According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 1 billion builders¹ all over the world are exposed yearly to hazardous substances during their working hours, including fumes, dust, pollutants, and vapours.
Construction workers often face risks during their labour hours on account of their working conditions. They work at heights, using mobile devices to handle heavy materials or equipment, and near hazardous substances such as asbestos or silica which can make the workers vulnerable to injuries and health problems.
It is then compulsory to deploy every effort to protect the health, safety and well-being of workers on job sites.
Reduced builders' exposure to hazardous substances
In the construction sector, workers are very likely to be exposed during their work hours to hazardous substances that can be released at construction sites. Silica dust for instance is generated during construction since it’s a common component of many construction materials and can cause severe respiratory diseases in case of prolonged exposition.
Additionally, substances such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted from different materials on construction or job sites and can result in health problems. Although glass is inherently a non-emitting source of VOCs, our glass is produced in accordance with the French Regulation on VOCs and construction products introduced in April 2011. Our mirrors and lacquered (painted) glass have the highest A+ scores (<1000 µg/m3 in total VOC and <10 µg/m3 in formaldehyde).
Ensuring builders’ health & safety on job sites is fundamental to us. For this purpose, we develop our products adequately to limit the release of hazardous substances during the installation phase and we regularly publish content declarations of all our glass solutions.
Improved working conditions for builders
Similarly, construction workers may face occupational risks during their work. According to the European Working Conditions Survey, 54% of workers in the construction sector reported musculoskeletal disorders in the upper limbs due to difficult working conditions.
At Saint-Gobain Glass, as we are prone to innovation, we have elaborated a range of lightweight solutions to facilitate glass handling for workers during transportation but also to simplify the installation process for builders.
We also developed an innovative technology called EASYPRO® as a substitute for plastic films to protect the glass. This solution ensures effective protection for glass and burns out during the tempering process without emitting any VOCs. It is advantageous for workers since it allows them to avoid extra and difficult work when removing plastic films from the often-large glass pieces, thus improving safety and waste management. This increases workers’ productivity as well since the preparation of glass requires less time thanks to EASYPRO®.
¹ Exposure to hazardous chemicals at work and resulting health impacts: A global review
² European Working Conditions Survey - overview report