Construction work is a vital part of society, but it’s not without its hazards. Health and safety should always be a top priority for anyone working in construction, and it’s essential to be aware of the risks and take preventative measures to reduce them.
Although advanced technology has helped make certain tasks more efficient and safer than ever before, plenty of hazards still require special attention every day on a construction site. Therefore, today we’ll discuss the seven biggest risks in construction so you can better understand how to protect yourself against them on the job.
Whether you’re a contractor looking for tips or an aspiring worker curious about what they may face in their career, this article will provide all the information needed to help keep everyone safe and healthy while working in the industry.
1. Respiratory Hazards
Respiratory hazards are construction risks involving exposure to dust, fumes, and chemicals. This can occur when working with concrete, paints, or other materials that produce airborne particles. Over time, this exposure causes severe respiratory diseases such as asthma or lung cancer.
One particularly hazardous respiratory hazard is asbestos exposure. Asbestos was commonly used in building materials such as insulation, tiles, and drywall until the 1970s. When it was finally discovered that its exposure could cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, and other serious respiratory illnesses, the product got banned. However, many companies continued using and hiding it, exposing workers to these dangerous toxins. So, if you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos on the job, seeking legal help is essential. A lawyer who specializes in lawsuits involving asbestos exposure can help you understand your legal rights and pursue compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages resulting from asbestos exposure.
Moreover, you can take preventative measures like using proper personal protective equipment such as respirators, ventilating work areas properly, and providing workers with proper training on handling hazardous materials.
Falls are one of the most significant risks in construction. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Falls can occur from a height, such as a ladder, scaffold, or roof, or on the same level, such as slipping on a wet floor.
You can take preventative measures to avoid this hazard, including using proper fall protection equipment, such as harnesses and guardrails. If you’re a manager, you can ensure that workers receive proper training on how to use them.
3. Struck by Object
Everything from heavy tools to building materials can fall from heights and cause significant injuries to workers on or near the construction site. As a result, construction sites need strict oversight and must adhere to specific regulations designed to protect worksite personnel from injury due to falling objects.
Workers must be provided with the necessary safety equipment such as hard hats, goggles, and steel-toed boots, and tools should be secured to wires or cabled as needed; also, falling objects sensors should be installed in high-risk areas. With proper supervision and vigilance, workers can be confident they are growing in a safe environment.
Electrocution is a significant hazard in construction that occurs when there is contact with electrical energy. This danger can happen when working with power lines, electrical equipment, or in wet conditions. Electrical risks can be hidden or appear unsuspecting on job sites, so workers must identify and avoid these hazards to protect themselves from severe injury or even death.
To reduce this risk, construction companies are responsible for prioritizing safety by requiring employees to take part in safety training, using protective equipment, and staying up-to-date with regulations on electricity-related equipment and tasks. These measures will help ensure that everyone stays safe from accidental injuries, and they can also reduce operational costs due to potential downtime.
Electrocution can cause serious injuries such as burns, falls, and even death. As such, preventative measures are crucial for worker safety.
5. Repetitive Motion Injuries
Repetitive motion injuries are a significant construction risk involving performing the same movements repeatedly, leading to strain on muscles, tendons, and joints. This risk can occur while restocking supplies, operating machinery, and performing manual labor.
Poor posture while operating tools, heavy lifting, and working long hours can all contribute to painful and permanent damage that can last for years after the initial injury occurs. This involves developing musculoskeletal disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome or tendonitis.
To prevent the risk of repetitive motion injuries, construction companies should provide ergonomic tools and equipment, rotate workers to different tasks, and ensure that workers take regular breaks. Encouraging workers to maintain proper form when engaging in activities throughout the day is also essential for their overall health and longevity on the job.
6. Heat stress
Working in a construction environment can be a dangerous job; few people take into consideration the risks that extreme heat poses. Heat stress is an occupational hazard that can occur when the body is unable to cool itself down quickly enough, leading to dehydration, heat exhaustion, migraines, and potentially even death. Construction workers are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illnesses as they operate without air conditioning and often wear protective gear while carrying out physical activity in direct sunlight.
Employers need to provide adequate breaks in shaded areas, ensure plenty of access to fluids and closely monitor temperature levels to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses on site. Employers should also strive to foster an environment where workers feel comfortable voicing safety concerns, so they can address any issues before they result in further harm or injury.
7. Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Noise-induced hearing loss is a pervasive and dangerous health issue in the construction industry that often goes ignored. Despite the constant hum of drill motors, jackhammers, chainsaws, and other loud tools on job sites, many in construction lack proper protection when it comes to their hearing. This can lead to longer hours of exposure to unhealthy noise levels, sometimes without the worker even knowing they are causing damage to their ears.
Fortunately, taking steps like wearing hearing protection and limiting time around loud machinery can drastically reduce the risks of developing hearing impairments down the road. Construction sites should also be outfitted with modern decibel meters that monitor daily levels to prioritize hearing safety for all on-site.
The construction industry presents many risks to workers’ health and safety. Employers and employees alike must take preventative measures to reduce these risks and create a safe work environment. We can work towards a safer and healthier construction industry by following proper safety protocols, providing proper training and equipment, and educating workers on the risks involved. Remember, health and safety should always be a top priority in construction.