The health and safety of employees are two primary concerns that every construction company should regard as its top priority. How construction managers promote workspace health can have a direct impact on productivity and job satisfaction among employees.
Enforcing safety regulations to keep employees safe from falling objects or from falling off objects is a number one concern, but we also need to go the extra mile to ensure workers aren’t putting their health at risk on site every day. A couple questions construction managers should think about are: Do the fumes of the paint being used have any adverse health effects if inhaled? Are any precautionary measures being taken to prevent the excessive inhalation of harmful particle pollutants?
There are many health risks that construction workers face, however, there are solutions on how to prevent these risks before and during the time employees are at work.
Common health problems construction workers run the risk of developing – and how to prevent them
Construction workers run the risk of developing health problems from multiple sources if the proper cautionary measures are not taken. Some of these health issues may not appear immediately, but develop over time and cause prolonged or permanent damage.
Back injuries - Incorrectly lifting heavy objects on a regular basis can result in painful back spasms and even permanent damage to the back and shoulder muscles.
Prevention: Increased awareness about this health risk can help employees be more cautious when lifting heavy objects. Regular training can help ensure that employees are aware of the health-related dangers and how to avoid them. Promoting your employees to get regular medical checks will also help in stopping a problem before it gets worse or creates any permanent damage. These medical checks can help keep employees updated on their current health as well as determine if any work habits such as improper lifting techniques need to be changed.
Respiratory problems - The constant inhalation of toxic fumes, asbestos, cement dust, sawdust or other harmful particles can lead to respiratory complications in the long run. In severe cases, prolonged exposure to particulates can cause lung disease. Continued exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes can also cause a complete or partial loss of smell, known as anosmia.
Prevention: Contractors should inform employees about safety risks and provide gear or information about how to avoid inhaling these toxic fumes and particles. Workers should have an understanding of what equipment is needed, such as masks and industry standard safety goggles and helmets, in order to be safe on the job. Managers should also establish what equipment is required on the jobsite in order to promote these safety measures.
Skin irritation - Direct exposure to chemicals or toxic substances can cause immediate skin irritation as well as burns. Prolonged exposure to the sun on a regular basis can increase the risk of melanoma, a form of skin cancer, if not countered with the appropriate protection.
Prevention: Promoting the use of sunblock and other sun protecting agents such as sunglasses will encourage workers to protect themselves against harmful UV rays. Shade can also be provided in order to help workers avoid direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest. The Skin Cancer Foundation outlined nine skin cancer prevention tips.
Site evaluation is a vital step to help avoid all health risks. For example, managers must determine if employees will be working with toxic chemicals, in direct sunlight, or will be doing extensive heavy lifting. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has outlined 10 potential health and safety risks for construction workers, and how to properly set up and secure sites in order to avoid injuries.
To further ensure occupational health and safety in the construction industry, the jobsite should be equipped with basic safety equipment such as local exhaust ventilation, wet suppression systems, masks and respirators. This ties back to evaluating construction health risks and ensuring that all safety equipment needed is available and properly used.
Employees should be just as involved in health and safety as construction managers. It is the duty of everyone on site to encourage and promote health and safety.
At Mobile Modular, the safety and health of our employees are one of the most important priorities we have. We hold a commitment to our employees and value them and their contributions. Get in touch if you need modular buildings for your jobsite.