When it comes to the world of Carpentry and Joinery, health and safety is everything. You need to maintain your own safety, as well as the safety of the area and people around you and with a lot of risks to consider, it’s important to know what to keep an eye out for and how to promote safety at work.
From slips, trips and falls, to accidents with tools or exposure to electric currents, the risks associated with the carpentry trade are plentiful. While public liability insurance for carpenters will protect you for a number of things, including any damage to property or injuries caused to the public, knowing what to be aware of and what to prepare for is crucial. Here are nine of the most common health and safety risks that carpenters need to be aware of.
For carpenters working on ladders, scaffolding or any other type of access equipment falls from heights are a risk that needs to be taken into consideration. Even if 95% of your work is spent with two feet firmly on the ground, knowing how to use access equipment properly is vital for not only your safety but for those around you. Falling from a height could cause you serious injury, or could injure another person if the equipment were also to fall, or you were to land on someone.
Working in buildings with Asbestos present can create long-term health issues if exposed repeatedly or for long periods of time. Asbestos is the most prominent disease risk to construction workers as a whole, with research suggesting that it has been responsible for over 2,500 deaths a year due to its part in causing cancers and serious lung diseases. This includes Mesothelioma, Asbestos-related lung cancer, Asbestosis (scarring in the lungs) and Diffuse Pleural Thickening (thickening of the membrane around the lungs). To reduce or prevent the risk completely, you should make sure to take all of the necessary actions and protections. This includes ensuring that the site manager has conducted a risk assessment, located and recorded any asbestos on the property, and provided it to you in order for you to act and limit your exposure accordingly.
#3 Slips and Trips
Slips and trips are some of the hardest workplace accidents to avoid, simply because they can happen anywhere and to anyone. Wearing non-slip shoes can be a good, affordable place to start, as can making sure that your work area remains as tidy and clean as possible throughout the day. Dispose of any debris appropriately (possibly in a skip) to remove the risk of tripping over it. Slips and trips can also happen to any clients or the public passing by, so it’s important to tidy your workspace of any trip hazards periodically throughout the day.
#4 Manual Handling Issues
Carpentry involves a lot of heavy lifting, particularly when lugging around doors or large sheets of wood. In order to avoid any health issues, you should make sure that you operate using safe lifting techniques. If you regularly lift weights above 20kg, this will require special lifting arrangements.
#5 Improper Use Of Tools
Tools used improperly could risk causing severe injury, so it’s important to have the right training in their use. You could ask for help to verify that you’re using tools correctly if you’re new to the industry but should also bear in mind that a faulty tool could also cause issues. You should regularly check your hand tools and equipment for any faults or damage, and maintain up-to-date reports where necessary or possible so you can continue to track the quality and safety of each one.
#6 Falling Objects
While you may not be working at a height, being on a building site could put you at risk of objects falling from above. For this reason, wearing the correct safety gear and PPE is important, including anything from gloves and safety helmets to goggles and ear defenders. Avoid working directly underneath someone else where possible, and that any tools or materials kept at a height are well secured so they can’t fall or cause harm.
#7 Electricity Exposure
As a general rule, you should take care to treat every cable you come across as live unless you have been directly told otherwise. Carpenters and joiners typically work alongside or between electricians and electrical work, and electric shock is an unfortunate major hazard for this reason. Avoid this risk by avoiding the cables where possible, avoid setting them on the ground and never try to connect or make repairs to cables yourself without the proper training and qualification.
#8 Wood Dust
Wood dust is another inhalation risk like asbestos, also causing serious lung problems and cancers if not handled properly. You can avoid and prevent this risk by using local exhaust ventilation devices, or dust lamps in order to keep track of dust dispersion in the vicinity. Wearing protective gear will also go a long way to reducing the risks of serious illness, including goggles and construction-grade face coverings.
When using loud machinery or operating tools that cause loud noises over a long period of time, your hearing could be affected. These changes may not be immediately obvious, but the noise of construction sites has been attributed to hearing loss in later life. It’s important to make sure that anytime you are using loud equipment, you should be using ear protection, and inform any other workmen or the public that loud noises are going to occur, so they can act accordingly.
Measures should always be taken to protect you, the public and any employees that you have when working in carpentry and carpenters insurance could provide additional peace of mind in some situations. For more information get in touch with Ashburnham Insurance.