Why Building Site Health and Safety Matters
Health and safety is a priority in most sectors, but in the construction industry, workplace safety can be a matter of life and death. Here’s what you need to know about the importance of building site health and safety.
With so many risks and hazards on building sites, risk assessments and safety precautions are vital to keeping construction workers out of harm’s way. Construction companies should position health and safety at the heart of their training and operations, and all contractors should have completed health and safety assessments before starting work on building sites.
But why exactly is building site health and safety so important? Here are some of the reasons behind the need for extensive safety measures in the construction industry.
There Are Countless Health and Safety Risks on Building Sites
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, handling heavy loads, operating dangerous machinery and working around potentially 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.
The Scary Statistics of Building Site Injuries
The statistics of construction workers with injuries and health issues demonstrate just how dangerous building sites can be. In the UK there are approximately 54,000 non-fatal injuries to workers each year, the majority of those involving slips, trips or falls, manual handling, and falls from a height.
The construction industry has also seen 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 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.
Protect Your Business as Well as Your Workers
An unsafe building site is a health and safety risk, but it’s also a liability risk. If construction companies or building site managers don’t adhere to H&S standards, the business could be fined, sued, or even banned from operating.
Construction companies’ attitudes towards health and safety can also affect their reputation. Clients may not be willing to work with a company that doesn’t take health and safety seriously, and a bad reputation can affect employee retention. Both clients and workers would rather work with construction firms that won’t place them or anyone else in harm’s way.
How to Improve Building Site Health and Safety
It’s not possible to eradicate the risks of building sites, but with effective health and safety precautions in place, construction firms can drastically reduce the risk of injury and illness.
One of the best ways construction companies can improve health and safety is to offer training to workers or hire pre-qualified contractors with health and safety training already under their belt. If staff have more knowledge of potential risks and hazards — and how to avoid them — the responsibility for creating a safe working environment is shared between the company and each contractor. Workers should be properly trained in manual handling, risk assessment and management, and they should know how to use tools and machinery safely.
With the Contractor’s Health and Safety Assessment Scheme, construction firms can find pre-qualified, accredited contractors who have completed health and safety training. Sign up for a free client membership today to safeguard your organisation.