The dangers of high-risk construction work

Published 25 Mar 2015

Construction is among the most hazardous industries in the country, with Safe Work Australia statistics showing there were 29 worker fatalities in 2014.

The only two sectors to record more deaths last year were transport, postal and warehousing and agriculture, forestry and fishing. High-risk construction work is particularly dangerous, especially when businesses do not manage risks properly.

There are many potential hazards on building sites, including:

  • Falls from height
  • Temperature extremes
  • Trench collapses
  • Flammable liquids or other dangerous chemicals
  • Energised electrical installations
  • Pressurised gas pipelines
  • Equipment failures

Furthermore, not all dangers are immediately obvious and could take years to have an impact on an individual's health. Employees could be exposed to asbestos, for example, which can result in dust diseases such as mesothelioma.

This is a form of cancer that typically affects the epithelial lining of the lungs, although it can also develop in the abdomen. Other critical illnesses that are linked to asbestos include silicosis and asbestosis.

However, construction employees who work in high-risk areas could be eligible for compensation or benefits if they are seriously injured or become ill during the course of their duties. 

In fact, there may be a range of policies within your superannuation package that could cover you in the event of certain unforeseen circumstances.

Are you eligible to pursue a superannuation dispute?

Many people are unaware that their superannuation fund could provide crucial financial support when they are unable to work.

If you suffer a total and permanent disability (TPD) because of an accident in or outside the workplace, you may be entitled to make a TPD claim. This could result in you receiving a lump sump payment to cover medical costs, lost wages and non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.

For more short-term injuries or sickness, income protection insurance could be a useful component of your superannuation package. This provides monthly payments, usually up to 75 per cent of your gross salary, when you can't work.

Critical illness insurance is also a common type of cover included in a super policy, giving you a lump sum payment should you suffer from serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease and strokes.

There are even support structures in place if the worst should happen. Death benefits mean your chosen beneficiaries will receive money when you pass away, enabling them to cope better financially if a fatal accident was to occur.

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