the potential for an accident to occur – the top risks being falls, cuts and lacerations, burns and falling objects. As a reminder to our First Aiders (and as a mini- learning opportunity for everyone else), here’s some guidance on what to do in the event of such an accident.
Falls, slips and trips
Whether it’s from a ladder, scaffolding or roofing, a fall can result in serious and permanent injuries. Falls are, in fact, the most common cause of deaths in construction in the UK, so proper attention is a must. Slips and trips are also very common issues on construction sites, particularly where levels and access points are frequently changing and/or cabling routes are badly routed on pathways
What to do:
If a colleague falls from a significant height, call 999 immediately. Do not move them as this can make any injuries worse or cause new injuries. However, do see if there’s anything you can do to make them comfortable (e.g. by covering them so that they stay warm).
If someone falls from a shorter height, make sure they do not try to get up too quickly. Once they are able to, they should move slowly to a suitable resting place and be checked by a First Aider. Ensure they take some time out before carrying on with duties.
Cuts and lacerations
Construction industry workers use sharp and dangerous tools every day and, while a plaster can deal with the occasional nick, deeper cuts require more attention.
What to do:
If a cut reveals fat, muscle or bone, don’t delay in seeking emergency medical attention.
For cuts that are deep but not so severe as to reveal the underlying body tissue, the advice is to clean the wound as quickly as possible, wrap a clean towel or bandage around the wound and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Where possible, apply an antibiotic or antiseptic ointment to the affected area and then cover it with gauze and an appropriate dressing – e.g. a butterfly bandage. If the cut is on a joint which is likely to bend (e.g. wrist, finger, elbow), it might be best to use a splint to stabilise it and so prevent the wound re-opening.
For cuts and lacerations, if you’re in any doubt about your ability to deal with it, seek medical attention. You can call 111 if you think it’s not an emergency but still requires some medical advice.
Burns are one of the most preventable job site accidents but, if they do occur, quick action is needed.
What to do:
Any burn that has blistered, causing swelling and redness is classed as a second degree or above category burn. In such cases, seek medical treatment immediately.
Any burn that comes from fire, electrical or chemical sources is normally classed as a major burn and should also be treated by a doctor.
For minor burns (e.g. scolds from hot water or touching something hot), you need to get the affected area under running, cool water as quickly as possible. Be careful not to break any blisters that may form and, where you can, apply an anti-burn ointment to the area. Stop the burn from rubbing or touching other things like clothing by wrapping with a light layer of gauze.
Being struck by a falling object is another fairly common workplace injury, the biggest concern being head trauma or concussion.
What to do:
The main point here is that, with any head injury, immediate professional medical attention is required.
Even if the person affected says they feel fine, remember that symptoms of concussion can develop over time. They may initially seem well but, should their behaviour change or they start to experience abnormal sleepiness, this could be a sign of something more serious.
TOP TIP: If you see an object falling, your instinct might be to yell the words “look out” but, when you do this, most people instinctively react by looking up or around them rather than moving out of the way! To avoid this, try to communicate what you want them to do – maybe shouting “move” or “get out of the way” instead.
By complying with all health and safety regulations and advice, most construction sector accidents are entirely avoidable. That said, it’s always good to be prepared: Make sure you know:
- Where you’re working (meaning the full postal address of the site) – this is important if you ever need to call a paramedic
- Who your First Aider is
- Where the First Aid kit is located
- What safety best practices the site follows
Stay harm-free everyone!