HSE (Health and Safety News): Occupational Health Professionals Call on Construction Contractors to Put Health in “Safety and Health”

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In a national survey, more than 50 percent of construction workers report exposure to vapors, gas, dust or fumes at work twice a week or more – twice the average of all US workers. To reduce health risks, AIHA, an association for occupational health and safety science professionals, announced the availability of free resources to educate construction industry leaders about the health risks associated with construction work. Occupational health professionals (industrial hygienists) work alongside construction safety experts to reduce health risks to workers and organizations, ultimately increasing productivity and improving a company’s bottom line.

Construction contractors who want to protect the health of their workers, who are seeking resources, or want to hire an occupational health professional can find help at a new website, www.workerhealthsafety.org/construction. A free resource on the website, the guidance document, Focus Four for Health, an Initiative to Address Four Major Construction Health Hazards gives straightforward, practical ways for construction employers to identify and control these hazards. The document was developed by the AIHA Construction Committee to raise awareness about health hazards in the construction industry.

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“Efforts to reduce health hazards typically lag behind those for safety hazards on many construction worksites. Safety gets more attention because injuries and safety hazards are easier to recognize. If an injury occurs, it typically happens right on the site. Health hazards tend to be much less observable and can be even more damaging to a person and the organization” said Janet L. Keyes, CIH, Chair of the AIHA Construction Committee and Principal at Chess, Inc.

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