Recognizing Health Hazards

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Construction work involves equipment and materials that present a variety of risks. In order to prevent illness and injury, it is important for workers to be able to recognize the signs of potential danger.

Chemical Hazards

You should first know the visual signs that something is wrong. Airborne dust or vapor in the air may be an exposure issue. Be mindful that some dangerous gases cannot be seen. Dust from chemicals that have settled on surfaces could also become airborne again.

Also, note any unusual odors or tastes. If you smell or taste a chemical, you are inhaling it. Some chemicals can be inhaled at levels that are not harmful, depending on their odor threshold. If you work in construction, educate yourself on the chemicals you are working with and the odor threshold of each. Never purposefully taste a potentially hazardous chemical. If a chemical accidentally gets in your mouth, report it to your supervisor immediately.

Audio Hazards

When working at the construction site, wear appropriate gear to protect your ears - extremely loud noises can permanently damage hearing. These noises can come from hand tools, power tools,  other equipment, and blasting.

Listen to Your Body

Pay attention to your body and the way you feel. If you are having trouble breathing or have something in your airway that doesn't go away, it could be a sign that you have inhaled chemicals. When chemicals are breathed in, they can enter other parts of the body through the bloodstream, which can cause nausea, dizziness, fatigue, or headaches. Don't ignore these feelings; visit a doctor to look into the symptoms.

Safety Meeting Outline Resources

Knowledge of the materials and equipment you are working with at a construction site, as well as recognizing the signs of trouble, will help to minimize your risk of injury or illness on the job. If you are a supervisor and wish to learn more about construction safety practices, check out our inventory of educational products HERE.

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