The Most Common Health and Safety Risks During Construction

A building site is a piece of land where construction projects, for example, building, repairing, or demolishing a building, are taking place. To accomplish these projects, employing heavy equipment, working at heights, and interacting with hazardous materials are ever-present activities that pose considerable construction risks.

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

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

This article will list health and safety risks common to construction sites. Though many types of construction risks (hazards) exist, they do not always apply to all construction projects hence desecration is advised.

  • Working at Height; This has proven to be one of the primary causes of harm on a construction site. Measures are to be put in place in all working conditions of more than 2m high and these include roof work, fragile surfaces, ladders, and scaffolds.
  • Moving Objects; Injury usually occurs when objects are moved unassisted or without proper tools & equipment.
  • Tripping, Falling, and slipping; occur when the workplace is not cleared of clutter, has slippery surfaces, or when no barricades have been erected.
  • Noise pollution; too much noise will cause hearing damage to the construction team and neighborhood. Noise is usually generated from running equipment, tools, and construction activities.
  • Air pollutants; Inhaling of airborne materials & fibers or toxic fumes from the materials or equipment can cause serious respiratory diseases to the workforce and neighborhood.
  • Vibrations; Usually caused by handling equipment without the proper protection or for an extended period. The most common injury is called Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome.
  • Material & Manual Handling; Improper handling of materials and equipment will cause severe injury. The use of proper handling equipment and body protection equipment is usually neglected when moving materials and equipment on site.
  • The collapse of the workplace or building; The most common cause is the collapse of the construction ground/ earth, especially during excavations. The collapse of buildings and equipment (e.g scaffolds) is also a common occurrence.
  • Working with Asbestos & other toxins; Asbestos is the most common toxic product still present in many homes and public buildings. Caution must be taken to eliminate In-habitation of the microfibers during removal. Several other toxic chemicals are used on-site for the treatment of steel, treatment of the ground from insects, paint solvents, etc.
  • Electricity; Electric shocks are common 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 poses a risk of injury that’s not commonly defined by the experts but has commonly been seen on construction sites. The construction team usually consists 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 spaces.
  • Poor health & Safety response; Injury will occur more often than expected but it can be minimized 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 (e.g 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 contamination 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.

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