Two ways to keep labourers safe during a construction project

It is important for those who manage construction projects to take certain steps to keep their labourers safe. Here are two such steps.

Be extremely careful when working with concrete

Virtually all construction projects involve the use of concrete. This material is used to create the foundations of buildings, as well as to build walls.

Concrete itself and the equipment that is used to cut and polish it can be quite dangerous. For example, the process of concrete grinding (where a concrete floor or foundation is abraded and polished by a piece of equipment called a concrete grinder) can result in silica dust within the concrete being thrown into the air. When these dust particles are inhaled, they can increase a person's risk of lung cancer and other serious respiratory diseases.

Whilst putting on respiratory masks before they begin to operate concrete grinders can help workers to avoid inhaling this dust, this type of safety gear may not be enough to keep them completely safe.

The reason for this is as follows; some of the airborne silica released by the concrete grinder is likely to settle on their hands, forearms and face. If they fail to thoroughly rinse off this dust before they eat their lunch or take a cigarette break, they may accidentally transfer some of the dust from their hands to their mouths. This could lead to them inhaling some of the silica particles.

One way that construction managers can minimise the risk of this happening is to set up accessible washing facilities, where workers can easily wash any concrete dust off their skin before they begin to eat, drink or smoke cigarettes.

Discourage the use of ladders

When work needs to be carried out at a height, it is best for workers to avoid using ladders and to instead use either scaffolding or a boom lift.

There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, a labourer who is carrying out physical tasks at a height whilst perched on the rung of a ladder is far more likely to fall to the ground and hurt themselves. The ladder could, for example, be pushed over by a strong gust of wind, or the labourer could accidentally stumble and lose their footing.

This types of incidents are unlikely to occur if labourers use scaffolding or boom lifts, as both of these forms of access equipment are far more stable than the average ladder.

Secondly, when a person is holding a heavy or sharp tool in one hand when standing on a ladder, whilst simultaneously trying to retain their grip on a rung with their other hand, there is a very good chance that they could accidentally drop that tool onto the head of someone standing on the ground nearby. This could leave that person with a serious injury.