The construction industry continues to report the highest injury and time-loss rates across Manitoba.
When working in a high-risk industry, obvious hazards that accompany the job are often the most talked about. You’re trained to operate heavy equipment safely, protect yourself against hazardous materials and careful to avoid slips, trips and falls, but the reality is that hazards come in all shapes and sizes on a construction site.
The list below should help you keep an eye out for emerging hazards that may have been overlooked in the past. Keep these in mind to ensure you’re working safely in all capacities.
Shift Work or Extended Work Days
Working for more than 12 hours at a time can put you at risk in ways that are less obvious than others. Fatigue can set in and impair both your judgement your reaction time, which puts you and the team you’re working with at risk of injuries.
Repetitive Manual Tasks and Working in Awkward Positions
When you spend the bulk of your workday fitting into cramped spaces and awkward positions, your body feels the effects. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs) target your muscles, tendons and nerves which can result in problems like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis. When WMSDs first occur, you’ll notice pain, joint stiffness, muscle tightness, redness and swelling of the injured area.
Working alone doesn’t always mean that there’s no one else on the job site with you – it also applies to employees working for an extended time without direct contact with coworkers. For example, a construction worker who is doing a job in a location that can’t be seen by other coworkers may be considered a “lone” worker. A check-in system is an important procedure to ensure that lone workers are safe and accounted for and have the support they need on the job.
To learn more about hazards on construction sites, see the Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety’s Fact Sheets for construction workers.