Over time, almost all industries have embraced cutting-edge technology and leaped towards transformation. The same stands true for the construction sector. For example, contrary to the past, contemporary construction workers do not have to indulge in painstaking tasks manually.
Numerous pieces of equipment take a lot of burden off their shoulders. Similarly, contractors have the latest software at their disposal, which helps them manage and supervise everything seamlessly.
However, even the technological revolution has not made construction sites 100 percent safe and sound. Workers are still vulnerable to a variety of threats. To give you a better aerial view, we are listing the top construction site hazards below:
Table of Contents
1) Asbestos exposure
Asbestos is a group of six naturally occurring fibrous minerals used in insulation and other construction materials. Asbestos fibers can threaten workers’ health since the mineral is a known carcinogen. As a result, its use is strictly prohibited in most countries today.
But since a vast majority of old houses comprise asbestos, more than 1,000,000 construction workers are exposed to this material every year during maintenance, remodeling, or demolition.
Unknowingly, workers also put family members at risk by exposing them to the asbestos fibers they bring home on their clothes or bodies. The material is so dangerous that even a tiny amount of asbestos can cause serious health problems. This includes the possibility of developing asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
What is worse? The effects of asbestos exposure may not manifest for as long as 10 to 50 years. Shortness of breath, weight loss, chronic cough, and nausea are some possible symptoms.
The best way to save your workers from subscribing to these issues is to count on asbestos removal experts who have the experience and expertise to deal with this material.
Construction sites are at risk from fire because their operations typically involve heat, combustible materials, and open flames.
According to a study, a fire was the leading cause of property loss in 2019. Fire-related incidents amounted to the property loss of a whopping 425,166 dollars, with the most severe claims costing more than 2,000,000 dollars to contractors.
The leading causes ranged from the negligence of builders to workers recklessly smoking on construction sites. As a contractor, you need to take steps such as introducing no-smoking policies and optimal waste and debris removal procedures to keep this problem at bay.
3) Slips and falls
Typical slip and fall accidents lead to twisted ankles, knee strains, and back injuries. They also account for severe muscle issues, depending on how a specific worker falls. With that said, preventing slip and fall accidents does not have to be too difficult. You can do away with this hazard by frequently inspecting the following hot spots:
- Walkways: Regular assessment of walkways is essential to spot ruts, slippery conditions, and any other uneven ground on the site. You should also identify any holes or trenches with clearly visible signs. To prevent anyone from falling into them, cover them with caution tape.
- Floors: Floors should be kept free from oil, grease, and water. To make concrete or tile floors non-slippery, you can have them etched. Consider applying skid-resistant material to improve traction on smooth flooring.
- Steps and stairwells: Steps and stairwells should have good lighting and strong railings on both sides. The steps should be of the same height and depth as the rest of the staircase, with clearly visible edges. Besides, they should be free from grease, ice, and snow, as well as boxes and any other obstructions that could lead to slips and trips.
4) Cyber threats
As time goes by, the construction industry is becoming more and more vulnerable to cyber threats thanks to digital tools and advanced technologies.
Statistically speaking, nearly one in six construction companies has reported that they were subject to a ransomware attack in 2020. While some firms were the targets of high-profile cyber-attacks, others paid ransoms privately.
Cybercriminals can steal intellectual property and large amounts of data, leading to financial losses big time. Not to mention, reputational damage.
Construction companies need to take several steps to combat cybercrime. These steps include updating their software frequently, backing up data off-site and in a cloud-based storage system, and teaching employees how to recognize cyber threats promptly.
Companies lose significant amounts of money each year because of theft on their construction sites. Owing to the nature of work, it could take several days, weeks, and months to complete a construction project. This leads to tools and equipment being left behind on the job site.
Because equipment on construction sites is left unsupervised after each person leaves, it becomes very easy for burglars or even bad workers to steal away expensive items.
These incidents make up for the loss of 1 billion dollars every year. The data also shows that less than 20 percent of the stolen items were recovered, making it a severe problem for companies in the industry.
Resultantly, it slows down the work progress as site managers and contractors must arrange new equipment. Here are the most frequently stolen objects at construction sites:
- Tools: Employees are the most likely to steal tools and small-scale building supplies. Although a single tool might not cause a significant financial loss, the cumulative effects of employee theft can substantially impact the business and could even lead to bankruptcy. Management should build a strong relationship with their employees and be present on the job site to reduce employee theft.
- Appliances: Stoves and microwaves are stolen from residential construction sites during construction booms. Although property owners want potential buyers to have easy access to the area, this also makes it more attractive to thieves.
- Lumber: Wood is costly, so thieves are more likely to steal it. Wood-theft is a widespread problem that contractors can avoid by deploying proper surveillance.
- Copper: Copper is currently priced at 4.50 dollars per kilogram. This could make it a lucrative target if there is no one around your job site. Thieves can steal the material and then resell it at a profit. Apart from copper, other metals are also costly. So be sure to monitor everything that involves any metal.
Construction is a demanding job for workers as well as contractors. Along the way, they have to face plenty of issues that minimize productivity and pave the way for delays. However, if you can chalk out proper measures to deal with the expected construction threats mentioned above, the work will continue swiftly.