The Most Common Health and Safety Risks During Construction

A building site is a piece of land were construction project, for example building, repairing or demolishing a building, are taking place. In order to accomplish these projects, employing heavy equipment, working at heights and working with hazardous materials are ever present activities which pose considerable construction risks.

A construction workplace risk (hazards) is a situation that has the potential to cause harm to health, life, machinery or environment.

It is of at most importance to eliminate these risks (hazards) in the workplace by thoroughly identifying and reducing the causes.

In this article we will list common health and safety risks common to construction sites. Though many types of construction risks (hazards) exists, they do not always apply to all construction projects therefore desecration is advise.

  • Working at Height; This is by far the highest cause of harm on a construction site. Measures are supposed to be selected in all working conditions more than 2m high. Assessing work at height includes; –
    • Roof work
    • Fragile surfaces
    • Ladders & scaffolds
  • Moving Objects; Injury usually occurs when objects are moved unassisted or without proper tool & equipment.
  • Tripping, Falling and slipping; occur when the workplace is not cleared of clutter, has slippery liquids or no barricades have been erected.
  • Noise pollution; to much noise will cause hearing damage to the construction team and neighbourhood. Noise is commonly from equipment, tools and the construction activities
  • Air pollutants; Inhaling of airborne materials & fibres or toxic fumes from the materials or equipment can cause serious respiratory diseases to the workforce and neighbourhood.
  • Vibrations; Usually caused by handing equipment without the proper protection or for an extended period of time. The most common injury is called Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
  • Material & Manual Handling; Improper handling of materials and equipment will cause severe injury. Use of proper handling equipment and body protection equipment is usually neglected when moving materials and equipment on site.
  • Collapse of workplace or building; The most common cause is collapse of the construction ground/ earth especially during excavations. Collapse of buildings and equipment (eg scaffold) is also a common occurrence.
  • Working with Asbestos & other toxins; Asbestos is the most common toxic products still present in many homes and public buildings. Care must be taken to eliminate Inhabitation of the microfibres during removal. Several other toxic chemicals are used on site for treatment of steel, treatment of the ground from insects, paint solvents, etc.
  • Electricity; Electric shocks are commons since no testing has been carried out on the installation yet, leakages in the wiring and clutter on power sources for equipment and tools.
  • Fights; (usually from disagreement with each other or locals) This posses a risk of injury that’s not commonly defined by the experts but has commonly been seen on construction sites. The construction team is usually made up of individuals who come from different work backgrounds and this causes a potential for clashes.
  • Disease; (exposure to disease carrying insects or contaminated water) This can cause diseases that may easily spread through the construction team. Contagious Respiratory Diseases are highly common due to the cramped living and working space.
  • Poor Health & Safety response; Injury will occur more often than expected but it can be minimised if there is an effective response by the team and authorities. A potential risk is not having adequately prepared for and responded to injury on the worksite.
  • Heat and light exposure; Exposure to extreme light and heat from construction works (eg welding), equipment and the weather can cause health risks to the team.
  • Food & drinks; improper handling, storage and preparation of food and drinks will cause a health risk to the team. Exposure to contaminates and poor storage would cause disease and food poisoning on the construction sites.

These here are the most common health and safety risks (hazards) in construction workplaces.

All the above can be eliminated by thoroughly identifying and addressing them. You can read more about How to Eliminate Health & Safety Risks on Construction Projects.

Have we left out any common health and safety risks. Get in touch with us through the comment section below or send us an email at

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