Health And Safety In The Construction Industry
Health and Safety in the construction industry has been improving vastly over the years in reducing the number and rate of injuries to construction workers. Even though improvemnts are being made there is a number of serious ill-health issues continuing to affect construction workers. These can be devastating for individuals and families. With so many people working in the construction industry its no suprise its one of the most dangerous working industry sectors, so it’s essential to have all Health & Safety plans in place and making the environment work friendly.
As you can see from the statistics above the construction industry is a dangerous working environment. These figures are only based for the UK.
Some Of The Main Hazards On A Construction Site
- Working At Height – One of the most hazardous risks while working in construction. Constructing buildings requires workers to work at different levels of height with some being very high.
- Moving Objects – Workers are constantly moving objects, changing the layout of the working environment , moving vehicles , lifting equipment, shifting heavy loads on uneven terrain.
- Slips, Trips & Falls – With so much going on and moving around.
- Havs – Hand arm vibration syndrome occurs by prolonged use of vibratory power tools and ground working equipment. Causing damage to blood vessels , joints & nerves.
- Noise – Repetitive, excessive noise causes long term hearing problems and can be a dangerous distraction which causes accidents.
- Collapse – The risk of equipment , buildings or areas collapsing can cause serious injuries & sometimes deaths.
- Material & Manual Handling – Carrying equipment/material around must be done properly. Training is required for this as it can result in very bad injuries particuly to the back!
- Electricity – Workers are at risk if they work by cables/power lines.
- Asbestos – This silent assassin is deadly to workers. Workers need to know where it is and what to do if they come across suspicious materials that might contain asbestos.
- Respiratory Diseases – On construction sites there is loads of dust, toxic mixture of hazardous materials and fibres that can damage the lungs.
What Should You Do?
You cannot properly control construction health risks without first having clear plans
- Plan – What’s your overall strategy? Where you are now and where you need to be , who are you sharing your worksite with?
- Identify – the health hazards linked to your work. The tasks involved in your work with the key health hazards linked to these tasks and who might be affected by these hazards.
- Assess – The significance of these hazards. What harm could these hazards do to you and other co workers?
- Involve – Workers in managing health risks. Identify joint solutions to problems & develop a positive culture where health risks are managed effective.
Remember – ‘Manage risk not lifestyles’
Clear plans are no good if you do not act on them:
- Prevent – Before work starts by eliminating or minimising the risks. This can be done in many ways such as: designing out the risk, choosing less hazardous materials or substancesusing different methods of work.
- Control – You may still have to do work where health risks cannot be prevented. Control these risks by: selecting effective controls eg the right tools , providing the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE), rotating those doing the task & limiting the number of people near the work.
- Train – Train your workers to make sure they are doing the job in the right way and using the controls properly.
Remember – ‘Ill-health can be prevented’
You may already have the right controls in place but are they all working?
- Supervise – workers to make sure work methods are followed.
- Maintain – Make sure the controls are in good working order. Ensure you: regularly maintain equipment – use the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions as a guide, particularly if there are safety-critical feature. Use someone who has the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work safely. Have procedures that allow workers to report damaged or faulty equipmentprovide the proper tools for the maintenance persproperly schedule maintenance time. Do maintenance work safely.
- Monitor – the controls to ensure they are effective. This might mean: checking controls. Make sure work methods are being used and are as effective as they should be. In some circumstances formal audits may be useful. Exposure monitoring to make sure there is adequate control. Health surveillance to enable early detection of any harmful changes to employees health. Investigating any instances of ill health
- Act – Act straight away to put any problems right.
At Workare Ltd we can offer the best advice for working in the construction industry and can provide the highest quality medicals that are required.