Construction labor is physically demanding work, not to mention that the risk of fatal accidents is double in this industry than in other work sectors, while minor accidents are substantially more. And yet, overall employment is estimated to go up by 7% between 2020 and 2030.
Perhaps the mean hourly wage of $20 and upwards is enticing to skilled blue-collar workers. 99% of the construction workforce is made up of male laborers.
Accidents, both serious and minor, happen almost on a daily basis in construction work. There are various health and safety hazards in manual labor in these work environments. Learn about the different health risks and what men can do to avoid accidents and counter health hazards in the workplace.
Health and Safety Risks for Men in Construction
Working at High Levels
Building construction and demolition work usually entail working in tall heights. Dizziness, anxiety, or worse, falls are the main risks of working at high levels with, typically, restricted or limited mobility from all the equipment, or debris strewn about.
Construction sites are hectic environments, crammed with moving equipment, vehicles, and workers. Maneuvering around these on usually uneven terrain poses various risks for injuries from trips, slips, or falls.
Excessive and repetitive noise can damage hearing, aside from adding precarious distractions, increasing the risk for work accidents.
Heavy Lifting and Machine Handling
All the muscle exertion in lifting heavy objects, whether manually or through the operation of heavy machinery, may cause bodily injury. There is also a risk for vibration syndrome known as Raynaud’s Phenomenon or white finger syndrome where neural and circulatory problems affect the fingers, causing pain, numbness, or discoloration.
Demolition work, as well as unsound partially-finished structures, pose more risks for collapses, causing sometimes fatal accidents among site workers.
There are at least 3 construction-related electrocutions that happen annually, on average. The risks increase when construction work is done in proximity to power lines and when unqualified staff undertakes electrical tasks.
Asbestos in buildings is typically harmless if left in their hidden, undisturbed states. Prolonged exposure to asbestos may cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and other asbestos-related disorders.
Airborne Fibers and Particles
In construction sites, plenty of airborne unseen particles can be toxic, especially in high concentrations. This is why respiratory diseases such as COPD, asthma, or silicosis are common among construction laborers.
Health Tips for Men in Construction
Safety Training and Precautions
Never miss safety training provided by the company you work for and always adhere to precautionary procedures. Use appropriate PPE and other gear (such as earplugs, masks, goggles, etc.). If any machinery or equipment at work is malfunctioning, be quick to report it to management. Faulty, poorly-maintained equipment contributes to work hazards.
Watch Your Weight
Working in construction with excessive body weight adds pressure to your joints, leading to more rapid wear and tear. Also, carrying extra body weight, apart from all the actual heavy lifting you may be doing, increases your heart rate significantly, thus making you more prone to cardiovascular issues.
Snacking is important in sustaining you through a day of heavy labor, but avoid snacking on junk food and food rich in sugar. Though they may provide a boost to the energy, this is temporary and will leave you with higher feelings of exhaustion after digestion. Pack some fruits, nuts, or both for in-between meals. Add plenty of whole grain carbohydrates and unprocessed protein (such as chicken, fish, soybeans, etc.) for more lasting, healthy energy.
Never forget to drink water — and plenty of it. You may mix in vitamin extracts or electrolytes now and then. Electrolytes help keep you stay alert while also restoring energy.
See Your Doctor
Do not let even minor pains or injuries go unchecked, especially those that affect key body parts such as the back, neck, hip, and knees. Do not just wait for minor injuries to heal on their own. Allow a professional medical practitioner to decide which injuries are minor and which need further treatment.
Form Better Sleep Habits
For adult males, in general, 7-8 hours of sleep each night is considered healthy. Men working in construction might need to go to bed earlier for at least an extra hour of sleep. Sleep deprivation causes problems in concentration, alertness, and exhaustion. These conditions have no place in construction sites as they may cause injury to the self or to others.
The hazards linked to construction labor are known to everybody. Many business managers prioritize OSHA compliance and practice their duties to their employees, clients, and to the public with diligence. You as their employee, who probably climb to precarious heights, operate backhoes or heavy-duty mini excavators periodically, lift heavy metal, etc. also need to do your part. Eat, sleep, hydrate, and seek regular medical checks, not just for your own safety, but for everyone else’s, too.