Common Health and Safety Problems in the Construction Industry

Health risks are everywhere in the construction industry.  Managing the safety on site I vital to try and reduce the chances of accidents from occurring. In this industry severe injuries and death are never far away.  I work in construction and I have seen a few accidents, all of which could have been avoided. Here are some of the most common hazards which can result in serious injury or loss of life you will come across if you are considering starting working in construction.

  1. Falls from height. Any jobs which are carried out at height must be carefully planned and organised in order to help prevent falls. All employees must be competent in their work and risk assessments are required to highlight any hazards and come up with a safe method of work. It’s vital that all equipment is inspected and that it’s well maintained and in good working order before it’s used.  The Work at Height Regulations 1005 has to be followed and complied with in order to reduce the risk of incidents and prosecution.
  2. Fire is another big risk in the construction industry. The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2007 are used to control risks when it comes to fire. Legal duties lie with clients, contractors, construction workers, designers and CDM coordinators. There also needs to be a Responsible Person according to the Fire Safety Order 2005.  Fire hazards can be found on site such as sources of ignition such as electrical equipment, hot processes, flames, lighting and smokers.
  3. Machinery and Quick Hitches can lead to accidents.  The machinery must be maintained properly and operated only by those who have been trained to use it. Quick hitches are attached to excavators and over the past five years there have been several fatal accidents involving this equipment.  Vehicles on site also must be carefully managed in order to reduce the risks of people on foot working around or near the vehicles.
  4. Excavating earth leads to many risks. You may need to follow the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations, also known as the LOLER, or the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations, PUWER. A competent person will need to inspect any equipment used for excavations and you may need to introduce extra safety measures and devices such as a boom lowering device or an acoustic warning device.
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Recognising the Risks to Your Health

Your health and welfare could also be put at risk simply because of the environment you are working in and the nature of your tasks. Some of the common risks include:

  1. Manual handling.  Do you lift more than you can manage? Are you provided with equipment to help you move heavy objects? Have you been trained to lift correctly?
  2. Noise.  Noise can cause serious issues with your hearing over time. Your hearing can be saved through a good health policy.  Make sure you use any ear protection you are provided and request some if you haven’t been given any. Your supervisor should try and reduce all unnecessary noise.
  3. Vibrations can lead to problems with tingling and numbness in fingers.  Strength can also be lost and the ability to feel things fully or to perform fine work can be affected.  You should be provided with adequate equipment and given a safe method of work to prevent vibrations damaging your health.
  4. Skin diseases are also common. You can be at risk of contracting skin cancer if you don’t cover up and use sun protection. You may also use materials which are damaging to the skin and so you’ll need to have the right protection provided to prevent injuries, dermatitis and other problems.

Protect your workers by sending your supervisors on the sssts training course. Teach them the importance of health and safety within the construction industry.

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