Despite the fact that there has been a big reduction in the number and rates of injuries to construction workers on building sites over the past few years, employers must remain resolute in their approach towards health and safety.
Owing to the potentially very dangerous nature of the industry, injuries that do occur tend to be quite serious or even fatal. This naturally will then often have devastating consequences on both the individual and their family.
The construction sector is dangerous as a career choice and workers within the field should take extra care at all times.
Therefore, it is important to know about and understand employer responsibilities on building sites as well as the risks that construction workers face on a daily basis.
Common Health and Safety Principles
Even though construction projects and building sites do of course vary greatly, there are a few essential core safety principles that should be adhered to at all times.
- Accidents can be prevented – Work can be safely carried out without causing ill health or injury, this is never an impossibility so do not take unnecessary risks.
- Health and safety should be treated equal – Health risks should be given the same amount of attention as safety risks as they can both change lives when things go wrong.
- Each and every worker is responsible – Regardless of an individual’s role, everyone has a responsibility to manage risk. Wear that responsibility with pride and stand up to be counted, for your fellow man, or woman’s best interests!
- Be proactive rather than reactive – Although surveillance programmes are an effective part of managing health risks, top priority should be safeguarding employees in the first place.
- Prioritise risk over lifestyle – Helping employees tackle lifestyle issues like smoking is all well and good, but this is not a substitute for preventing work-related health risks.
The Biggest Risks in Construction
You may be surprised to hear that more working days are lost every year through work-related illness as opposed to injuries. In fact, construction workers have a high risk of developing various diseases due to the substances they come into contact with.
- Cancer – Among the industrial sectors, construction has the largest burden of occupational cancer, accounting for over 40 per cent of related registrations and deaths. Past exposure causes over 5,000 occupational cancer cases and around 3,700 actual fatalities annually. The biggest cause is asbestos (70 per cent), followed by silica (17 per cent), and then working as a painter/diesel engine exhaust fumes (6-7 per cent each).
- Hazardous materials – Employees come into regular contact with dusts, chemicals, and harmful mixtures in the construction industry. Also, various processes emit fumes, vapours, and gasses into the air, which can cause breathing problems and lung disease. Hazardous substances have also been known to cause high rates of dermatitis or other skin conditions. Sometimes the effects of exposure to certain hazardous materials can take years to manifest themselves as a medical condition that requires treatment.
- Physical injury – Workers in building trades and skilled construction often suffer from back injuries and upper limb disorders. The most commonly reported cause of over seven day injuries is manual handling, but ill health caused by noise and vibration is also prevalent.
If you have suffered from an injury or illness at work, then you might be able to claim compensation in instances where your employee did not take the necessary health and safety precautions.
To find out whether you have a potentially genuine case, contact the work injury specialists over at www.accidentcompensation4uk.co.uk today.
Their friendly team will be in the best position to assess your likelihood of success should you decide to pursue a claim against another party.