Construction Safety Week – Wednesday 21st October

GMC News

Wednesday 21st October – Occupational Health in Construction

Every year more working days are lost due to work-related illness compared to injuries. Statistics reveal that construction workers have a high risk of developing diseases from a number of health issues.

  • Cancer – construction has the largest burden of occupational cancer amongst the industrial sectors. It accounts for over 40% of occupational cancer deaths and cancer registrations. It is estimated that past exposures in the construction sector annually cause over 5,000 occupational cancer cases and approximately 3,700 deaths. The most significant cause of these cancers is asbestos (70%) followed by silica (17%) working as a painter and diesel engine exhaust (6-7% each).
  • Hazardous substances – dusts, chemicals and potentially harmful mixtures (e.g. in paints) are common in construction work. Some processes emit dusts, fumes, vapours or gases into the air and these can be significant causes of breathing problems and lung diseases. A number of construction-related occupations also have high rates of dermatitis from skin exposures to hazardous substances.
  • Physical health risks – skilled construction and building trades are one of the occupations with the highest estimated prevalence of back injuries and upper limb disorders. Manual handling is the most commonly reported cause of over seven day injuries in the industry. Construction also has one of highest rates of ill health caused by noise and vibration.

The occupational health hazards in the construction industry can be broken down into 5 categories:

  • Asbestos-related diseases,
  • Silica-related diseases,
  • Noise-induced hearing loss,
  • Hand-arm vibration syndrome, musculoskeletal disorders
  • Dermatitis

Today, GMC will be delivering TBT’s on construction Occupational health risks encountered on site with a particular focus on Respirable Crystalline Silica and Covid 19 controls across all sites.

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