The field of construction comprises of great satisfaction of seeing the completion of a building. On one side, the construction field can give an immense feeling of achievement after finishing a multistory structure, whether it is a grand shopping mall or even a cozy house. On the other side, it comes with high health and safety risks, making it one of the most dangerous professions there is.
The construction sector employs hundreds and thousands of people in every country, putting many people at risk of fatal accidents involving vehicles, tools, and physical tasks. The death rate of this occupation stands at a seriously alarming figure, twice more than the average fatality count of all sectors. Minor accidents are in an even bigger number than that, despite numerous safety precautions practiced by companies and the workers at the construction site. Some of these health issues on a construction site that make it a high-risk job are as follows.
Coming In Contact With Asbestos
Asbestos is perhaps the most dangerous and life-threatening substance used on constructions sites. Elements such as ceiling tiles, switchgear, circuit boards, thermal paper, and cement siding consist of this material. Electricians, plumbers, and the likes work closely with material containing asbestos and have high possibilities of facing fatal diseases. Asbestos dust is extremely lethal which can easily penetrate the lining of the lungs, heart, or abdomen, causing mesothelioma. It is a kind of cancer with excruciating chest pain and shortness of breath that majorly occurs due to asbestos exposure. The life probability for malignant mesothelioma patients is a maximum of 12 to 21 months after diagnosis. Many countries have banned asbestos, but it is still present in old buildings. Because of this, during renovation and demolition, construction workers still have to work with this hazardous substance. Special measures are necessary, like proper PPE suits and detailed briefing about procedures when workers have to operate on such sites. Companies even need to ensure that the workers are washing up properly before going home because secondary exposure to the workers’ families also places them at risk of getting respiratory issues.
Working From Height
Construction workers are frequently working from height at buildings or demolition sites. It is a big reason and source of fatal accidents in this industry as preventative measures often fail to keep staff safe. For example, unsafe scaffolding and unsecured ladders cause workers to fall from the height resulting in severe back injury and tissue damage in the upper or lower limbs. While most construction companies are vigilant to provide sustainable and good quality safety nets and guardrails, some are not so careful. That leads to a very hazardous working environment. All the tasks performed from a height need to be carefully planned, performed in a controlled and supervised setting, and the associated workers must strictly follow the guidelines.
Exposure To Loud Noise
Loud noises of heavy machines and extensive drilling are a common occurrence in a construction area. However, its effects on workers are terrible and can have life-long repercussions. High and repetitive noise can cause hearing impairment, often leading to deafness among construction workers. Noise levels of 85 dB or above are seriously damaging for the ears and can cause noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Frequently hearing loud noises also contributes to tinnitus, which is a constant ringing in the ears. Construction companies must provide proper pieces of equipment and adequate PPE to ensure protection from heavy-duty machine noise since wearing simple earplugs cannot eliminate the hazardous ramifications of extreme noise on the sites.
Heightened Risks Of Falling And Tripping
Wet or slippery surfaces, uneven ground, loose cables, and scattered items are the main reason for increasing falls and slips around construction sites. These mishaps take place in almost every industry, but the ratio is estimated higher in the construction industry. Mainly due to the nature of the work in construction, the staff is prone to fall or slip occasionally. With a range of activities going on at a construction site, it becomes difficult to avoid slips and trips. However, ensuring proper area management, secure placement of tools and equipment, clearing pathways, and wearing adequate safety gear can minimize the mishaps of the working space. Furthermore, regular seminars and meetings regarding safety procedures can also help to avoid the risks of falls.
The Effects Of Vibrations
Power tools can cause repetitive and high-frequency vibrations, resulting in damaged nerves and blood vessels in construction employees. Moreover, the prolonged use of handheld vibratory power tools causes hand-arm vibration syndrome, commonly known as ‘blue finger’ in workers. This disease is said to be one of the most common risks of the construction sector and is very agonizing, harming blood vessels, nerves, and joints. Risk assessment can aid in determining if an automatic machine is fit for prolonged use. But if companies are using handheld power tools, then they must provide safety gear like durable gloves. They must also fully train workers to use the power tools in the right way with fewer risks to their safety.
A construction site is extremely hectic with a constant movement of objects, heavy-duty machines, and building materials. There seems to be an ever-going need for dumper trucks, shifting hefty equipment around the site, or lifting it overhead for use. In all this chaos, the place becomes prone to hazards which only increase as the work progresses and moves towards completion. Any moving object or lifting of an object can create harm for nearby workers if it falls or collides with them. The construction crew should thoroughly check that there is ample space to manoeuver, the lighting is sufficient, and the lifting machine is in the best condition. These things will ensure that no accidents occur when moving heavy objects or machines.
The construction sector is a mish-mash of numerous hazards that can seriously affect mobility, sight, hearing, and overall physical health. One cannot avoid accidents and other mishaps while working in the construction business. However, certain health and safety precautions can successfully decrease risks and protect workers from fatal injuries.