Construction is one of the most dangerous careers that you can pursue because injuries and death are a common occurrence.
For reference, 187 workers died in falls during the last 10 years in the state of New York alone. While this figure may seem relatively small, it only grows when you include construction fatalities from other states and other types of accidents.
Several factors make construction inherently dangerous. The job is physically demanding and involves hazardous conditions that can quickly spell disaster if safety isn’t prioritized.
If you’re considering a career in the construction field, then you should be fully aware of the risks you will be facing. We’ll cover these below so that you can determine if this is a job you want to pursue.
The biggest risk posed to construction workers is falling, specifically from heights.
There are many scenarios in which heights are involved with construction. If you’re building a house, then you might need to stand on the roof. Alternatively, you might need a ladder to reach a higher level.
In either situation, falling from this height can be devastating. It isn’t likely to kill you, but it will cause a serious injury that can prevent you from working.
What makes falling deadly is when tall heights are involved. Imagine buildings that are greater than 30 feet tall. If you were to fall from this height, then death is almost inevitable.
A great example here is someone working as a crane operator. These construction workers must climb dozens of feet to reach the cabin. If they aren’t careful or if the ladder is slippery, they can easily fall to their death.
Many people have a fear of heights and for great reason. Construction workers often need to deal with them, which can make this fear incredibly dangerous should it cause them to hesitate and make a mistake.
Another danger involves working with heavy objects.
One thing that is excellent about construction is that it allows humans to create massive structures. However, this often requires the use of large and heavy materials that pose a hazard to anyone nearby.
Anytime there are heavy objects involved, whether it is wooden planks, steel rods, or anything that weighs more than an average worker, there is a potential for getting crushed.
This danger only increases when these objects are lifted off the ground, which will make them more impactful should they fall from a height.
Beyond crushing hazards, heavy objects can also cause physical strain to workers that carry them. If improper lifting technique is used or if they do too much, this can cause long-term injury to their body. Construction work is extremely taxing and lifting is a major contributor to this.
One hazard that is often overlooked is exposure to toxic materials.
There are three main ways a construction worker can be exposed to dangerous compounds. This includes working with materials, demolition, and concrete work.
Many building materials are safe, but some are dangerous, especially if frequently interacted with. Some materials may include traces of arsenic, lead, or other solvents that are harmful to humans.
Demolition work is also risky because the building being demolished may have old materials in them that are hazardous. Asbestos is the biggest risk here, but formaldehyde and PCBs can also be present.
Concrete or other types of masonry are particularly problematic because they involve silica dust. If there is prolonged exposure, it can cause fatal lung disease.
It can be difficult to know if you’re working with hazardous chemicals or materials and it’s largely out of your hands. The best way of avoiding this is by working for a reputable construction company that doesn’t deal with dangerous materials.
Equipment and Machinery
The last construction danger is working with equipment and machinery.
Many projects require the use of powerful equipment and machinery, which can cause serious injury should there be a malfunction or misuse.
For example, imagine a construction site using an excavator. This machine is fantastic for digging holes and carrying heavy objects.
However, this machine is extremely powerful and will cause injury or death if there is an accident. If the operator doesn’t notice someone walking nearby, they might run them over or hit them with the claw.
When used properly, machinery like this is safe and useful. Unfortunately, user error creates a dangerous situation and you can’t always trust another worker to look out for your safety!
Construction is a necessary field for developing buildings, but it comes at the cost of being naturally dangerous. The job is physically demanding and there is always a chance of getting injured or worse.
The four biggest risks posed to construction workers include falling from heights, working with heavy objects, exposure to toxic materials, and equipment/machinery accidents.
Proper safety procedures are critical to preventing accidents, but sometimes safety equipment fails and human error is always a risk. If you want to work in construction, consider the dangers and prioritize your safety when you’re on the job.