Common Construction Site Hazards

Written by chrys lin
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Common Construction Site Hazards
A construction site is filled with hazards that can cause serious injury or worse. (Cranes on a construction site image by Scott Latham from Fotolia.com)

A construction site is one of the most dangerous places to work. It is a place where open holes, machinery and sometimes plain old negligence can cause serious injury or worse. This is why it is important for those working on or visiting a construction site to be aware of what common hazards are, and how to avoid or prevent them.

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Falls

Falls and trips make up a large proportion of incidents where workers suffer fatalities on construction sites. This is why the safety of scaffolding, walkways, ladders and mobile platforms are extremely important. Untidy areas are also considered extremely hazardous, as building materials or left over waste can cause trips and falls. To avoid potential falls or injuries from them, workers should always use personal fall arrest equipment and maintain proper perimeter protection. Openings should also always be labelled and covered.

Struck-By, Caught-In/Between

Construction workers can easily be struck by moving machinery or get caught in trenches or between construction materials. To prevent this from happening, workers should never position themselves between moving and fixed objects, and they should always wear high-visibility clothes. Construction workers should also take care to never enter unprotected trenches without a proper protection system in place.

Exposure

Construction sites are filled with many materials that are hazardous to workers' health. This includes materials such as fibreglass, rockwool, ceramic and wood dust. There is some concern that synthetic products may have similar health effects as asbestos, which is why workers should make sure to wear proper protective gear while working with these materials to prevent inhalation. However, non-synthetic products, such as wood dust can just as easily cause health problems by getting caught in the nasal passage and irritating the eyes, throat and lungs. Workers should also be careful while working with chemicals, as they can be inhaled through vapour, or absorbed through the skin. Meanwhile, sewage spills also have the potential to cause illness from infectious bacteria and disease.

Fires and Electrocutions

Fires are always a risk on construction sites, which his why flammable materials should be dealt with especially carefully. Electrocutions are also common due to the large number of machinery that is used. Workers should identify the utilities they're using before beginning work, while also checking for overhead power lines before using any equipment. Portable electric tools should always be grounded or double insulated, while generators to supply power to such equipment and the voltage that is being supplied should always be closely monitored.

Noise

Construction is noisy by nature, which means workers should always protect their ears with mufflers or plugs when on site. Overexposure to high decibels of noise can cause damage to the ear drum. Site managers can also reduce the amount of noise produced by sequencing the order of machinery operations so not all equipment is running simultaneously.

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