Last edited 30 Nov 2020

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WatsonandWatson Other Consultant Website

How you can stop construction deaths


[edit] Safety practices in the construction industry have improved a lot over the years. They are, however, still far from perfect. This is shown by the fact that the construction industry was responsible for over a third of workplace fatalities in the year 2019/2020 (40/111).

Here is a quick guide to the main hazards, what you can do about them and why you should care.

[edit] Falls from a height

This one probably comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with construction. The UK is having to build upwards, this means an increased need to work at heights. This means, potentially, more exposure to risk.

Fortunately, most of the issues relating to working at heights can be resolved by the appropriate use of safety equipment/PPE. The key word, here, is “appropriate”. Workers need to know how to set up the safety equipment and they need the time to do so and put on the necessary PPE. They also need the time to undertake regular checks of it.

[edit] Struck by moving vehicle

The best way to deal with this is to combine setting out safe routes for vehicles and pedestrians with robust traffic management. This starts with effective access control. Having dedicated site security can be very useful here as security guards can often capably do double duty as traffic managers.

[edit] Struck by moving object

On construction sites, moving objects generally means falling objects. Solving this starts with thinking about what equipment can be used where safely. You then need to check whether or not it is possible to keep people away from places equipment must be used. If you can’t they need to be given suitable PPE, meaning helmets and boots.

[edit] Trapped by something collapsing/overturning

Avoiding this should require nothing more than basic site management (and time). In simple terms, if it can collapse, secure it so it doesn’t.

[edit] Contact with moving machinery

On a construction site, moving machinery and moving vehicles are often one and the same. Again, this goes back to access control and traffic management.

[edit] General safety considerations

While these are the main causes of death, there are many other causes of workplace injuries. Most of these can be avoided by a combination of training and PPE. Construction sites also need to remember the “health” part of health and safety, particularly during COVID19. For example, they need to provide appropriate toilet facilities.

[edit] Why make safety a priority?

Health and safety is often seen in a negative light. At best companies see it as a preventative measure rather than something which actively benefits them. It is true that health and safety is largely about prevention, but it also brings positive benefits.

Firstly, it makes hiring easier. Employees want to work in safe environments. Secondly, it reduces absences and increases productivity. These twin benefits are often two sides of the same coin. This in turn saves you both money and time.

Lastly, it protects your reputation as a company with both the trade, the public at large and the relevant authorities. This can make a meaningful difference to your ability to bid for contracts.

--WatsonandWatson 15:44, 30 Nov 2020 (BST)

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