Identifying Construction Hazards and Reducing Risk

 

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Working in the construction industry comes with a certain amount of inherent risk. There are a variety of potential hazards that workers may face on a daily basis, from slips and trips to being hit by falling objects or machinery. 
In order to reduce the risk of injury or accidents, it is important for construction companies and site managers to identify the hazards present on their worksites and put in place measures to mitigate these risks. 

Construction Hazards 

Workplace hazard is a situation where it endangers the well-being of the employees. It can be a material, the workplace, or anything that can potentially harm someone. 
Some of the most common hazards that need to be considered include: 

Erosion 

Soil erosion takes place when the topmost layer of the land wears away due to numerous factors such as climate, composition, soil structure, and contamination.  
Moreover, construction sometimes results in soil erosion. The work activities cover a lot of earth movement, and sometimes as part of the construction process, workers do grading to level the lands. This constant disruption in the soil leads to erosion, affecting the nearby areas and the construction site. 

What You Can Do 

What you can do is try out construction phasing, where you clear the land one area at a time so that no larger places are left bare and exposed. On the other hand, the easiest way to prevent erosion in sites is to call for professionals who can optimize erosion control to avoid possible risks in your project. 

Hazardous Material Exposure  

When you are on a construction site, you are vulnerable to numerous hazards. One of which would be direct exposure to hazardous materials. These materials are usually toxic chemicals like solvents and petroleum products. 
The most common solvent that you may expose to would be paints, adhesive, and cleaning liquids. These substances can be dangerous when they come in contact with your skin. They can be more dangerous when you inhale them. 
Another type of hazardous material would be heavy types of machinery and falling objects. People working near machinery are exposed to its moving parts, and they may be at risk of injuries like puncturing or crushing. 

What You Can Do: 

One of the most effective ways to handle this hazard is to train your employees in operating with such materials properly. Ensure that they are always equipped with the proper protective equipment while working and always keep them in check. 
Do not forget to check all the machines and ensure no issues with them. As much as possible, keep the area free from clutter so no other hazardous materials get caught on the devices. 

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)  

HAVS is the damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the arm and hand. It results from the constant exposure to vibration when using tools like drills, chipping hammers, and grinders. This causes significant changes to the sensation of the worker’s fingers that lead to permanent numbness to fingers. 

What You Can Do: 

As mentioned, you must thoroughly train your employees in handling various constructing tools, so they know which tools are appropriate for their task. Also, ensure that the tools they are using are well-maintained. It will also help if you give your workers regular breaks so they can rest from vibrations, 

Electricity  

Electricity can disrupt the beating of your heart and cause fibrillation when you are directly exposed to it. If immediate aid is not given, it can usually be fatal and may result in death.  It becomes a hazard in the construction site when workers are exposed to damaged cords and equipment.  
Electricity all in itself is frightening, and if these damaged equipment are left unattended, they may cause a spark and start a fire or electrocute a person and lead them to their deathbed. Aside from that, overloaded circuits and improper grounding may also worsen fire explosions. 

What You Can Do: 

You must assign a team that will do a general checkup on all your equipment and if they find a damaged one, ensure that it is disconnected from the electrical source. Please keep the damaged equipment in a place to store them safely.  
Additionally, always keep your wires and circuits safe and adequate. Most importantly, upgrade your fire equipment and keep them easily accessible in case of emergencies. 

Working At High Altitudes 

Construction workers are always at risk when working, especially if they are working in high places. There is a risk of incomplete scaffolds and falling through fragile sheeting. When working in construction, you will need to deal with height at least once in your duty. 

What You Can Do: 

Ensure that the workers are in their protective gear when working at high places. Also, you must at least reduce or manage the risk by creating fall-prevention devices such as platforms or guardrails so that they can keep them working in a safer and more secure place at heights. 

Final Thoughts 

Despite being exposed to several work hazards, you can help mitigate these risks and help the employees do their job safer with proper training and enough knowledge. With this article, you now know the common types of workplace risks the construction workers are vulnerable to and how you prevent further injuries as a leader. 
 

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