The construction industry is one of the most vital parts of our economy. The great rewards the industry can bring, such as jobs and new infrastructure, also come with risks. To mitigate injuries and fatalities, construction operations adopt protocols and safety measures to prevent catastrophe before it takes place.

Construction Site Dangers

Risks associated with construction come in various forms. The main safety-related risks affecting both employees and employers include trips, falls, trauma, accidents, illness, damage to equipment, damage to surroundings, damage to the environment, and theft. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), with nearly 6.5 million people working at over 252,000 construction sites across the U.S. in a day, the fatal injury rate for the building construction industry is higher than the national average for all industries. Falls from heights lead the list of potential hazards. Other main hazards include collapses of trenches or scaffolds, electric shock, failure to use proper personal protective equipment, and repetitive motion injuries. 

construction dangers


There is often a lack of clear communication from the contractor to employee of what’s going on at the job site; cranes on site, deliveries, non-allowed work areas, not enough information on hazardous materials, silica dangers, forklift safety, and powered vehicles on job sites. Also, we find safety issues related to employees using smart phones or making calls with headsets which could block their access to warnings and information.

- Juan Calahorrano, Director of Operations, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA)

Construction Injury Prevention

To avoid safety-related risks, the construction industry strives to take any and all possible precautions.  Such policies include safety classes for employees, along with purchasing and using safety equipment, like personal protective equipment (for eyes, face and head), warning whips, ground stabilization, cable covers, safety cans, and safe storage containers.  

For example, thefts at highway, street, and bridge construction sites, which cost companies and may not necessarily be harmful to employees, can potentially pose threats to the general public if thieves are unaware of safety precautions for stolen equipment. According to a 2016 Annual Equipment Theft Report, the top five largest states (Texas, North Carolina, Florida, California, and Georgia) account for 45 percent of all thefts, with Texas leading the pack with 2,375. 

Of the top 10 cities reporting thefts, Houston leads the pack with five other Texas cities rounding out the list. Three Florida cities are in the top 10, with Oklahoma City also in the mix at number six.

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Dealing with a Crisis the Right Way

Even with safety regulations in place, problems will happen. When they do, the construction industry has procedures in place to handle issues. Other standard practices involve protecting the environment for the general public at oil and gas projects.

The construction industry employs thousands of people and machines while providing new infrastructure for the U.S. However, those benefits come with many safety-related risks (such as falls, illness, trauma, damages), many of which are preventable with different products like outdoor safety lockers, safety cans and drums, and better protective equipment. When risks are realized, though, procedures and products (like spill containment systems and absorbents) help alleviate the damages.

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Flammable Safety Cabinet

Flammable liquids not properly stored are a significant construction site danger. OSHA construction standards say that flammable and/or combustible liquids should be stored by appropriate methods of storage (1926.152(b)) Inside storage of flammable or combustible liquids should be limited as follows:

  • Not more than 25 gallons of flammable or combustible liquids may be stored in a room outside of an approved storage cabin
  • Not more than 60 gallons of flammable (flashpoint below 140 degrees F) or 120 gallons of combustible (flashpoint at or above 140 degrees F) may be stored in any one storage cabinet.
  • Not more than three storage cabinets may be present in a single storage area.
  • Quantities in excess of the above shall be stored in an inside storage room constructed to meet the specifications for the particular stored material (e.g., paint) as set forth in Standard Methods of Fire Test of Building Construction and Materials, NFPA 251- 1969.

Type 2 Safety Can

One important OSHA construction standard that often gets forgotten is 29 CRF 1926.152, which references the storage and handling of fuel on a construction site with a safety can. A safety can is defined as an approved closed container of not more than 5 gallons capacity, which has a flash arresting screen, spring closing lid, and spout cover to safely relieve internal pressure when subject to fire exposure.

safety cans

Secondary Containment Berms

Secondary containment is one of the unique sets of construction safety products required on large job sites per Construction and Development Effluent Guidelines and Standards (40 CFR Part 450). These construction sites keep large volumes of fuel and hydraulic oils on-site in storage or in generators and may require a spill prevention and response plan. Choosing a berm that is easy to set up and allow forklifts to drive over the sidewalls is an important consideration in construction site spill containment.

noise barrier

Construction Noise Barriers

Noise is not one of the first construction safety hazards that comes to mind, but its long-term impact on construction workers’ hearing can cause permanent damage. Earplugs and earmuffs are easily accessible PPE solutions to prevent hearing loss. However, installing sound barriers is an additional precaution to protects workers against damaging noise pollution.  Sound barriers are also a sign of good faith that the contractor is exploring all avenues to keep occupational noise at a minimum and be a quiet neighbor to the community. 

Portable Hand Washing Station

Running water on a construction site may be limited. According to OSHA construction standard 29 CRF 1926.51(f)(1), employers shall provide adequate washing facilities for employees engaged in the applications of paints, coating, herbicides, or insecticides.  For outdoor construction sites or sites that don’t yet have access to water, mobile handwashing stations provide a solution to ensuring hand hygiene. The units contain a tank of water, hands-free foot activation, and paper towel/soap dispenser. Point the base of these stations towards an appropriate drainage point to avoid a slip hazard.

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Construction Industry Statistics

There are 1,490,099 competitors in the construction industry. Outperform the market. Justrite’s construction safety products can help make you a leader in safety, workplace protections, and environmental care.[1]

Work Safely in the Construction Industry by Avoiding Injuries

The construction industry sees 3 injuries per 100 employees each year. 1.2 percent of your employees will take time off work as a result, and .6 percent will need to transfer to a new job or restrict their tasks. Cut down on workplace injury with Justrite.[2]

work site safety

Stay OSHA Compliant

In the construction industry, there are roughly 12,450 inspections each year. The industry spends $102,456,109 in penalties, amounting to $8,229 in penalties for each inspection. Stay compliant with OSHA construction standards to keep penalties low and your reputation intact.[1]

Contain and Manage Your Environmental Waste

The construction industry generates an estimated 55,562.40 tons of waste each year. Keep your waste safely, ethically, and compliantly contained and managed with Justrite equipment.[3]