There are health and safety risks in every type of workplace, but the construction industry is deemed one of the most hazardous places to work. Managing the risks is crucial for construction industry bosses to reduce hazards and ensure a safe and healthy workforce. What are the key risks?
According to the Health and Safety Executive dust, chemicals and potentially harmful mixtures are common in construction work. Construction workers may also be exposed to fumes, gases and vapours that can cause breathing problems or affect the skin.
Noise and Vibration
The construction industry suffers from one of the highest rates of ill health caused by noise and vibration in the workplace. Usually coming from machinery and equipment, excessive noise can affect concentration levels, which may cause accidents. More importantly, noise and vibration may even damage a worker’s hearing. Make sure that workers exposed to noisy environments are protected with the right safety equipment – in many cases, the use of earplugs alone will not be enough.
Since working in construction is usually an active job, involving bending, lifting, working at heights or using machinery, workers increase the risk of injuring themselves. Repetitive actions such as using equipment in factories may also increase the occurrence of strains, aches and pains. Carrying heavy equipment may also cause back problems. In order to prevent physical injuries in the workplace, it is crucial to make sure that all staff are fully trained and are provided with the appropriate equipment to protect them. Workers should make sure their skills are kept up to date with appropriate courses. According to the Construction Industry Training Board health and safety courses can improve your bottom line, avoid litigation and help you stay compliant.
Working with chemicals and hazardous substances in the construction industry can increase the potential dangers of a fire occurring. It is every manager’s duty to ensure a business has robust fire safety procedures in place with appropriate fire prevention and management equipment on site. Specialists such as Mainpoint can provide risk assessments as well as fire safety equipment including automist systems, alarms and extinguishers.
It is thought that those who work in the construction sector have a slightly higher risk of contracting diseases such as cancer. This could be due to exposure to asbestos, silica or toxic chemicals and fumes. Wearing safety equipment and proper training can, however, help to reduce the risks.
Construction sites and projects can get busy, with machinery and equipment being moved around, vehicles coming and going and workers moving from one place to another. This hub of hectic activity can increase a worker’s health and safety risk in coming into contact with a moving object. Make sure that construction sites are properly managed so that the risks of this happening diminish. As well as keeping an eye on the organisation of a site, make sure that during the frenetic activity no other risks materialise, such as objects presenting a trip hazard, spillages left on surfaces or machinery and equipment not turned off properly.