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Top Risks in The Construction Industry : Awareness

By Kerrana McAvoy : A how to tutorial about construction industry, risks and hazards, advanced construction, Other with step by step guide from Kerrana McAvoy .

The construction industry is one where many people choose to work and make their living. However, there are many risks and safety issues which have to be addressed in an industry like this. This article summarises some of the main risks and briefly outlines how to assess these risks.

Potential to cause harm

Hazards are defined as the potential to cause harm. In practice, they can be expressed in a number of ways.

Perhaps the most general approach is to consider hazards such as Physical, Chemical, Electrical, Biological and then look at each work section to see if any of these apply. This is not the usual approach where a more direct description related to actual work on site might be used.

A more direct way to think about hazards is to look for conditions that might occur, similar to the way in which statistics are collected. In terms of deaths in the industry the three most significant hazards identified in this way are:

• falling from heights
• being trapped by something collapsing or overturning
• being struck by a vehicle

These represent hazards which cause immediate injury, what we would normally call accidents. There are others hazards with the potential to cause long-term harm that must also be identified. These include:

• electrocution
• being struck by falling object
• contact with machinery
• exposure to hot substances
• lifting heavy objects
slipping or tripping at same level
• fire or explosion
• drowning
• asphyxiation
• contact with harmful substances
• contact with dust
• contact with solvent fumes
• exposure to noise
• vibration from handheld tools

Working at height:

When working at height all duty holders need to:
- Identify jobs that involve work at height and ensure that appropriate precautions are in place.
- Have a risk assessment in place that applies the hierarchy of control.
- Avoid working at height if possible
- Use an existing safe place of work
- Provide work equipment to prevent falls
- Mitigate distance and consequences of a fall
- Instruction and training and/or other means
- Have procedures for the selection of correct equipment and ensure that the selected equipment is actually used.
- Communicate risk control measures to the workforce.
- Ensure workers are competent to use the equipment that has been correctly installed/assembled.
- Arrange inspection and maintenance of equipment as appropriate.
For the above, collective protective measures, such as scaffolding, must be prioritised over personal protection (such as using a fall arrest harness).

The HSE publish a useful leaflet that outlines the five steps that should be followed in risk assessment.

Why employers keep safety records of accidents

There are a number of reasons for keeping health and safety records:

• The records are documents required by legislation.
• The operation/process may be used again and records are needed to ensure safety.
• They may be evidence in case of litigation or prosecution.
• To demonstrate the company’s history of safety management.
• To identify long-term trends.
• To plan maintenance.
• To identify training needs.

Everyone in an organisation has a responsibility to be safety aware and to be proactive in ensuring the safety of both themselves and others. Reporting perceived problems should be regarded as a priority by every employee.

This article has been put together by the distance learning organisation Start Learning who are experts in home study.
If you want to find out more about Advanced Construction or many other distance learning courses please browse their website: Start Learning

Kerrana McAvoy
Academic Director – Start Learning

Start Learning

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