Working in the construction business is physically demanding. The wellbeing and safety of those deployed in the field are oftentimes most at risk. Each time they step into their work site, they expose themselves to countless health threats that cause severe ailments. Long hours of strenuous manual labor can take a damaging toll on one’s body and this is especially true for construction employees.
In an industry where exposure to dangerous toxins is inevitable, it may be an understatement to say that extra caution is required. But diligent practice of preventive health measures could mean dodging the bullet.
Below are some of the common health risks confronting construction workers daily, and some recommended course of actions to counter each.
Many factors cause respiratory disease. Harmful airborne pollutants are present even indoors. In construction sites, where these perilous elements are widespread, the risk of acquiring respiratory disorders is all the more existent.
Several government-mandated safety policies are implemented to lessen incidents on respiratory disease. Respirators are common protective gears and these are often required in toxic work environments. It is important to note, however, that the use of masks require workers to be medically examined. This assessment determines their physical and mental capacity to use a respirator.
Asbestos has been found to be a serious cause for concern in numerous studies. Unregulated contact with this hazardous mineral can easily result in workforce casualty. The type and severity of asbestos related disease that is acquired depends on the personnel’s proximity to asbestos exposure.
When contracted to work in an environment with asbestos, ensure that the compulsory regulations are met. Companies will be required to provide the necessary hazard awareness or Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response training (HAZWOPER) as it is critical to have a solid understanding on proper asbestos handling and disposal.
MSD is a condition that causes pain and discomfort, among other symptoms, in the muscles, joints, tendons, or spinal discs. This is usually caused by back, shoulder and neck, and leg related injuries. This in turn, limits the employee’s capability to carry out heavy-lifting tasks.
Contractors, and/or employers have a responsibility to protect workers from MSD. It is best to limit or completely eliminate manual heavy lifting if and when possible. The use of heavy-lifting equipment such as cranes, hoists, vacuum lifting devices, conveyor systems and other methods of avoiding the task being fulfilled manually is strongly recommended.
Occupational noise exposure is a regular part of a construction worker’s job. Sudden, extremely loud background noises can permanently hurt their hearing. Their repeated exposure to loud work environments gradually result in hearing loss.
The use of noise protection is critical in avoiding permanent hearing loss. Workers usually take several years before realizing they have slowly gone deaf. It is imperative that they be provided and required high-quality industrial ear protective devices.
Pressure is common in many work environments. Reacting to excessive levels of stress on a daily basis have negative impacts on a worker’s well-being. The most common stressful points in construction work are: too much workload in very limited time; commuting to work; having responsibility over other’s safety; long work hours; and frequent exposure to danger.