OSH Answers Fact Sheets
Easy-to-read, question-and-answer fact sheets covering a wide range of workplace health and safety topics, from hazards to diseases to ergonomics to workplace promotion. MORE ABOUT >
What does a construction worker do?
Construction is an industry that requires working at ever-changing locations and work environments. This profile refers to general construction workers. Others at a construction site include electricians, carpenters and plumbers.
Some of the main duties of a general construction worker are to:
- Install various commercial, industrial or residential systems.
- Ensure that projects conform to building codes and regulations.
- Use, clean and maintain various types of equipment.
- Supervise or apprentice other workers.
What are some health and safety issues for construction workers?
- Pain or injury from physical overexertion, repetitive manual tasks, or working in awkward positions.
- Exposure to moulds, fungi and bird or rodent droppings.
- Exposure to lead, wood dust, asbestos, paints, solvents, and other toxic chemicals or materials.
- Working in extreme temperatures and UV radiation.
- Working with hand tools, powered tools and heavy powered equipment.
- Excess vibration in the hands, arms or body from powered tools or equipment.
- Confined spaces.
- Working at heights.
- Electrical hazards.
- Hazardous energy control including lockout/tag out.
- Working with cranes, hoists, and other material handling equipment.
- Slips, trips and falls.
- Respiratory hazards from wood dust.
- Explosion and fire hazards from combustible dusts.
- Shift work or extended work days.
- Working alone.
- Struck by mobile equipment.
- Maintaining good housekeeping.
What are some preventive measures for construction workers?
- Scan the workplace for existing and potential hazards before work begins and take appropriate controls. Be aware that conditions can change constantly.
- Inspect all equipment and machinery for any defects before work begins.
- Keep tools and equipment in good working order.
- Use correct personal protective equipment and apparel, including safety footwear.
- Keep all work areas clear of clutter and equipment.
- Avoid awkward body positions or take frequent breaks.
- Learn safe lifting techniques.
- Have training before beginning any task, especially high risk activities such as working at heights, hazardous energy control (lockout/tag out), or confined space entry.
- Follow a recommended shiftwork pattern, and be aware of the associated hazards.
- Be aware of seasonal hazards from working in extreme temperatures.
- Know how to get help in an emergency for working alone situations.
- Be aware of the emergency response plans before work begins.
What are some good general safe work practices?
- Follow safety procedures for:
- Practice safe lifting techniques.
- Follow company safety rules.
- Stay informed about chemical hazards and WHMIS 2015.
- Know how to report a hazard.
- Follow good housekeeping procedures.
Where can I get more information?
General information is available in OSH Answers or through the CCOHS person-to-person Inquiries Service.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.