The Biggest Health Hazards in Construction

July 15, 2021
Health Hazards

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated that at least 60, 000 fatal accidents happen annually on construction sites all over the world, with one fatal accident taking place every 10 minutes.

Below are some of the biggest health and safety risks in the construction industry:

Hand arm vibration syndrome

Hand Arm Vibration (HAV) is a disease that weakens the joints, bones, muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. It is a result of the prolonged use of hand-held power tools and ground working machinery such as drills, chainsaws, grinders, riveters, jack-hammers, and impact wrenches.

HAV can disrupt circulation in the hand and damage the nerves causing numbness and tingling. Over time, HAV can result in carpal tunnel syndrome and whitening of the fingers in cold temperatures. Additionally, simultaneous exposure to both HAV and noise can increase the risk of hearing loss and musculoskeletal issues.


Construction sites are a noisy workplace.  Frequent exposure to hazardous noise levels can lead to deafness and other hearing problems.

Unfortunately, builders are not always aware of the health risks associated with noise. There are also cases when workers are given the wrong hearing protectors which can cause additional issues.

Materials handling

Manual materials handling includes tasks that involve carrying, holding, lifting, lowering, pulling, and pushing heavy loads. These activities can lead to a range of injury types such as punctures, bruises, and soft tissue damage.

Soft tissue injuries can cause pain in the arms, neck, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, legs, and lower back and gradually worsen over time. The injured person may experience anything ranging from mild to moderate discomfort to intense pain. It’s also possible for soft tissue injury to result in permanent disability. Recovery can take months to years, disrupting your ability to work and accomplish your daily activities.

Slips, trips, and falls

Construction sites often have tools, materials, cables, and debris lying around over that workers could trip or slip and suffer bruises, fractures, and broken bones. Similarly, the presence of uneven surfaces, improper scaffolding, and unprotected edges can result in falls and loss of life.

These accidents can be prevented by designating safe walkways and keeping work and storage areas tidy and well-lit at all times. Wet and slippery floors should be signposted, and the use of proper footwear should be mandatory. Risks must be reported immediately to lower the chances of injury.

Injury and illness insurance

Because of the high-risk nature of the job, insurance should be a high priority for all construction workers. It can offset loss of income, pay for your medical bills and protect your family’s financial future in case anything happens to you on the job site.

The Builders Team at IMAR Insurance would be pleased to match you with policies that meet your needs and goals. Call us on 13 IMAR (13 46 27) to get a free quote today or head to

To the extent that any material on this page may be considered advice, it does not take into account your objectives, needs or financial situation. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and review any relevant Product Disclosure Statement and policy wording before taking out an insurance policy.

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