Three Potential Hazards in the Construction Industry

Ian Mutuli
Updated on

If you’re looking to develop a career in the construction industry, you’re writing a paper on workplace hazards, or you’re just generally interested in learning more about the construction industry, you need to know about the risks involved. Construction and site work are very dangerous professions with high work-related accidents and deaths. Some hazards are obvious while others aren’t as well talked about. Here are three potential hazards to be aware of in the construction industry.

Falling from heights

Working at height sadly runs the risk of falls. The threat of workplace falls is considered one of the most paramount dangers in the construction industry. Due to this, measures are put in place across the world to ensure employers meet standards and regulations. All employers must provide good quality PPE to all members of the team. Not only this, but they must provide extra protection when necessary. This equipment might include safety nets and handrails for example. Employers must have full fall protection equipment inspection once per year. Pelsue’s OSHA equipment inspection checklist is a good resource to rely on here. They even have a PDF version which you can download and send around to the team if you all want to use it on the go.

Confined space incidents

Construction sites consist of many tight spaces that require work being conducted in them. As this is the case, extra precaution must be taken by employers to ensure the crew’s safety when operating in confined spaces. These spaces can be deadly, and many are killed and injured as a result of the complexity of confined space tasks. The different types of confined spaces can include storage tanks, sewers, and reaction vessels. Due to the high level of risk, employers are encouraged to have rescue teams on-site at all times. This is because construction sites cannot rely on emergency services while in a time-crunch, so having members of the team well trained and available for rescue is an excellent way to ensure your team’s safety. Employers are also recommended to have materials such as work tents, to protect against the elements in an outside confined space emergency rescue.

Mental health

When examining the stats surrounding poor mental health among construction workers, mental health can be considered a hazard. For a long time, mental health has gone unnoticed and underappreciated. As time passes by, employers are beginning to recognise that support and understanding must be available for all staff members. Alarming statistics suggest that the construction industry has the second-highest rate of suicide. Some of the reasons for poor mental health in this field are the high-pressure environment, season lay-offs and the fact that it is a male-dominated industry. Not should employers take this responsibility as a whole to ensure employee mental health, but the availability to access helpful materials should be filtered down to the site and team supervisors. Employees should know who they can speak too, and not be afraid to talk.

Final thoughts

It’s obvious that the construction industry is very dangerous for all types of reasons. The hazards vary so drastically that they should be considered in both large and small scale and every precaution should be taken to protect workers.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.