Construction sites are some of the most dangerous places to work hence the need for bodily injury coverage for contractors. In 2018, for instance, out of 5,250 fatal occupational injuries in the US private industry, 1,008 were in construction. That is to say, one in five worker deaths were construction-related.
The most common causes of construction site injuries include:
- Falls, especially to lower levels
- Electrocution due to direct contact with power lines and energized sources like faulty equipment and exposed wires
- Being struck by objects or equipment
- Collapsing structures
As a contractor, third party coverage and Workers Compensation can protect you against claims of property damage and bodily injury. Now, aside from occupational injuries, you and your employees are also at risk of suffering ill health.
5 Health Risks Associated With Construction
The construction industry in the US has over 680,000 employers and more than 7 million employees. Some of the health dangers you face include:
1. Respiratory diseases
There are numerous hazardous substances in construction sites. These include asbestos, wood dust, fiberglass, copper fumes, silica, et cetera. Prolonged exposure to such toxic substances could considerably damage your crews’ lungs, leading to respiratory diseases such as silicosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asbestosis, asthma, and lung cancer. Damage to your lungs leaves you vulnerable to viruses like CORVID-19 (coronavirus).
2. Skin disorders
Handling concrete, cement, and other dangerous materials can cause contact dermatitis on your hands and other exposed areas. Depending on the severity of the condition, symptoms can include rashes, redness, itching, swelling, irritation, scaling, cracking, blistering, and pain. Severe symptoms may necessitate early retirement for your workers.
3. Hearing loss
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), occupational hearing loss is the most common US work-related illness. Long term exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Moreover, noise can hinder workers from hearing warning signals such as alarms, car horns, and sirens hence endangering them.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) set 85 decibels (dBA) as the recommended occupational exposure limit. However, the equipment regularly used in construction sites exceeds NIOSH’s limit. A hammer drill, for instance, reaches 120 dBA. Bodily injury coverage for contractors can protect you against claims of hearing loss by your workers.
4. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs)
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders in construction are higher than in other industries in the US. MSDs are injuries that affect the musculoskeletal system, which includes muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments, nerves, tendons, et cetera. Such injuries are most likely to affect the neck, shoulders, back, and legs. Severe cases can result in permanent disability. Having bodily injury coverage for contractors can protect you from being sued.
A contractor’s job is generally stressful. Ensuring construction is complete on time, being responsible for the safety of others, among other duties, would put anyone under a lot of pressure. Additionally, your workers can get stressed about working long hours, job insecurity, tight deadlines, et cetera, affecting their productivity.
Note: Utilizing technology, speaking up, and having bodily injury coverage for contractors, and third party coverage can help lessen stress.
How can you protect your company?
As a contractor, you should be aware of the health hazards in construction, such as stress, hearing loss, and respiratory diseases, and how to prevent them. Having the right insurance can protect you against bodily injury and illness claims. For customized bodily injury coverage for contractors, call Contractors Liability at 888-676-0923