Construction work is classed as a high-risk occupation, especially due to the harmful materials on building sites. There are good reasons for this. To begin with, accidents at work on construction sites are not only fairly common, but can also cause potentially life-changing or fatal injuries.
A simple work accident like a slip or trip, for instance, could result in a fall from height that could leave a worker paralysed or even kill him. The presence of many harmful materials on building sites also substantially increases construction workers’ risk of developing occupational diseases.
Harmful materials on building sites
Some of the harmful materials on building sites and the diseases they could cause include, for example:
- Construction dust, which can cause asthma, lung cancer or silicosis; COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and other potentially serious lung diseases
- Asbestos, which could cause asbestosis, mesothelioma, pleural thickening and lung cancer
- Cement and cement-based products like mortar or concrete, which can cause burns, dermatitis and other serious skin conditions
- Lead, which can cause anything from minor fatigue and headaches to severe abdominal cramps and vomiting; nerve degeneration and alteration to brain structures, convulsions, seizures and delirium, coma and death
- Solvents in paints, resins, glues and/or thinners, which can cause an array of short-, as well as long-term health issues
- Isocyanates in coatings, foams, glues or paints can cause breathing problems, including asthma, as well as dermatitis
- Carbon monoxide produced by gas or petrol-powered appliances or engines can kill
Harmful materials on building sites also include harmful micro-organisms like fungi, viruses and bacteria, which can cause a wide range of different and potentially serious or even fatal diseases at work.
Construction industry employers have a legal duty to prevent building site accidents and protect workers against harmful substances on building sites by assessing all potential risks and taking the necessary precautions to prevent work injuries and industrial illnesses.
Such precautions include:
- Making workers aware of potential risks
- Providing training in good, safe working practices
- Providing suitable personal protective equipment
- Providing training in the use of such equipment
- Enforcing use of protective equipment
If these precautions were not taken and you were injured at work or developed a work-related condition as a result, you could be entitled to industrial injury compensation.
Call us, Accident Advice Helpline, from your mobile on number 0333 500 0993, or from a landline telephone on 0800 689 0500 to learn more about when and how to make a work injury claim. Calls to both of these numbers are obligation-free and any information you provide will be kept confidential.
Date Published: August 1, 2016
Author: Accident Advice