Dust, heat, material handling, noise top construction crew health hazards

Source: American Industrial Hygiene Association, Falls Church, Va.

A guidance booklet from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Construction Committee highlights the significant impact that air contaminants, high temperatures, manual material handling and noise have on workers and their employers, along with practical steps that can be taken to control exposure. 

“Focus Four for Health: An Initiative to Address Four Major Construction Health Hazards,” addresses important problem, AIHA contends: Construction workers are exposed to significant health hazards, but awareness about occupational health hazards lags behind that for workplace safety—resulting in less attention to construction employer environment, health and safety programs. This is partly because illnesses and disorders from many types of health hazards develop slowly, making them harder for employers and employees to recognize compared with injuries.

“Unfortunately, health hazards are common in construction. When health problems occur, they can cut careers short, cause pain and disability, and even cause premature death,” says Focus Four for Health Team Leader Matt Gillen. “This new publication provides a one-stop, easy-to-use booklet to get employers started on the road to better on-the-job health. We want to stimulate new activities and partnerships among construction and safety and health professionals to better control health hazards. Ultimately, that will be good for the U.S. and Canadian construction workers and employers who build our homes, roads, bridges and buildings.” 

Posted here, the new AIHA publication provides a health companion piece to go with the construction industry’s long-running Focus Four program that targets the top four fatal injury hazards. It employs similar and familiar strategies, such as pre-job planning and job safety analyses, to guide employers to successfully address the four health hazards.