Top 10 construction health and safety risks

We all know that the weather affects the construction industry, which was evident with the adverse weather back in February and March putting a hold onto many construction jobs due to the poor weather leading to unsafe working conditions.

With the weather this week looking to be hotter than Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, it looks like a great week for the construction industry to crack on with those all-important contracts. So, as we are the health and safety people, THSP Risk Management has summarised the top 10 biggest health and safety risks which are in the construction industry. Use this list to be aware of the risks you face, make sure that you and all members of your team work hard to keep yourselves safe and get home at the end of the day to enjoy those football games with your mates and family.

1) Working at Height

Construction frequently requires workers to work at height. Injuries and fatalities caused when working at height amount to many accidents annually. Risks are increased as mobility restrictions come into play. Training is an essential part of keeping workers safe and THSP offers relevant working at height courses. Visit our Working at Heights training course here.

2) Slips, Trips and Falls

With so much going on at construction sites on a daily basis, it’s hardly surprising that slips, trips and falls occur. Sometimes there is so much going on, you could really do with an extra pair of eyes to keep a look out for holes in the ground, stored materials and equipment.

3) Moving Objects

As buildings begin to take shape, construction sites can be a mish-mash of traffic and workers. Supply vehicles, dumper trucks and overhead lifting equipment can make manoeuvring around a bit of a challenge, and another thing for you to have to keep your eyes open for.

4) Noise

Within the construction industry, noise is a major hazard. This is because repetitive and excessive noise causes long-term and irreversible hearing problems. On top of this, it is a dangerous distraction. Employers are required by law to carry out and document a comprehensive risk assessment and ensure that the correct PPE is issued – a pair of ear plugs simply won’t offer the correct protection. THSP’s Risk Assessment Builder can be used to carry out correct risk assessments and can be found here.

5) Manual Handling

Different trades involve different levels of manual handling, all of which are likely to involve some form of risk. Adequate and relevant training must be delivered to all those who must carry out manual handling in their day-to-day jobs. THSP provides tailored manual handling for your exact needs and can be found here.

6) Vibrations

Repetitive vibrations through the prolonged use of power tools and ground working equipment can lead to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome, or ‘Blue-finger’ as it is commonly referred too. This can be prevented with effective risk assessments and correct PPE.

7) Collapses

Trench collapses happen and can leave workers seriously injured and precautions need to be planned prior to this kind of work happening. Again, workers need to be kept safe with an effective risk assessment. Having trained first aiders on site to assist should an accident occur is also a highly important. THSP first aid training courses are available to be viewed here.

8) Asbestos

People mistakenly believe that Asbestos is a thing of the past as in the UK it has been a banned substance since 1999. However, there are over 500,000 buildings in the UK which contain hidden asbestos, undisturbed and forgotten about. These materials must be disposed of correctly and legally. Asbestos also leads to asbestos related lung-cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis. THSP offers UKATA Asbestos awareness courses and can be found here.

9) Electricity

In the UK an average of three construction workers are electrocuted each year. This is increasing, and they tend to involve workers who aren’t qualified electricians but who are carrying out electrical work.

10) Respiratory diseases

Its not just asbestos which causes respiratory diseases and problems. Dusts of hazardous materials get kicked up at construction sites and can be breathed in by unsuspecting workers. Long-term illnesses include pulmonary issues, silicosis and asthma. All issued PPE must be used and used correctly. If you don’t use your equipment correctly, this could potentially lead to an HSE investigation, let alone long-term health problems.

So – this sunny week make sure you get home safely after the end of each shift. For more information on THSP and how we can help you to keep safe, visit our training website here.

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