The phrase ‘The Fatal Four’ gets thrown around a lot when it comes to Health and Safety hazards on building sites. There’s good reason for the attention they get, with falls, electrical, crushing, and collision hazards responsible for a significant proportion of construction worker injuries and deaths. Still, it would be remiss to claim that these four common safety hazards are the only ones that warrant special attention.
It’s easy to guard against the obvious dangers, but without proper health and safety training and protocols in place, you run the risk of leaving your workers vulnerable to hidden hazards.
These five commonly missed building site risks are often a result of more chronic hazards, making the signs harder to spot at first glance.
Building sites can be notoriously noisy places, often with heavy machinery running for long hours, large crew numbers, and environmental ambience such as traffic. Regular and prolonged exposure to high noise levels increases the risk of hearing conditions such as tinnitus. In extreme cases, it can lead to the development of chronic migraines and irreversible hearing loss.
We might be long past the point of using asbestos and cancerogenic chemicals without recognising the hazards, but airborne contaminants still pose a significant risk to construction workers. Carbon monoxide, lead, and dust from construction materials are just some of the harmful pollutants they are regularly exposed to, making proper ventilation, PPE and equipment essential.
The weather is an ever-evolving hazard on building sites. High temperatures bring the risk of heat stroke, heat exhaustion and dehydration. Cold temperatures come with the risk of chronic pain, heart attacks, and strokes. Both high and low temperatures carry the increased risk of hypothermia. The wind can also present an expected adversary, both by creating hazards around unsecured equipment, and by increasing the dangers of extreme temperatures.
Clear lines of responsibility, readily accessible procedures, and frequent safety briefings can help ensure your workers are prepped to navigate the hazards of their job in an informed, confident manner. Without robust lines of communication, there is a significant risk of error, miscommunication, and accidents.
Lack of Education
Keeping a building site safe is everyone’s responsibility, but without proper training, risk assessments, and reliable, easily accessible procedures, things can slip through the cracks, leaving everyone vulnerable.
While these are just some of the less apparent hazards you might encounter, Be-Safe is here to help you correctly catalogue, assess, and take action, reducing the risk factor and ensuring you have a safe, healthy and productive workforce.