The encouragement and guidance on health related topics from construction managers can go a long way in ensuring the health and safety of employees. These messages could see accident rates go down, workers feel safer, work more efficiently and project delays avoided.
What are the dangers we are referring too?
There are the obvious dangers such as working at heights; however there are other health risks that are often not recognised or dealt with.
- Cancer in construction causes as much as 40% of all occupational cancer illnesses in all industry sectors.
- Breathing deficiencies and lung disease come from inhalation of chemicals, vapors or dust.
- Skin diseases result from exposure to toxic substances.
- Back injuries come from incorrect handling of heavy objects.
- Noise and vibration cause further health problems.
- Falls, crushing and similar injuries come from unstable surfaces and vehicle-related accidents.
Prevention over cure:
The fewer employees that are exposed to any risk, the greater their chances of remaining in good health. Some risks may be difficult or impossible to avoid. Working on scaffolding is likely to be part of many building projects. In that case, risk must be minimized by ensuring proper scaffold construction and correct employee safety procedures. In other cases, risk can be removed, such as substituting toxic materials for non-toxic ones can be done without affecting the overall quality of construction.
Putting a prevention plan in place:
- Evaluate The Health Risks. This can be a difficult task due to the rapid changes that occur on a construction site.
- Plan the Handling of Risks. Each risk will require a tailored solution.
- Get Everybody On Board. Clients, staff, contractors all make part of the team essentially. So it is important to have everyone on the same page.
- Monitor and Adjust as Needed. Health is an ongoing project that needs to be monitored and revisited constantly.
- Training. Online construction health and safety training courses can help plug those critical information gaps.
Examples of Actions to Make It Happen
- Health campaigns for example team health challenges involving healthy eating, step challenges etc.
- An obligation placed on suppliers and contractors to meet national occupational health standards
- Certified management training to help managers help employees to better health and well being on the job.
We always strive for a healthy workplace and we hope that after reading this, you can too!