Construction Health and Safety Consultancy and CDM Adviser Services

Hazards to Prevent in the Construction Industry
Posted by David Cant on May 22, 2011

Occupational health and safety is a major issue in the construction industry. The variety of activities found on site combine to make the industry one of the most hazardous to work in. Due to this it is of vital importance that you not only protect the workers but so doing also protect your business and yourself. Hazards such as falls from height, being hit by moving vehicles, chemicals and dusts from wood, brick, cement, concrete and site noise lead construction industry statistics to claim that construction workers are much more likely to suffer from ill health and injuries than the average worker.

Construction industry accidents can easily occur and it is therefore very important that you recognize the hazards and make the necessary precautions. A major hazard found on construction sites is asbestos. It is a natural occurring mineral but differs to other minerals because it is in the form of long thin fibres and is very strong and resistant to heat and chemicals. This quality made it popular during the 1940’s and 1960’s for use in building products. Exposure to asbestos causes asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. Asbestos related diseases kill about 3000 people each year in the UK construction industry and the asbestos deaths are expected to increase to 10000 a year by 2030. Necessary protective gear, as stipulated by law need to be provided by the employer.

Almost always found in the construction industry but which is a respiratory hazard, is cement. As of 17th of January 2005, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Amendment Regulations 2004 has introduced new restrictions on the amount of chromium IV in cement. Cement containing products that contain chromium IV higher than 2ppm is prohibited. Higher than this and when in contact with skin, this chemical can cause allergic contact dermatitis. Construction industry workers run the risk of severe discomfort and permanent disability. Therefore protective work wear and work shoes are necessary on site as well as construction industry training. Prevention rather than cure.

Another health risk on construction industry sites to workers is sewage spills. Contact with raw sewage or sewage contaminated areas can lead to the infection of Hepatitis A and infectious bacteria such as Giardia. A construction activity like plumbing can be most dangerous to these diseases. In case of a sewage spill, the area should be vacated immediately. An approved contractor should clean up the contaminated area as soon as possible.

There are many hazardous activities and dangerous lurking in the construction industry but with the proper training and regulative protective work wear health and safety on a construction site can be improved.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner extraordinaire. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the MD of Veritas Consulting. David also Blogs about Health and Safety here Health and Safety Consultants

His aim is to flavour Health and Safety with integrity, served with a side of humour You can find David on - Twitter and Google also Linkedin

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