Construction is considered to be one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Tasks that need to be performed at a great height, such as scaffolding and roofing, can lead to fatal falls, while injuries are all too easily incurred while operating specialist tools and heavy machinery. In the UK alone, 45 construction workers were killed in a work-related accident in the last twelve months.
However, in addition to the obvious risks, there are also a handful of hidden hazards that contribute to a construction site being one of the most dangerous working environments. Educate yourself on the less-apparent risks of working on a construction site and how to protect against them.
When putting together buildings, whether commercial or residential, construction workers are required to work at a height. Naturally this has a risk of people falling, but what can be easily forgotten is that there is also a danger of falling objects, from sections of scaffolding to tools and debris.
While safety helmets can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time, it is vital that workers and visitors to the site protect their heads at all times. This piece of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) could make the difference between life and death if an object falls from above onto your head.
Construction can involve the renovation of older properties as well as putting together brand-new buildings. These old properties were created in line with outdated guidelines and sometimes conceal dangerous chemicals that are no longer used in construction, such as asbestos. These chemicals can be released into the air and inhaled, causing long-term illness if there is prolonged exposure.
It is important to research the history and details of the project you are working on and safeguard yourself appropriately. If you are not given the correct respiratory protection, you could make a claim for compensation if airborne exposure leads to lung damage – even if this takes time to appear.
Another lesser-known risk of working on a construction site is the noise exposure. This environment is naturally noisy, with loud machinery such as diggers and hand-held tools like drills combining with the frequent coming and going of vehicles and many raised voices. Construction tasks therefore naturally subject workers to unsafe noise exposure levels of above 87 decibels, often on a daily basis.
Specialist headphones can help to protect your ears, but these are often overlooked by employers and hearing loss can still occur due to prolonged exposure to noise over the maximum limit. Educate yourself on tasks where the decibels are above 87 and request and use safety headphones to perform them.