Working on a construction site is risky on numerous levels. There is always the possibility of a fall when using ladders, being hit by construction equipment, or injury due to misuse of tools or machinery.
However, one risk that is not always so obvious is exposure to hazardous materials, some form of which are found on almost all construction sites.
Depending on the type of hazardous material, the consequences of such exposure may not show up for a considerable length of time, even decades, such as if it involves asbestos fiber inhalation and the development of the cancer known as mesothelioma.
The Most Common Hazardous Materials on Construction Sites
While the types of hazardous materials found on a site vary according to the individual property, construction workers often find themselves exposed to these common, potentially devastating items:
Construction Worker Protection
Under federal and state laws, employers have a duty to protect their workers from exposure to hazardous materials. This includes providing employees with personal protective equipment (PPE) to help them avoid these hazards. Common personal protective equipment on the job includes gloves, goggles, face masks, helmets, and respirators.
Workers must also receive instruction in the best practices for dealing with potentially hazardous materials, such as dust control via constant vacuuming and maintaining a fresh air flow. Employers who fail to provide protective equipment and education on dealing with hazardous materials on the job are violating federal and state laws.
Workers should also ask questions if they suspect they are dealing with potentially hazardous materials, but have not received specific information on how to deal with these items.