Look After your Construction Workers Health and Time
4 April 2019
Do you have workers or are a worker yourself exposed to Chemicals, Silica Dust or Asbestos? It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure workers are protected and are informed of the best practices on how to work safely in a safe environment.
How to educate your employees
Doing a course is the easiest and most practical way to make sure your employees are educated. However taking a course can be expensive and time consuming for both the employer managing it and the employees taking the courses.
That is why many construction companies around Ireland have opted for Online Safety Training as a solution. Online training is a cost effective alternative to traditional class based learning. Courses can be taken with in a few hours of study time with 24/7 accessibility which your employees will prefer.
Below we have listed the most common health risks for workers in construction.
Construction Workers Health
What is Silica Dust and route of exposer?
Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica. Cristobalite and tridymite are two other forms of crystalline silica. All three forms may become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain crystalline silica. Inhalation is the primary route which can penetrate deep into the lung
The respirable fraction of the dust is invisibly fine and the OELV for Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) is 0.1mg/m3 averaged over 8 hours, as set down in the HSA Chemical Agents Code of Practice under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 2001. A risk assessment under these regulations is required where exposures to RCS can occur. The Safety, Health And Welfare At Work (General Application) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 S.I. No. 36 of 2016 contains a Prohibition on silica – Regulation 128 “An employer shall ensure that no sand or other substance containing free silica is introduced as an abrasive into any blasting apparatus. Source – HSA
Did you know that Silica Dust has been classified as a human lung carcinogen? Additionally, breathing Silica Dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. When Silica Dust is inhaled, it enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen which causes many issues including silicosis. Since silicosis affects lung function, it makes one more susceptible to lung infections like tuberculosis.
See Course overview here – Silica Dust Awareness
What is Asbestos and route of exposer?
Asbestos a mineral that exists naturally in a fibrous form, what makes it so dangerous is that it is resistant to heat, water, chemicals and electricity. There are many products that have asbestos in them including; fireproof coatings, concrete and cement, bricks, pipes, gaskets, insulation, drywall, flooring, roofing, joint compound, paints and sealants. Asbestos also exists in electrical appliances, plastics, rubber, mattresses, flowerpots, lawn furniture, hats and gloves. Working with asbestos products puts your health at risk.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Exposure to Asbestos) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 386 of 2006) , aim to protect the health and safety of all employees who may be exposed to dust from asbestos containing materials, during the course of their work activities. The regulations apply to all work activities and workplaces where there is a risk of people inhaling asbestos dust. Source – HSA
Asbestos is a Category 1 carcinogen and all six types can cause cancer. Blue and brown asbestos are known to be more dangerous than white asbestos. There is no cure for asbestos-related disease. Following exposure to asbestos, a person may develop one of the following three fatal diseases: Asbestosis: fibres penetrating deep into the lung causing scarring of the tissue. Asbestos-related lung cancer and Mesothelioma, a cancer of the cells that make up the lining around the outside of the lungs.
See Course overview here – Asbestos Awareness
Chemical safety in Construction
What is Chemical Safety in Construction and route of exposer?
Chemical safety is an important consideration on construction sites. There are also many hazards that may not be obvious, but they can still present a health hazard if they aren’t handled properly. Some of the most common chemicals that workers are exposed to include: Zinc, Cadmium, Beryllium and Mercury. There is a wide range of expose including, contact with the skin, inhalation and ingestion and injection.
Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The Code of Practice contains the following elements: – Schedule 1 to this Code of Practice stipulates the OELVs, which are currently legally binding under the Chemical Agent Regulations. – Schedule 2 to this Code of Practice provides a list of substances which are under review by the Health and Safety Authority. – Schedule 3 contains a Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Number index of all substances included in the Code of Practice. Source – HSA
As there are a vast amount of different types of chemicals used and each have their own health effects it’s not possible to list them however what we can say is that exposure, especially prolonged exposure is very dangerous to your health. Some chemicals may also have physical chemical hazards, e.g. flammable, explosive or have additional hazards if they are mixed or stored with incompatible chemicals. Chemicals can also have an adverse effect on the environment if they are used, stored or disposed of incorrectly.
See Course overview here – Chemical Safety