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Respiratory risk factors within the construction industry

Construction is an industry that can truly take its toll on the health of the workers within it. The physical demands remain high every day so it comes as no surprise that in 2020 there were an estimated 81,000 work-related ill health cases in construction.

Whilst there is an assumption that these will be mostly musculoskeletal – which 57% of them are, there is a range of other illnesses that affect construction workers. From stress, depression and anxiety to deafness, there are many negative effects of working in construction but one that can sometimes go under the radar is respiratory illnesses.

Understanding the risks involved and how we can protect workers with PPE is vital and these are the top things to consider.

Respiratory hazards

One of the main respiratory hazards for all workplaces currently is COVID-19. With cases increasing and decreasing all the time, the risk of someone bringing the infection onto your site and infecting all other team members could force work to be stopped as everyone isolates.

Outside of the risks of COVID-19, construction workers must also contend with other hazards as they are exposed to many harmful chemicals and other substances which can lead to negative health effects along the way.

Keep protected from hazards

With every risk, there must be a solution and PPE suppliers in construction are the best way to protect the construction workforce from all respiratory issues that may come their way.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, masks have been heavily used to stop the spread but they have also proved to be useful for protecting people who work in construction from other hazards that may come their way. By keeping their masks on, the risks of inhaling harmful fumes are constantly reduced which will only benefit their health further.

Projected market size/growth of PPE

With each worker needing PPE, the market has grown and grown since the beginning of the pandemic and with construction sites realising the benefits of wearing PPE, even when the infection rates are low, that market rise has not slowed down.

With the global respiratory protection equipment market projected to reach $7.29 billion by 2022, this is an ever-growing market that is here to stay. This means that the supply for construction workers should remain high so their safety can be assured.

Every industry requires PPE equipment to protect them from harmful respiratory illnesses that may come their way. However, we must highlight that those labour-intensive jobs are the ones that are most at risk. With dangerous fumes, asbestos, dust and resin likely to crop up in their everyday life, they have more to fear than just coronavirus.

For this reason, every site – particularly in construction sites must be carefully assessed to see what PPE is needed and ensure that the equipment is provided for the workforce before any work commences.