No workplace is without risk - however, some industries are more prone to health and safety risks than others.
One of the more hazardous industries is construction. From loud noise to trips and falls, to more dangerous hazards such as asbestos or working from heights, construction workers have to be vigilant to the dangers of working in this industry.
Health and safety processes are key to identifying potential risks and helping to prevent them. Everybody in the workplace should play a role in health and safety, whether it be the workers, site managers, or even visitors to the site.
But why exactly is health and safety so important on construction sites? Keep reading to find out why health and safety are crucial in the construction industry.
Construction Sites Have Many Health and Safety Risks
Construction sites are full of risks and hazards - and to identify and prevent risks, risk assessments should be completed on a regular basis, and safety precautions should always be in place.
According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) statistics, the construction industry is responsible for a third of fatal injuries in the workplace, as well as ten percent of any other serious work-related injuries.
Construction work is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, as workers are exposed to a wide variety of risks and hazards. A common risk in construction is dangerous substances such as asbestos. Asbestos is a natural mineral that can cause cancer and lung issues such as asbestosis, both of which can be deadly.
Another hazard that construction workers and site managers need to watch out for and be prepared for is burns. Many construction workers will handle hot materials or open flames when welding, soldering, or cutting objects, so safety precautions should always be followed.
Some other risks that construction workers may be exposed to include falling from heights, operating dangerous machinery, being crushed by heavy loads, collapsing structures, falling objects, and many more.
A newer risk that construction workers are facing is COVID-19. This is something that all industries have had to prepare for, and construction work is no exception. Construction workers can not work from home like other industries, so workers must take proper precautions in preventing the contraction and spread of coronavirus.
Given the variety of risks on building sites, health and safety should be at the forefront of all operations and training. All workers should be prepared and know what to do in a health and safety emergency and should be taught what risks to look out for as well as how to prevent safety issues and injuries.
Visitors and Passers-By
It isn’t just the workers that may be at risk in and around construction sites - any visitors to the site should be aware of health and safety risks and precautions.
Site managers should ensure that not only the staff are kept safe, but any site visitors are protected from any construction-related health and safety risks. Visitors to the site should be aware of any emergency plans in place in the case of a health and safety emergency.
The health and safety of passers-by should also be at the forefront of construction managers’ minds - the dangers of construction sites can easily affect passers-by, so it is vital that the correct preventative measures are in place, and adhered to by everybody on the site.
An unsafe construction site is a health and safety risk - which can not only affect the workers but also the business.
Not adhering to the correct health and safety procedures and failing to complete regular risk assessments could be a liability risk - meaning the business could be sued, fined, or sent down. In some cases, the owner of the business or the person at fault could even be sent to prison.
Liability isn’t the only issue - if clients are aware that a building site is unsafe, or that the construction has a history with health and safety failures, then they may not want to work with them. It’s easy for a construction business to acquire a bad reputation from simply not caring about health and safety.
If workers are aware that a building site is unsafe, chances are, they will move on and find a better working environment.