Risk level

Brick by brick

Being a bricklayer can be a demanding job, but the results are very visible and will be around for a long time. You build and render walls and chimneys. Bricklayers often work in teams on a site, inside and out, all year round. Heavy lifting, cold weather and dust can make the job difficult if you have asthma.

What are the risks?

Working as a bricklayer is strenuous and you can expect to be outside in the cold at times. The work could exacerbate asthma if you have it, and dust from the mortar and render also irritates the airways.

Mortar is wet and the work is tough on the hands. If you suffered from atopic eczema when you were little, you may develop hand eczema from this kind of work. The skin will then become dry, red and flaky with cracks and blisters that itch.

Prevention and avoidance

Look out for masks and dust filters that can protect you from breathing in irritant dust. Dry clean gloves will protect your hands from mortar and render. Hand eczema develops more readily if the skin is dried out, so rub a moisturising cream into your hands.

If you have asthma, be aware that working as a bricklayer could exacerbate your condition.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions or want to know more about allergy, asthma and eczema when working as a bricklayer, get in touch with your school nurse or careers adviser.