Health & Safety In Construction
Importance of safety here at Ashville
Working in construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world because of the countless risks and hazards of building sites. Working from heights, mobile plant handling heavy loads, operating dangerous machinery, and working around potentially hazardous substances and hazardous materials — such as asbestos — can expose construction workers to the risk of injury and work-related health problems.
Building sites also pose the risk of falling objects and collapsing structures. Hot work hazards — such as welding, cutting, soldering, and any activities that involve using heat or open flames — are also key areas to assess as potential construction health and safety risks. Updating risk management on-site should be an ongoing process to ensure construction companies stay compliant with ever-changing legislation.
The statistics on construction workers with injuries and health issues demonstrate just how dangerous building sites can be. There are approximately 54,000 non-fatal injuries to workers each year in the UK, the majority of those involve slips, trips, falls, manual handling, and falls from a height.
The construction industry also sees an average of 41 fatalities a year, with 36 of those being construction workers and five being members of the public. 49% of these fatalities are due to falls from a height.
As well as injuries, building sites can expose workers to work-related illnesses and health problems. There are 79,000 construction workers in the UK struggling with work-related health problems such as silicosis, musculoskeletal disorders, and hand-arm vibration syndrome.
These statistics show that building site health and safety is important not just for construction workers, but also for members of the public. Going above and beyond health and safety standards and requirements can keep workers and the public safe.
Improving Health & Safety
It’s not possible to completely eradicate the risks on building sites, but with effective H&S precautions in place, construction firms can drastically reduce the risk of injury and illness. A thorough risk assessment will help shape procedures in the workplace, and it is a valuable tool for identifying where you can reduce risk.
Construction projects of any size will require a health and safety plan. This will demonstrate that all relevant health and safety elements associated with the project have been considered and will identify how they will be effectively managed. Making information contained within the construction phase health and safety plan available to all workers on site will also be beneficial. Particularly, on large sites with several supervisors, it’s important that the standards agreed in your risk assessment and method statements are consistently monitored by management and supervisors. By making the risk assessment accessible to everyone, construction companies can emphasise the importance of construction health and safety and the need for compliance across the workforce.
Consistent protocols should also extend to excellent communication on-site. When teams — including management — communicate well, this makes for a more harmonious workplace and reduces risks. If workers spot a potential hazard, they’ll need to know the process for reporting the risk. By making reporting and near-miss processes obvious and easy, it has the potential to increase compliance and also the likelihood of spotting and dealing with risks before they become an incident.
Training for Our Staff
As well as knowing what risks to look out for and how to report them, workers should know when and how they are expected to deal with a potential hazard on-site. A substantial amount of information can be relayed during the site health and safety induction. Including workers in your construction health and safety strategy and plans is a great way to make them feel valued and potentially upskill them too. Additional training to ensure workers are qualified to carry out checks and on-site inspections help management delegate tasks, share responsibility and increase workers’ knowledge and skills.