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Which are the top 9 Construction hazards?

Major construction hazards mainly occur on construction sites. Discover how to identify and prevent them


Working in construction is notoriously demanding and comes with many health risks as every year, thousands of workers suffer injuries, and unfortunately, some are fatal.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the primary hazards in the construction sector and suitable prevention strategies to avoid them!

Which Are the 9 Major Construction Hazards?

The construction sector is prone to several risks that can impact safety, project quality, and profitability. Here are the top 9:

  • Working at heights;
  • Slips and falls;
  • Noise;
  • Moving objects;
  • Material handling;
  • Exposure to chemicals, dust, and weather elements;
  • Electrical accidents;
  • Burns;
  • Sudden collapses.

1. Working at Heights

Working at heights unfortunately leads to some of the most common fatal accidents. Hence, it’s crucial and necessary to:

  • Provide adequate training to all employees working at heights;
  • Have an in-depth knowledge of safety measures for scaffolding, ladders, roofs;
  • Ensure adequate planning for work at heights;
  • Offer continuous supervision during elevated work.
Work at heights

Working at heights

2. Slips and Falls

The presence of irregular, wet, or slippery surfaces, unstable grounds, and varying elevations at construction sites are some primary dangers causing these incidents.

To mitigate these, it’s essential to always highlight the presence of wet, slippery surfaces, or uneven terrain and avoid distractions, remaining vigilant during work activities.

3. Noise

Most equipment used at a construction site generates high noise levels, and prolonged exposure to loud noise can cause irreversible hearing loss in construction workers.

Wearing appropriate hearing protection during noisy tasks is crucial to preserving hearing.

construction risks - noise risk

noise risk

4. Moving Objects

Objects moving within a construction site during project execution include lifting equipment, supply vehicles, excavators, cranes, etc., operating in the work environment.

All workers must ensure their safety by being mindful of their surroundings, using personal protective equipment (PPE), and avoiding working within the operating area of machines.

5. Material Handling

Manual or equipment-based material handling poses numerous risks for workers.

It’s important that everyone knows how to safely lift and transport materials and use safety equipment properly.

6. Exposure to Chemicals, Dust, and Weather Elements

Construction workers are exposed to risks from frequent handling of toxic substances like paints, solvents, lead, asbestos, and various other dust and chemicals.

This can lead to various eye and mouth issues, respiratory problems, and severe diseases like cancer (in the case of asbestos). To some extent, personal protective equipment and training can help protect workers from these risks.

7. Electrical Accidents

The unique working conditions in construction sites make the risk of electric shocks much higher than in almost any other work activity. Primary causes include:

  • Unprotected terrain;
  • Improper use of cables and extensions;
  • Lack of grounding for electrical equipment;
  • Direct contact with power lines.

8. Burns

Burns at construction sites often result from thermal contact, welding, or chemical products. While minor burns can be treated with first aid kits, severe ones can cause long-term damage.

9. Sudden Collapses

A sudden collapse at a construction site might occur during:

  • Building construction;
  • Total or partial demolition of a structure;
  • Trench digging.

In this context, it’s crucial, before commencing construction/demolition or excavation, to ensure an adequate risk assessment and regularly inspect the site through safety audits during operations.

Identifying Construction Risks and Prevention Strategies

Workplace safety has always been a major challenge within the construction industry. Preventing safety risks at a construction site is fundamental for ensuring worker safety and project success. Strategies involving:

  1. Training and Awareness: Worker training is vital for safety risk prevention. They should be well-trained on safety regulations, safe operating procedures, and correct equipment usage. Continuous training, including new hires, temporary workers, and subcontractors, is crucial. Innovative technologies like construction site management and worker training software integrating immersive virtual reality revolutionize worker training, simulating real on-site situations without real risks.
  2. Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): PPE such as helmets, protective eyewear, gloves, and reflective vests are crucial for safety risk prevention. Proper use of appropriate PPE significantly reduces the risk of injuries and accidents. However, ensuring high-quality, well-maintained PPE consistently used by workers is important.
  3. Risk Assessment: Risk assessment involves identifying and evaluating potential hazards. Accurate risk assessment helps determine necessary preventive measures. This may include altering work procedures, using personal protective equipment, or implementing engineering measures to eliminate or reduce risks. To effectively identify and manage safety risks, minimizing potential incidents and injuries, consider using construction activity planning software to mitigate site interferences. This software overlays contractor and subcontractor activities, controls temporal and spatial activity interferences, and studies suitable work coordination to mitigate risks to be implemented in specific construction risk management plans.
  4. Emergency Procedures: Being prepared for emergencies is vital for risk prevention. Every construction site should have well-defined emergency procedures to handle fires, serious incidents, evacuations, and other critical situations. All workers should be trained in these procedures, and regular emergency drills should be conducted to ensure everyone is ready to respond appropriately when needed.
Risk prevention strategies in construction

Risk prevention strategies in construction

In summary, preventing safety risks at a construction site involves a combination of training, risk assessment, emergency procedures, continuous surveillance, and PPE usage. Adopting these strategies helps create a safe working environment, minimizing the potential for incidents and ensuring the protection of workers’ health and lives.

Certainly, employing specific construction management software plays a crucial role. Investing in these technological solutions not only protects workers’ health and lives but also contributes to the overall success of construction projects by minimizing obstacles resulting from incidents and interruptions. Site safety is imperative, and the adoption of advanced software is a crucial step toward this goal.

 

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