Accidents happen every day in the construction industry, with fatalities in construction up by 8% during 2020 and 2021.
Some of the most common accidents in the construction industry are slips, trips and falls, injury whilst manual handling, falls from a height and being stuck in between a moving or falling object. Risk assessments should be carried out by management to identify possible hazards and risks.
To put it simply, construction sites are a health and safety nightmare, with an endless amount of factors that can cause you harm. Keep reading for more information on construction site hazards and risks.
Possible Risks and How to Prevent Them
Responsible employers are aware of their duty of care to employees and visitors, and appropriate accident prevention measures are essential in order to ensure the right level of care. An employer must ensure workforces have the relevant health and safety awareness training and at Beaconrisk we have many health and safety courses available.
Construction site safety is imperative - so risk assessments should be carried out by management to identify hazards and understand the things that can cause potential risks in a construction workplace.
Working From Height
Construction regularly relies on tradespeople to work at heights, which is a safety hazard. Working at heights runs the risk of falling from heights too and is the most common cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Other height-related injuries account for many of the accidents in construction that happen each year.
A construction site is full of ever-changing hazards. A construction site can often be filled with a constant volume of moving machinery including heavy lifting equipment, shifting heavy loads and vehicles and usually manoeuvring everything over uneven terrain.
Slips, Trips and Falls
Slips, trips and falls happen on a daily basis in any industry’s workplace across the UK. On construction sites, this hazard is made even worse - with uneven ground, all kinds of holes in the ground and buildings that are always at different stages of completion, along with building resources being stored. There is always something to slip, trip and fall over.
In construction, materials are always going to need to be moved around, whether this be by a machine or manually. Different construction trades will require different amounts to be lifted but there is always a risk no matter which trade you are in.
The correct manual handling training must be carried out for all employees that are required to do some manual handling, which may involve a test to confirm competency. Records of the training must be maintained for verification.
Repetitive and loud noises are a major problem in the construction industry. In the long term, this can cause serious problems to someone's hearing - and therefore can be the cause of accidents too.
Depending on how noisy a site is will depend on the level of ear protection required. Employers must carry out a noise risk assessment document and supply the appropriate PPE.
Three construction workers are said to be electrocuted each year during building work. People working in commercial and domestic refurbishment, those working near overhead power lines and those that are not working on electrics but work closely with them are at risk, for example, plumbers, joiners and decorators.
Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome
More commonly referred to as ‘Blue Finger’, this is relative to the construction industry. It is a painful and debilitating industrial disease of the blood vessels, nerves and joints. It is triggered by the prolonged use of vibratory power tools, meaning it is a serious physical health risk.
This disease has frequently affected ex construction site workers who have worked for years in the past with little to no protection and using inappropriate and poorly maintained equipment - many have filed a compensation claim in later life as a result of this.
Construction sites kick up a lot of dust. Tiny particles and fibres that are often so fine, are invisible and are often a mixture of toxic and hazardous substances that cause damage to the lungs.
Employers have to equip employees with the necessary protective equipment, otherwise, lung damage can lead to serious health risks from diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary, asthma and silicosis.
Every year collapsing structures and trenches, bury and seriously injure those working in them. This is less of a hazard and more of a risk and is more associated with demolition work or when a partially completed building or scaffolding collapses - this still causes a percentage of fatalities each year to make sure the appropriate risk assessments are carried out.