Working In Construction: Dealing With Health And Safety Matters
Health and safety should be a priority for any workplace, but there are some industries where the risk of an accident is more likely than others. This is particularly prevalent in the construction industry, where the use of machinery, scaffolding, and heavy transport, are all contributing factors to the risk of injury to employees and building site users. Procedures need to be put in place, and regulations need to be followed. Failure to do so could lead to serious injury and loss of life, if not taken seriously. In this article, we will look at some of the common risks involved in construction, and how these can be alleviated.
Common health and safety risks include:
Working at height: Many fatalities and injuries occur every year because of tradespeople working on scaffolding and atop buildings. To reduce harm, safety awareness training is vital. E-learning and college courses are available to guide workers and employers in this aspect of the trade. The necessary equipment should also be put in place, including harnesses rigged to the scaffolding or rooftop, and the correct Personal Protective Equipment.
Vehicle operation: From trucks on the road carrying hazardous materials, to cranes and dumper trucks on site, the risk of injury to the public and employees is huge. However, provided vehicles are well-maintained, this becomes less of an issue. Renting a truck from Flex Fleet may be safer than relying on an old and possibly ill-maintained vehicle, and having sufficient signage in place where vehicles will be operating is an added warning to anybody in the vicinity.
Slips and falls: These are the most common accidents on a building site, especially due to the uneven surfaces workers are operating on. Decent work boots need to be worn, along with other PPE equipment, and as far as is possible, the ground needs to be decluttered from obstacles, including wires and debris.
Noise: Building sites are excessively noisy places, especially with the heavy-duty machinery being used. When exposed to such noise long-term, workers will experience hearing loss. Ear plugs do help, but risk assessments still need to be carried out. This can include reducing the amount of time a piece of machinery is operating, and purchasing low-noise machinery and equipment to replace current models.
Manual handling: While many construction sites use machinery for some of the heavy lifting, there are still times when moving and carrying tools and building materials is part of the designated manual labor responsibility of the employee. Therefore, ‘manual handling training’ needs to be a priority, as well as finding safer ways of moving material when working on site.
Asbestos: This is an historical problem, and many people have suffered the aftereffects of asbestos years after working with this hazardous material. Now the dangers of this substance are known, it is vital older buildings are inspected thoroughly to remove the danger. Protective equipment needs to be worn at all times to prevent the risk of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and silicosis.
To ensure safety, employers and building inspectors need to adhere to health and safety codes. Protective equipment needs to be worn at all times on site, and machinery needs to be properly maintained. Training needs to be given to every employee, though common sense must also prevail. Reporting risks is also the responsibility of everybody on site. For anybody currently working, or thinking of beginning a construction business, needs to adhere to the advice given in this article.