80,000 construction workers suffer from work-related ill health each year.

Tackling occupation health will not only make the industry safer and more efficient, but it will become a better place to work and attract the next generation of construction workers to improve the national skills gap issue.

Focus needs to improve around the common hazards and the risk of physical injury, but a higher understanding of the prevalence of mental ill-health across the construction industry needs to dramatically improve

Suicide kills more construction workers than falls.

Contributors to occupational ill-health include:

  • Exposure to harmful materials, including asbestos, lead, dusts containing silica, chemicals, sunlight, gases, and exhaust emissions. This can lead to skin problems, dermatitis, occupational asthma, occupational cancer, and lung disease, if they are not properly controlled.
  • Frequent loud noise. In time, this may contribute to noise induced hearing loss and tinnitus.
  • Excessive use of vibrating tools, which may lead to Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome and vibration white finger.
  • Frequent material and manual handling of heavy loads. This may give rise to musculoskeletal disorders and upper limb disorders, particularly if you adopt incorrect manual handling procedures.
  • Stress and fatigue. This can contribute to a range of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.
  • Lone working. This presents risks such as accidents not receiving urgent assistance if nobody is nearby and if communication methods are insufficient. It may also result in accidents arising from the inability to immediately ask someone for help.
  • Potential for falls from height, electric shocks, being struck by a moving vehicle, and working in a confined space. The dangers from these can range from a broken bone to death.
  • Inadequate working conditions, including insufficient lighting, uncomfortable temperatures, and long working hours. 

OCCUSAFE is a structured assessment aimed at reducing the impact of occupation health issues on everyone working on the project, from planning, design, construction and into maintenance. From reducing the stress levels for the design team, to ensuring we design out the risk of excessive manual handling during construction, to eliminating lone working of the maintenance team once the building is occupied.