The construction industry is not always safe for workers.
It’s well-known that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors in the world, accounting for a high proportion of accidents and workplace illnesses with workers.
Of these instances, around 61,000 construction workers sustained non-fatal injuries in 2019/20, with 26% of these caused by simple slips, trips and falls. What’s more, there were 81,000 construction workers suffering from work-related ill health during the same period, with this number including complex and potentially long-standing ailments.
In this post, we’ll consider why health and safety are so important on construction sites while asking what steps you can take to safeguard your workers.
Why is safety such an important consideration?
As the figures above suggest, injury and long-term illness are significant risks on building and construction sites, which manifest themselves in a number of different ways.
In addition to slips and trips (which tend to cause minor injury), for example, 2019/20 saw nearly one-fifth (19%) of accidents caused by falls from height. These also contributed to the 40 fatal injuries that occurred during the reporting period, which was up slightly on the five-year average of 37 per annum.
Due to the sheer diversity of accident types on construction sites, hazards and dangers can be found all around, so site owners and foremen must adopt a proactive approach when minimising these and safeguarding their colleagues.
The how – Key steps to keeping construction workers safe
With the main dangers and issues in mind, the next step is to implement practical measures that can actively safeguard construction workers. These include:
- #1. Training: Effective and targeted training is one of the best ways to protect construction work staff, as this is preventative and can actually reduce operational costs over time. Training should be interactive and immersive where possible too, as this helps to drive higher rates of retention among students.
- #2. Invest in protective equipment: This is another proactive measure, as providing workers with high quality and targeted PPE minimises both the frequency and impact of accidents. From high visibility vests which help to prevent accidents to reinforced safety footwear, this is another investment that will deliver a viable return over time.
- #3. Implement health and safety rules and reporting procedures: Rules are crucial when creating a safe working environment, as they help to protect colleagues while ensuring that you remain compliant with UK law. These need to be enforced too, with rigorous accident reporting procedures helping you to achieve this objective.
- #4. Mandatory signs: Finally, you should erect a range of relevant and informative signs throughout the construction site, to help reinforce the rules, warn of particularly prominent immediate hazards and guide employees safely from one location to another.