The Biggest Mistakes Construction Workers Make

yellow hard hat

While making a mistake in any job is bad, making a mistake in construction has an entirely different meaning. Whether this be related to safety, scheduling, supplies or other important areas, construction mistakes can have a huge impact on the company and the client. But in the 2024, it’s time to avoid a few specific, recurring mistakes. Here are a few mistakes construction workers need to avoid in the new year:

Rejecting Change

Whether you’re someone who likes a tried-and-true method, or you’re just afraid of failing at something new, it’s important in the construction industry to continue to evolve and change – just as the industry is itself. Be adaptable and stay flexible. You may find that new methods, tools, and equipment can actually make things easier or more efficient for you, not to mention safer. Keeping up to date on regulations that are always changing can not only keep everyone safe, but also avoid fines and penalties and even job loss. Never say “no” without trying something first and keep your business open to suggestions from other workers. Remember that working in the construction industry also means having to adapt and change based on the weather, temperature, sun, etc.

Neglecting Signs of Fatigue

Construction workers doing survey looks hot wearing masks

While workers may think that sleepiness, headaches and soreness are just common symptoms for someone working in the construction industry, these can actually be important symptoms of fatigue. When your “office” doesn’t have a controlled temperature and you’re constantly pushing your body to its limit with heavy lifting and movement, you’re likely going to need to take a step back from the job multiple times a day. Whether you need to cool down, or warm yourself up, it’s important to stay in top physical condition. You know your body the best, and if you begin to feel slightly off, it’s best to remove yourself from a potentially dangerous situation until you feel better.

Keeping things like small snacks, water, Gatorade and other easily transportable items with you that you can ingest to keep your energy levels up as well can help prevent your body from shutting down while on the job.

Also remember that even though you might be getting up before the sun does, and working late, sleep should be a number 1 priority to help your body heal and relax. The average adult needs around 7-9 hours of sleep a night and if you’re getting less than that and notice fatigue, try getting more sleep and prioritizing this simple yet effective way to help your body.

Not Preparing for the Worst

While we might not want to constantly be remembering that working in the construction industry is dangerous, it is. There are roughly 150,000 construction jobsite injuries each year, and 1 in 5 deaths among US workers is in the construction industry. Workers are constantly surrounded by heavy, dangerous machinery and equipment, working outside at risk of severe weather, having a lack of safety requirements, etc. make this a dangerous job with high fatality and injury rates.

AD+D coverage, otherwise known as Accidental Death + Dismemberment insurance is important to protect your family financially if something happens to you. If you’re the sole, or only person working in your household, this is especially important for your family to be able to pay bills, cover medical costs and other expenses. Whether your accident is fatal, or you’re stuck in bed recovering or months, the right AD+D insurance can give you and your family peace of mind.

Tip: When you do go shopping for AD+D coverage, make sure you look at the types of accidents covered because not all policies cover all types of accidents.

Rushing to the Next Job

While your end goal might be to move on to the next job, rushing can not only mean you do a botched job and end up having to come back later but can also put you ask risk. Taking shortcuts can lead to accidents that can put you in a dangerous situation, expose you to hazards and get you hurt. Take a few extra minutes to be sure the job is done right and safely – you’ll end up thanking yourself later.

With experience and wisdom often comes ways to save time and still achieve quality work, however sometimes when it comes to safety, shortcuts are dangerous. Stick to the fundamentals. So, climbing a ladder as you were taught early on, or using a harness when working at higher heights can make a major difference in safety. Following the basics is tried and true.

Skipping Your Warmups

Many studies have concluded that stretching mainly reduced injuries by increasing flexibility. And despite heading out to the worksite and moving your body every day, it’s important to wake your body up before you begin work. Even clinicians use stretching to prevent injury, decrease soreness, and improve performance. Working in the construction industry is no joke. You’re constantly moving heavy things and working out every muscle group in your body. By taking just a few minutes every day to stretch before your work starts, you’re less likely to pull a crucial muscle that could send you to the hospital or keep you on bed rest for days to weeks and even months. This doesn’t mean you have to do yoga every morning – but be sure to take some time to get your body warmed up before doing the same repetitive motions and your body will likely thank and reward you.

Omar Kaywan is the co-founder and chief growth officer at Goose Insurance.