It’s Time to Put the Spotlight on Construction Health Hazards

The importance of safety in construction is readily acknowledged. Most construction employers and employees are familiar with the long-running “Focus Four” safety program that encourages action on the four key fatal injury hazards in construction: falls, electrocutions, struck-bys, and caught in-between.

Barb Epstien
Barb Epstien, AGC Industrial Hygienist

Health hazards are also common on construction jobs, but health awareness lags far behind that for safety. As a result, less attention is given to health hazards in construction, sending an inadvertent message that health is not a priority. To help close this gap, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Construction Committee developed a new publication, “Focus Four for Health: An Initiative to Address Four Major Construction Health Hazards” as a companion piece to the “Fatal Four” safety outreach program. This guidance booklet was written with construction employers in mind, and is available as a free download at www.focusfourconstructionhealth.org. AGC Oregon-Columbia Chapter’s new industrial hygienist, Barb Epstien, was part of the project team that developed this new guidance booklet.

The new guidebook uses the same approach to address four prevalent construction health hazards: manual material handling, noise, air contaminants, and high temperatures. It provides a one-stop resource to help bring you up to speed on the importance of health hazards, and then provides practical steps that contractors can use to successfully address these hazards.

AGC is pleased to share this publication with our members and hope you consider ideas for incorporating Focus Four for Health into your existing safety and health programs and activities. For additional information, contact your AGC safety management consultant. Together we can raise the profile of construction health hazards and reduce job-related illnesses and chronic disorders that can have big impacts on our employees and our businesses.

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