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Green World Group | 30th Nov 2017

Put your mask on to be safe and healthy at construction sites

Apart from physical injuries, workers associated with construction activities are subjected to one of the most dangerous risks caused by

  • Inhaling dust
  • Silica
  • Asbestos
  • Fly ash or chemical solvents from paints.

When workers inhale dangerous gases or pollutants over a period of time, chances are more that many of them may get lung-related disorders which can be fatal if not treated early. However, with proper preventive systems and control measures, construction companies can prevent workers getting various heath disorders.

So, what are the kinds of air pollution that can affect workers and how can one prevent it?

Silica and asbestos are the most common pollutants which, when inhale over a period of time, can create irreversible lung disorders.

Some of the major diseases which are reported among construction workers exposed to dangerous gases and suspended pollutants in the air are :

Silicosis, caused by inhalation of dusts and Repairable Crystalline Silica (RCS)

Asbestosis, caused by long inhalation of asbestos, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD) and Asthma.

We need to create clean surroundings around construction sites. Or workers should choose different industry to remain safe.

But is it practical?

We need development all around and for that construction becomes imminent. Hence, apart from the usual slips, fall, cuts, or bruises, breathing unsafe air becomes the major health threat to construction workers across the world.

However, with technological advancements, increased awareness and following standard safety procedures, the negative effects of pollutants around construction sites can be controlled.

Workplace managers in construction industry should follow the hierarchy of control measures which are :

  • Elimination of the hazards
  • Substitution of risks
  • Using Engineering Controls
  • Administrative Controls and
  • wearing Personal Protective Equipment’s (PPE) such as dust masks and breath enhancers.

People working in certain occupational types are subjected to different health risks due to long term exposure to hazardous dusts and gases.

The high risk professions are :

  • Stone masonry and cutting
  • Demolition and construction
  • Ceramics and glass manufacturing
  • Painting works, road repairs
  • Re-carpeting of roads, quarrying
  • Sand blasting, mining and pottery.

Inhaling of Silica and Asbestos can affect the body’s immune system. Symptoms of Silicosis and Asbestosis can usually take few years to surface. Even one discontinues working in this type of environment, the symptoms, such as persistent cough, difficulty in breathing and weakness, may develop after a few years.

Control measures

There are several levels of control measures which can clean up the air around the working area of pollutants. Some of them are filters and industrial extractors. But using personal protective equipments will be the last resort to protect oneself from the dangerous air. From using simple paper dust masks, cartridge filter masks to full face air supply masks, workers can choose the appropriate protective gear to safeguard their health.

Also, by following safety and health measures and standards and also using the latest technology, one can keep the air around the construction sites below the danger level.

Having experienced and qualified HSE professionals or those having safety diploma in construction engineering can prove helpful in containing pollution and improving quality of life around construction sites.

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