Each construction Industry comes with a unique set of challenges and health risks. It is the industry that is continuously changing which requires effective management so that the health and safety risks can be minimized.
The construction sector is considered a leading industry that is more prone to dangers and risks than any other sector. It is seen that nearly a quarter of fatal injuries occur in construction in 2021/22, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Alongside construction accidents, there are numerous diseases residing in construction workplaces that can lead workers and employees to chronic ailments. This blog post will cover some of the major health and safety hazards in this work area and how to control them.
Construction Dust Risks
Construction dust is not just a nuisance; it can severely damage an individual’s health or in worse cases even kill them. Regularly inhaling this dust for longer periods can result in chronic diseases. It is estimated that nearly 14% of individuals are unaware of the severe health effects of construction risks including dust and debris, according to the Construction Dust Survey.
This is a major concern for many employers and requires serious attention to this risk so that their work can be protected to its maximum.
Major Airborne Hazards in Construction Environment
Some of the common yet main airborne hazards in construction work areas are:
Causing around 5,000 causalities a year, the inhalation of disturbed asbestos fiber is one of the leading dust hazards mainly in construction. It is seen that nearly 500,000 buildings in the UK are still thought to contain asbestos after the government has completely banned it.
Employers are required to train their employees to make them work proficiently. It is the responsibility of the duty holder to manage asbestos in their work area.
Proper training and guidance must be given to those undertaking such work so that if they accidentally come in contact with asbestos, they know safe working practices to deal with the issue.
2. Silica Dust
It can occur when working on silica-containing materials such as concrete, mortar, or sandstone. Silica is a natural substance found in varying amounts in most rocks, sand, or clay. It is estimated that around 500 workers die each year due to silica dust inhalation.
Those responsible for the health and safety of their staff must have proper safety precautions in place along with necessary guidance to help them work safely.
3. Welding Fumes
The use of high concentrations of welding fumes can also result in life-long damage to the lungs. The employees and workers working with hot work equipment or undertaking such activities need to be vigilant while working. Employers also need to have proper arrangements for their staff to make them work safely.
4. Wood Dust
Wood dust can occur when working with soft or hardwood or wood-based products like plywood. This is also a major hazard to take care of while at work.
Controlling & Reducing the Health Risks
Below are some effective control measures to minimize the health risk of dust and debris on construction worksites.
1. Reduce the Risk
It is the first and foremost step that every employer and their workers need to keep in mind. They must have effective measures in place to reduce the risk. It starts even before they start work. Having proper risk control measures not only helps mitigate it but also prevents the staff and builds the company’s goodwill.
2. Control the Dust
Once the risk is reduced, it is now time to control the rest to eliminate this hazard.
Below are tips that can help control the hazard:
- Water the worksite regularly, this will dampen the dust clouds
- Limit the number of people in the workspace to avoid health risks
- Enclose the worktops to stop the dust from going out of the work area
3. Use the Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)
The use of respiratory protective equipment or RPE provides additional safety when working around hazardous dust. Employers providing proper RPE to their staff are less likely to see accidents, or ill health issues in their work environment as this is a great way to protect individuals from dangers.
4. Educate & Guide the Staff
Proper staff training plays a key role in protecting them. The construction sites are extremely hazardous. A lot of accidents, injuries, or ill health cases occur each day at work. To be safe at work, employers are required to train and educate their staff and workers properly so that the risk of accidents can be minimized.
There are numerous health and safety courses to offer the staff like industrial health and safety courses, hazardous substances training, risk assessment of a construction site, working safely at heights or confined spaces, electrical safety, and more like these.
Health and safety hazards occur in almost every work environment. Those in managerial roles need to have effective strategies and approaches to regularly examine their workplaces. Construction sites are one of them, these safety hazards if not taken into consideration can lead to life-long diseases. Visit here to get the latest Information.