What are the dangers of masonry?
Posted on 15th Apr, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham
If you work in masonry, you’ll know just how many risks you face on a daily basis. Minimising these risks and maintaining health and safety in the workplace means being switched on and following safety protocols at all times.
Common dangers and risk factors
Manual handling from carrying excessive loads
Blocks and other masonry units have to be handled by workers in this field. This can mean carrying around extremely heavy units unaided. The risk of injury increases with the weight of the block, as well as other pressures a worker may be under.
Tip: Think about how to limit risks before work starts and how to minimise the amount of lifting required. Can you get the blocks delivered closer to site or use pallet trucks or trolleys?
Exposure to dust, fumes and asbestos
For those working in stonemasonry, exposure to dust and fumes is a real risk. Dust can cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat and fine respirable dust can also lead to long-term health problems. In fact, the silicosis death rate for stonemasons is 43 times greater than the national average for the total UK working population. Of course, asbestos is a major issue too – especially for those working in renovation and in old buildings.
Tip: Look at the control options available and how effective they are. Make sure your working area has as much ventilation as possible too and that you’re wearing the appropriate PPE. You might also like to read more on asbestos awareness training here.
Falls from a height
Whether you’re using a stepladder, leaning ladder, or scaffolding, the risks remain the safe. All work at a height carries risk and needs to be carefully planned out.
Tip: Make use of PPE and fall protection and follow all guidance on how to use your access equipment correctly. We have plenty of articles on our blog, which explain how to reduce the risks of working at a height.
General safety recommendations
Tip one: Always carry out a risk assessment
It’s important to carry out a risk assessment for every job – no matter how much experience you might have.
Tip two: Wear the appropriate PPE
PPE is incredibly important for anyone in the masonry trade. A bricklayer should have a pair of steel toe capped boots, a high visibility jacket, and a hard hat or helmet – if working on a building site. When working from a height, harnesses will also need to be used to protect against falls.
To protect against dust and material residue, a worker must also wear gloves, a dust mask, as well as safety goggles.
Tip three: Keep your training up-to-date
As with all trades, proper instruction and training are the basis of keeping safe on the job. With proper safety training, many of the risks, described above, can be minimised or eliminated.
If you’re feeling a little unconfident when it comes to health and safety at work, why not brush up your skills with one of our Safety Training courses?
We’ve got lots of offerings available, the following being most relevant to the masonry trade:
To find out more about our courses, give our Course Enquiries team a call on 01282 615517.