Occupational Health and safety – Construction Industry

Occupational Health and safety Construction Industry

Construction industry, often termed as ‘high-risk’, has a significant impact on the health and safety of the workers. It is one of the most hazardous industries where occupational health and safety issues are a major concern.

Occupational Health Issues in Construction Industry

Though it is common to see a construction worker work at heights with equipment and building materials, these scenarios are plagued by potentially dangerous situations and poor working conditions. They are exposed to hazards that are difficult to quantify. These include falls, electrical shock, noise, vibration, and hazardous substances. Some of the common occupational health issues in the construction industry include musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory diseases, noise-induced hearing loss, and dermatitis.

These health issues can be prevented or minimized. For instance, workers can be provided with personal protective equipment, and regular health checks can be conducted to detect health issues early. As a result, it is essential to ensure the implementation of effective occupational health and safety measures in the construction industry.

Ensuring Occupational Health and Safety in Construction

Different job sites have different procedures and conditions – identifying the source(s) that poses challenges to Occupational Health and safety(OHS) of the workforce remains critical.

2017 ILO statistics quote that in India, 48,000 people died due to occupational accidents and the construction sector contributed to 24.20% of the fatalities. Apart from fatalities, there are workers who suffer from work-related health hazard and suffer non-fatal injuries. The scale and severity should be enough for the stakeholders to ensure the safety and health of their workforce.

To promote and maintain safety in the workplace, knowledge about the primary causes of accidents help assess the level of safety.

Occupational Health and safety -Construction Industry

Primary hazards in a Construction Industry

So what can be done?

Occupational health and safety in construction involves the identification, assessment, and control of hazards to minimize the risk of injury and illness to workers. It is essential to ensure that all workers have the necessary training, knowledge, and equipment to work safely.

Health and safety is a multi-step process which includes the workers at the site, nearby people, supervisors, managers etc. Effective management of activities and competent site supervision are essence in maintaining healthy and safe conditions. In construction activities especially, greater the risk, greater the degree of hazard control and supervision is required.

Before the work starts, competent EHS personnel should:

  • Identify and devise risks and their management strategy
  • Ensure training – site specific and job-specific
  • See that the workforce has access to PPEs and know how to use them
  • Observe, inspect and report that agreed safe work methods are implemented, site-wide

Upon arrival at the site, employees, contractors and visitors should receive information about the site hazards and steps taken to control those risks. Also, briefing them about the hazards, PPEs, welfare facilities and site rules can ensure that the work in progress is smooth and efficient.

Moreover, it is important to promote a safety culture in the construction industry, where workers are encouraged to report hazards and near-misses, and where safety is given priority over productivity.

Speaking more of Preventive measures…

Much of the construction works include scaffolds, and collective fall prevention becomes a necessity. They must be equipped with guardrails, toe boards and brick guards. Personal prevention such as podium steps, can be used to prevent falls while working at height. If the weather seems inappropriate, emergency and rescue procedures should be well-defined in advance to avoid adverse effect on workers. All working platforms must be checked for safe conditions and should be inspected for slip and trip hazards.

Other preventive measures that make safe conditions certain are:

  1. Regular inspections of the site and the machineries to detect hazards in the first place
  2. Selection of the right PPE (respirators, helmets) to avoid inhalation of asbestos, dust and fibre with provision for appropriate trainings.
  3. Avoid repetitive motions and use long-handled tools to reduce the need of bending down.
  4. Make sure that workers are protected from wet concrete (provide PPE and proper washing facilities)
  5. Ensure safe dismantling procedures are in place
  6. Site traffic (for vehicles or moving equipment) should be planned and managed to avoid fatalities onsite
  7. Forklifts should be used carefully in material handling
  8. Confirm site wide PTW implementation
  9. Pneumatic silencers should be used to reduce noise; electrical hazards (faulty wiring) must be checked and firefighting equipment should be in place

Incorporating health and safety checks can keep a tab on the worker progress and well-being. Risk assessments, health and safety trainings, corrective and preventive measures all should be the part of the checklist of a construction company.

Occupational health and safety in the construction industry is a system for monitoring occupational health issues in the construction industry. It is dealt with application of labor standards in the workplace. There are numerous OSH inspection difficulties that are common to the construction industry and other industries, but there are also many issues that are unique to this sector. This manual

Describe health and safety in the construction industry and we realize that all of it was created specifically with field inspectors and labour inspectorate managers in mind.

Occupational health issues in the construction industry are very common – what an inspection should aim to do is educate their workers on important ideas and OSH concerns pertaining to the building sector. Visitor induction training programs are key to performing such roles with efficacy. In addition, improve some competencies that they will both need to fulfill their roles, which for managers primarily entail overseeing an OSH inspection program in the construction industry. For the field inspectors, it can entail completing on-site OSH inspection visits.

This is useful to other people working in OHS in the construction sector, along with managers in labour inspection offices and field inspectors. 

These could be the internal staff of businesses in the construction sector, including managers, OSH specialists, supervisors, or workers, as well as trainers and advisers on OSH issues who work for the government, employers’, and workers’ organizations, professional or industrial bodies, training institutions, or unions.

The mission of contributing to safe working conditions, participating in the detection of risk and danger is a matter for all; so employees must also communicate hazardous conditions when they encounter. It is good to be proactive instead of reactive in terms of health.

In conclusion 

Ensuring occupational health and safety in the construction industry is crucial for the well-being of workers and the success of construction projects. Therefore, it is important to implement effective occupational health and safety measures and promote a safety culture in the construction industry. By doing so, we can prevent occupational health issues in the construction industry and ensure that construction workers can work safely and productively.

4 thoughts on “Occupational Health and safety – Construction Industry”

  1. It’s great that you mentioned how it is essential to ensure the implementation of effective occupational health and safety measures in the construction industry. I was watching a TV show yesterday and it was mainly about how the construction industry works. From what I’ve seen, it seems occupational health services are very important now.

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