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Building a safer future

By Matt King

I took a construction class in high school. Just the one. I am obviously no expert when it comes to construction then, but I often remember it fondly. Building, or construction, is an act of creation – it’s right there in the word, to construct – and that is awesome. I don’t mean for this to be an overly pretentious way of looking at construction, but stay with me.

A person will start with some raw materials, maybe a piece of wood, a board, a steel rod or something along those lines, and then make something out of it. And often, the things made are incredibly important to one’s quality of life – a construction worker might build a shelter to live under; a carpenter might make a piece of furniture to rest on or a table on which a family can eat.

Construction is an incredible industry, and yet it is beset by an equally incredible burden as it can be a dangerous industry for young workers. Over the last three years, from 2010-2012, there have been 26,722 injuries in the construction industry. Out of these, almost 6,000 were from workers aged 25 and under.

This is for a number of reasons, the foremost being that construction often involves working under inherently dangerous conditions. Many of my friends work as framers, and many of them have been in accidents. It might be climbing onto a roof, or it might simply be the tools used – everything from a nail gun to a table saw to a hammer can be dangerous and result in injury.

Question: When it comes to roof safety, what's wrong with this photo? Answer: Everything.

Question: When it comes to roof safety, what’s wrong with this photo? Answer: Everything.

But it doesn’t have to, at least not all the time. Certainly climbing on a roof is dangerous. But with proper fall protection, it doesn’t need to be. Power tools can also be dangerous, and so it’s important to be careful while using them. Utilize any safety technique one can think of – wear safety glasses when using a table saw, don’t rush through using a nail gun. I can think of many of my friends who have put a nail through their hand or foot with one of those.

As I said before, I’m not an expert when it comes to construction. I know that my class in high school isn’t the same as actually working in the industry. But I know that, when it comes to safety, we can do better. We can work smarter and work safer.

There is help too. Check out the great resources from the Alberta Construction Safety Association at www.acsa-safety.org.

2 Responses to “Building a safer future”

  1. Hey Matt..!! Yes, you are right. I agree with you. As important is the construction industry to our future, it is conferred with as much dangers and threats for its workers. My personal opinion on this is that there should be a provision for proper education on safety measures and safety gears when working in the construction area for the workers.

  2. […] Whether you spend your work days in an office, sitting at a desk in front of a computer, or on a construction site continuously bending and lifting, you could be at risk for conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome, […]


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