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Staying Safe: Knowing The Risks In Construction

There are many jobs available in the construction industry, but as those in the business will testify, building sites can be considered a health and safety nightmare. According to statistics, 43 people were killed between 2015 and 2016 in the UK, while there were over 60,00 work related injuries. You may be shocked at these figures, but considering the significant amount of risks involved in the industry, we should at least be thankful the fatality rate isn’t higher.

A responsible employer will always ensure his workforce has had the correct health and safety training to manage the potential dangers inherent in their work. Risk assessments should be carried out on a regular basis, at the beginning of a building project, and when new equipment has been installed.

Listed below are some of the dangers present on a building site. Should you be considering a career in this business, or if you are currently managing a workforce within construction, may this be a reminder of the hazards faced.

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Scaffolding and rooftops

When working up above, there is a high risk of falling if the scaffolding isn’t properly erected, or if the worker isn’t fastened correctly with a harness. An employer needs to put fall protection in place, including guardrails and safety gates. Not only will this protect the vertigo challenging worker above, but also those operating at ground level.

Moving vehicles

Many building projects require a number of vehicles, from dumper trucks to excavators. Around seven people a year are killed when hit by construction traffic and much more are injured. Wearing reflective clothing helps, as well as hardened, slip-resistant boots to prevent falling into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

Excessive noise

From pounding drills to noisy machinery, workers face long-term hearing problems without the proper protection. A noise risk assessment needs to be carried out by the employer, and appropriate gear including industrial earplugs or earmuffs should be worn to alleviate hearing damage.

Asbestos

Many construction workers think asbestos is a thing of the past, but sadly that isn’t true. Many buildings pre the year 2000 are likely to contain asbestos, possibly hidden away and forgotten. Years ago, people weren’t aware of the dangers involved, but long-term damage including breathing issues and cancer were found to have come from asbestos. Breathing masks should be worn, but when possible the asbestos should be safely removed when discovered.

Electricity

We know electricity kills, and in the construction industry, this is a common cause of fatality. From overhanging power lines to faulty machinery, the risks of electrocution are high. Common sense should be used, such as turning off a piece of equipment before cleaning and maintenance take place, and putting up warning signs when circuits are being tested.

People

Finally, people can be a common hazard. From throwing cigarette butts into flammable areas to being distracted when on scaffolding. An an employer, you are responsible for the lives of your workforce, so ensure safety is the number one priority.

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