Construction workers are the fastest-growing job group in the U.S. and are facing a new health crisis. These workers are at risk of a host of hazards, including electrocution, falls, and Occupational Mental Health (OMH) problems. To combat the risks, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is launching the COVID-19 program. Its aim is to improve occupational safety and health through training and information, while also providing incentives for workplace improvements. Here are some tips to keep workers safe in construction.
Falls are the leading cause of death and injury on construction sites. They occur when scaffolding and ladders fall and workers lose their footing. Injuries can be severe, resulting in permanent disability and even death.
Fall injuries can be prevented by using appropriate protective equipment, proper training, and safe work practices. Falls can be a serious and fatal hazard on any construction site, but they are especially common on construction sites where workers are working at heights.
Many factors influence FFH accidents, including the job task, the environment, the structure height, and the platforms/surfaces. Several studies have investigated these factors and how they affect FFH incidents.
Among the factors influencing FFH, individual characteristics of construction crews, age, health, knowledge, and fatigue are all important. Age is one of the strongest predictors of injury and disabling injury.
Older workers are more likely to suffer serious and fatal falls on a construction site. These injuries include neck and spine injuries.
Construction workers are at high risk for electrocutions. Electricity can damage internal organs, resulting in respiratory arrest, lack of cardiac rhythm, and more. Workers must be aware of the dangers and prevent them from causing fatal injuries.
Electrocutions can lead to serious burns, disfigurement, and even permanent cognitive impairment. In addition, they can cause TBI (traumatic brain injury).
Electrocutions are one of the leading causes of death for construction workers. These deaths are often caused by contact with overhead power lines. A simple brush against a bare wire on a power tool can cause a person to suffer a fatal electrical shock.
Electrical equipment in the construction industry carries between fifteen and twenty amperes of current. The amount of voltage needed to kill a person varies from case to case.
Contact with overhead power lines and other electrical hazards are common on construction sites. Contractors should educate workers about this danger and make sure they are safely working near overhead power lines.
Construction projects are still working hard to meet delivery dates. They are also facing new health and safety regulations. As well as COVID-19, there are other hazards to be aware of.
The chances of dying in construction are higher than in other industries. For instance, the chance of dying from COVID-19 is nearly four times higher for men than for women. It is difficult to know what causes this, but potentially harmful conditions may make a person more susceptible.
Fortunately, the construction industry is resilient. This is evident from the fact that most sites continued to work during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United Kingdom.
However, some sites appear to be more focused on COVID risk than on other aspects of safety. Some have even adapted to accommodate the COVID-19 guidance, introducing secondary hazards.
Having said that, the most effective way of mitigating the risks of COVID-19 is to integrate existing safety processes into the work process. By doing this, you can reduce the cost and complexity of implementing COVID-19.
Occupational mental health crisis
An occupational mental health crisis is growing in the construction industry. Increasing risks are jeopardizing the safety and productivity of workers. Workers are disproportionately at risk for substance abuse. This substance abuse can also interfere with medications used to treat mental illness. The Associated Builders and Contractors and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are partnering to combat the issue. These two organizations will provide education and resources for construction workers.
Construction project work can be stressful and mentally isolating. Long hours are often spent away from family and home, requiring travel to job sites in different towns. Heavy lifting and unstable structures can be hazardous. Additionally, workers are exposed to the threat of unpredictable environmental conditions.
The CDC reports that construction workers are more likely to be victims of alcohol and drug abuse than all other occupations. Nearly half of all suicides are linked to alcohol, while 3.2 percent of those who die from a suicide are abusing prescription opioids. Non-medical marijuana use is also high among construction workers.