Construction companies must familiarize themselves with common risks associated with construction work, so they can properly manage these issues. That’s why it’s important that contractors are not only aware of the risks associated with common construction site hazards, but that they also develop a strategy to mitigate or eliminate these safety and health concerns.
In parts one, two, and three of this article, our OSHA attorneys covered many of the physical hazards that exist at the workplace. In this section, we will discuss a few more hazards that may not be as apparent.
Work Environment Hazards
Here are four ways that a work environment can impact the health and safety of a worker:
Overexertion: There is no debate that construction work requires workers to put a significant amount of strain on their bodies. Injuries involving frequent lifting, pushing, or carrying heavy objects are the most costly types of injuries in construction. A serious strain or muscle injury can result in weeks, if not months, to recover and may require medical treatment.
These types of recurring injuries can be mitigated by providing workers with breaks, placing materials near workstations and training workers on proper lifting techniques.
Repetition: Similarly, repetition of a particular motion can result in strain on certain vulnerable areas of the body. For example, if a worker is required to bend over frequently for their work tasks, this repetitive and awkward body motion could result in a strained back. Worksites can reduce bending over injuries by placing materials at a higher elevation than the ground and by utilizing equipment like forklifts for heavy objects.
Adverse Weather: Extreme temperatures can significantly impact the health and wellness of a jobsite. Whether it’s a high exposure to sunlight or extreme cold that results in hypothermia, in extreme weather conditions, workers need to be provided with additional considerations. For humid climates, construction sites should have water stations and provide break times in shaded areas of the jobsite. In frigid cold conditions, workers need to also remain hydrated and wear several layers of clothing.
Noise: Perhaps the most overlooked hazard in the construction workplace is the loud noise produced during equipment operation. Extremely loud noise on a long-term basis can cause several serious hearing problems. Of course, loud noises can also lead to a worker being unaware of their surroundings. Although it’s challenging to reduce noise on the jobsite, all workers located near loud machinery should have personal protective equipment (PPE) that helps reduce noise.
For more information on common workplace hazards, please read part five.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.