How Construction Workers Can Look After Their Health
There aren’t many jobs out there that are more physically demanding than doing construction work. From working on roofs, where there is the risk of being injured by a fall, to laying bricks and experiencing pains from overexertion, it is easy to see why so many construction workers are always complaining of various physical pains.
According to statistics compiled by Harvard University and the EU-OSHA, every year approximately 1000 workers are killed while working a construction job with over 800,000 employees sustaining some form of physical injury on the job. Among the most common types of injuries, musculoskeletal injuries are far and away the most prevalent with around 75% of the reported health problems among construction workers being injuries of this sort.
Furthermore, 35% of construction workers report some kind of hearing loss that they can claim are the results of their line of work, and 63% of construction workers are exposed to high levels of vibration that in turn cause various injuries to the arms and hands. Over 15% of these types of workers report being exposed to dangerous materials, which can cause an assortment of skin diseases. Plus, 32% of workers report having been exposed to fumes or breathing in substances or gases that cause respiratory ailments like silicosis, cancer or asbestosis.
Clearly working in the construction industry is a risky proposition. Fortunately, there are some precautions and proactive measures that can be taken to lessen the risk of their being hurt on the job. The following are some of the preventative measures that construction workers themselves have devised in an attempt to curb the rising levels of employee incapacitation.
Technical measures are specifically geared towards reducing the physical workload and the exposure of employees to noises, substances and vibrations. There are devices aimed at minimizing the repetitive handling and lifting construction workers find themselves doing. This can include equipment to help raise bricks for bricklaying, which can reduce the risk of back injuries from improper lifting techniques.
There has also been mechanized equipment developed to help with laying floors so that workers aren’t always stooped over. There are also regulations being passed requiring employees wear mandatory hearing and breathing protection. Masks can keep employees from inhaling dangerous fumes and dust that may cause cancer. Other equipment includes protective gear to keep the ears safe from loud decibel levels that can permanently damage hearing.
Toolbox sessions have regularly become employed at worksites, and they are obligatory for earning continued certification. These sessions focus on improving ergonomics and the introduction of new techniques and materials that are intended to add to the safety of the job. By keeping up to date on new procedures within the field of construction, workers can proactively protect their health.
Construction workers also can continue their education and gain relevant certifications, which have the added benefit of protecting their health. Contractor licensing exams will not only test on how to perform a job but also the safety regulations that should be met in order for an individual to work as a contractor. There are plenty of resources available to take this exam, such as the tips from contractortrainingcenter.com, which help with training and prep courses so that contractors can pass the exam—and know how to effectively protect their health.
These measures originally focused on ergonomics and teaching employees how to use tool and equipment correctly as well as injury prevention. Another way of implementing these measures is through health surveillance, which is the practice of identifying unhealthy practices early so that they can try to eliminate the problem. This is something that employers should provide to protect the health of their workers. This early warning system also involves periodic health checks where employees are screened for any mental health issues that could become an issue in the long run as well as chronic diseases and physical limitations that could affect an employee’s ability to work.
Lastly construction companies are beginning to take drug screening employees seriously since this is an industry that historically has been rife with drug abuse. By screening for drug use, employers can keep their worksites free of employees who might be abusing drugs on the job, which greatly increases the risk of injury.
While construction jobs will always be inherently dangerous, taking certain precautions is the best way to lower the risk of injury on the job and therefore aid the health of construction workers.