Construction industry working group publishes advice on assessing risks to health

Occupational injury lawyer Harminder Bains has welcomed recent advice published by a construction industry group to encourage better management of occupational health risks.

Every month hundreds of people working in the construction industry die of occupational diseases caused by, or made worse by their work. During a recent Health and Safety Executive construction inspection programme inspectors issued more than 200 health related enforcement notices.

The HSE is urging the construction industry to adopt the advice offered in the new guide, ‘Occupational health risk management in construction’ written by the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (ConIAC) Health Risks Working Group and formatted with the assistance of the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).

The guide gives practical advice on the definition of ‘health risk’ in the construction industry, and the role of occupational health service provision in preventing or controlling those risks.

Construction companies are already obliged to protect their workforce from risks such as exposure to asbestos, dust and chemicals; exposure to loud noise, the excessive use of vibrating tools; excessive manual handling of loads; and stress and fatigue.

The assessment of risk is also something that construction employers have to carry out on a regular basis, and the guide offers advice on how to assess risk, and introduce occupational health risk management programmes, including with the involvement of employees.

Occupational industry lawyer Harminder Bains said:

“The construction industry is one of the most hazardous sectors to work in, with 100 people a week dying from construction-related ill health, including those who have contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos.

“Workplace illness is preventable. All employers in the construction industry should take action to ensure that their workers are protected from the key risks associated with the industry, and move quickly to introduce effective occupational risk management programmes.”