While it may not be as lucrative as some other careers out there, working in construction can certainly be fulfilling. Unlike some white-collar people, you get to keep fit and active simply by working five days a week, and you’re in the one profession that allows you to walk or drive past a beautiful building, point at it, and say “I helped build that”. While there are certainly upsides to working construction, there’s one big downside: the toll it takes on your health. Here are some of the biggest construction health hazards you need to be aware of.

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First of all, the sheer noise you’re exposed to in the course of your work. When people think about the dangers of construction sites, this isn’t usually the first thing that pops into their head. However, it’s still a very prominent health hazard which everyone in construction should be aware of. When you’re constantly exposed to the high noise levels from heavy equipment, you seriously increase the risk of tinnitus and hearing loss. However, it may take several years for the more serious symptoms to really become apparent. Your employer, as I’m sure you know, has a legal responsibility to make sure you’re protected from hazards like these. However, employers aren’t always that great at keeping these responsibilities. Be sure to choose your ear protectors carefully if you have the choice, and check their condition often.

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Probably the most serious health hazard that construction workers, and dozens of other people are exposed to, is asbestos. Asbestos-related poisoning and diseases are responsible for more deaths than any other work-related cause. This kind of danger usually arises when the fibers of the substance become airborne, and remain suspended in the air. When inhaled, it can cause severe damage to the lungs, and even develop into fatal conditions like cancer. More and more people who once worked in construction and various other industries are finding cause to seek out a mesothelioma lawyer. One of the factors which makes asbestos so dangerous is that it can be very difficult to detect. If your firm is taking a job on a visibly old building, and you’ve got nothing to prove that it’s free of asbestos, then it’s better to assume that it is, and wear all the necessary protective equipment.

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The final health risk you need to be aware of is musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs. This is a very broad category, and covers pretty much any kind of injury, disorder or damage which affects the joints, or other tissues in the limbs or back. In construction, the main cause of these issues is regular lifting, carrying or handling heavy objects. Work which requires repetitive motions, such as rebar tying or plastering, can also be a major cause of musculoskeletal disorders. Obviously, these kind of hazardous manual handling tasks aren’t avoidable if the project is to be completed on time! However, it’s still a good idea to keep revising good handling techniques, and making sure you’re not putting any unnecessary strain on your body through your work.