Working in construction is known for being a dangerous occupation. There are many risks which construction workers have to identify, manage and avoid on a daily basis, from personal safety to ensuring that a building complies with regulations and is safe for future users.
These are some of the potential health problems which can be caused by working in construction for prolonged periods of time.
Construction sites are often noisy places to work. The use of heavy machinery for drilling and excavation can be highly detrimental to a construction workers hearing. The number of claims for hearing loss compensation is extremely high, despite appropriate safety equipment, such as ear defenders, being compulsory as part of most sites health and safety regulations. As well as total loss of hearing, tinnitus- a constant ringing noise in your ears- can be a problem. Overall, construction work has a very high rate of workers in ill health due to noise and vibrations.
Breathing Problems and Lung Disease
Another common complaint among construction workers is breathing problems, such as asthma, which are caused by exposure to harmful substances. Construction sites are full of dust, chemicals and paint fumes, some building process even cause hazardous gases to be emitted. Skin conditions are also common among construction workers, such as dermatitis, which is caused by exposure to these substances. Even though construction workers are required to wear protective gear such as gloves and face masks, over time gradual exposure can lead to more serious conditions such as lung disease.
Back and Limb Injuries
The physical side of construction work can take a toll on a workers’ body, even if they trained to move large objects correctly. Back and limb injuries are some of the most common among construction workers, and one of the key reasons for over seven days of work absence among employees, typically caused by manual handling activities. This is because lifting heavy objects on a daily basis creates a strain on muscles, even among the fittest individuals. More serious injuries include sprains and breaks, which are usually caused by incorrect use of machinery or trips and falls.
Construction work is not only very physically demanding, it is also a high pressure working environment with strict deadlines and long hours. For this reason, many construction workers experience ill health due to mental stress. This can range from migraines and tension headaches to more serious mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression. The effect of mental illness on construction workers can be severe, leading to long periods of time off work and even unemployment.
Construction work is one of the most dangerous industries to work in, with the highest rate of work-place injuries in any sector. With an increasing number of people choosing to work in construction, there are over 11 million workers in the industry in the US alone, it is clear that more needs to be done to reduce the impact on workers’ health.