It’s essential that business owners in any sector prioritise the health and safety of their workforce – and in the construction industry, this is especially important.
Working on a construction site involves manual labour and the use of tools and equipment that can increase the risk to workers. To reduce this risk, site owners and managers must undergo training, train up their team, and assess the areas that could be a hazard on their site.
To help identify the areas that could be a problem, we’ve rounded up some of the most common hazards to be aware of so that you can care for your construction team.
Working at a height
The nature of the construction industry means working at a height. However, this essential part of the job is also one of the most common hazards for workers. According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), almost half (47%) of all construction accidents were falls from a height between 2015/16 and 2019/20. This was overwhelmingly the most significant work-related injury on construction sites.
With such a significant number of workers experiencing injuries due to working at a height, site owners could identify this as a key risk area and make it safe for their staff to access elevated parts of the job in a safe way. To do this, training is essential, along with introducing safe working practices. If you’re a site owner, taking the time to assess current procedures and making updates could be key to preventing anyone from getting hurt.
While working at a height is a significant issue, it’s also important to consider the hazards caused by being around noisy machinery all day. Power tools and vehicles are needed to get the job done, but they’re loud.
Hearing loss caused at work is underreported and the HSE has limited statistics. But it estimates that there are 17,000 people with work-related hearing problems in the UK, based on numbers from 2017/18 to 2019/20.
To protect your workers from the impact of being in close range to drills and compressors all day, investing in quality ear defenders can be highly beneficial. It can muffle the noise on the site and reduce the risk to their hearing, especially while they are operating heavy-duty machinery.
Construction sites are busy places. Forklift trucks, moving materials, and manual handling means that objects are constantly moved from one area to another. Being free to move materials across the site is important, but as a site owner or manager, you’ll need to introduce systems that allow your team to get around safely.
To do this, create zones on the site that your team can be based in and adding communication methods such as walkie talkies can help your staff to let those in other zones know that they’re moving objects or materials across the site. Additionally, where larger vehicles like forklifts are in operation, add safety barriers to protect workers.
Slips, trips, and falls
Falls and trips can happen in any industry, but on construction sites this is more likely due to materials being left out and adverse weather conditions affecting workflow. Around 61,000 construction workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2019/2020 and most of these were slip, trips and falls (26%).
To avoid these incidents on your site, introduce best practices when it comes to moving machinery and clearing away materials. Train your team up in keeping the work they’re doing tidy and regularly check the site for loose cables and wiring that could be a hazard.