Whether you are a start-up business or long established company, the well-being of your employees should be a top priority. It is vital to have the correct practices in place to ensure members of staff remain safe when carrying out their jobs. Here's why health and safety is too important for any manager to ignore.Continue reading
All jobs are associated with a certain degree of danger. However, roles in the construction industry can be particularly risky. After all, individuals who are employed in the sector often have to work at height or with heavy equipment.
According to figures provided by the Health and Safety Executive, while the industry accounts for only around five per cent of Britain’s workforce, it sees 27 per cent of fatal injuries to employees and ten per cent of reported major injuries.
This means it's vital that bosses in the construction sector take the issue of health and safety extremely seriously. By adopting appropriate risk management policies and offering their workers suitable safety training, they can help to drive down the risk of accidents.
Recruitment on the rise
This issue may be particularly important now, with new figures showing that activity is building in the industry. According to the latest UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index from Markit, output growth reached a four-month high in June, while job creation hit a survey record.
The index climbed to 62.6 in June, which was up on the 60 recorded during the previous month and was well above the 50 mark that represents no contraction or expansion. Residential construction was the best performing sub-sector over the 30-day period.
A surge in activity
Responding to the findings, senior economist at Markit Tim Moore said: “UK construction companies started the summer with another surge in house building and commercial activity. He added: A key recent development across the construction sector has been the return to pre-recession rates of job creation, following a prolonged period of falling payroll numbers and cuts to operating capacity. Moreover, the latest rise in construction employment was the fastest since the survey began in 1997, which represents a remarkable yardstick of progress as the sector looks to recover the ground lost over the past seven years.” According to the expert, improvements in the underlying health of the country’s economy along with increases in new housing starts and favourable funding conditions have driven growth in the industry.
No room for complacency
At times like this when activity is up, building companies can find themselves under pressure. However, regardless of how much work they have to complete, it is vital that managers do not lose sight of the importance of safety. After all, the consequences if they do, can be disastrous. Firms risk potentially long and costly legal action if they are found to be flouting safety laws. They can also suffer major reputational damage. Even more importantly, workers can be placed at unnecessary risk.
While it can take a little time and money to improve safety standards, this should prove to be a savvy investment.
Here to help
If you are on the lookout for health & safety training or consultancy services, you've come to the right place. Here at Phoenix Health & Safety we should be perfectly placed to help. Just take a look around our website for more information. You can also get in touch with our friendly and knowledgeable team.
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If you or your employees work or spend any time on a building site then it’s imperative that the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is worn at all times. Having the wrong PPE or not wearing any at all could seriously put you and others in danger, especially considering the dangerous nature of a building site. Here’s what you need to consider before stepping foot onto a building site or allowing anyone else onto your site…
Hard hats can protect from falling material, but also in cases of slips, trips and falls. The Construction (Head protection) Regulations 1989 state that hard hats are required where there is risk of head injury due to falling materials or where people might hit their head. If you think about it, there are a huge number of possible hazards on a building site that involve the possibility of falling materials. A roofer may dislodge a slate or drop one he’s fitting; something may fall off some scaffolding; a crane or digger may drop something; something may fall into an excavation onto anyone working below - the list is endless!
All employees and visitors should be provided with hard hats and rules should be stringent on when and where they are required to be worn. It’s also worth noting that there are different types of hard hat, with some having extra ‘features’ such as sweat bands or webbing to increase comfort. You will likely pay more for the more elaborate hard hats but if it means people are more likely to wear them then surely it’s worth the extra cost?
Protective footwear should be worn on a building site if there’s a danger that something could fall on their feet or someone could step on something hazardous, both of which are possible. Boots with steel toecaps and midsoles are a wise decision, although there are a wide variety of style available, so it may be worth putting in a bit of research before deciding on a particular type.
Wellington boots are also very useful to have on site for laying cement or concrete. Not everyone knows this but when cement is mixed with water it becomes highly corrosive and can easily cause nasty burns. Wellington boots should help guard against this.
Safety Goggles & Glasses
Goggles and safety spectacles can help protect from flying objects (such as wood or metal cuttings), sparks (eg. from disc-cutting), chemical splashes and a variety of other hazards that could cause damage to the eye. Specialist goggles are also available to help protect against ultraviolet radiation from welding.
Much like hard hats, always ensure that safety goggles are readily available for everyone who needs them. Furthermore, if there’s need, visors can be worn to protect the whole face, for example from acids or other corrosive materials.
Most gloves may not protect massively from falling objects, but they are still necessary to guard against a number of other hazards. They can protect your hands from cuts and splinters and also against corrosive materials should they splash on your hands.
It’s simple; if you can’t be seen on a building site, then there’s a greater risk of injury. First and foremost, people shouldn’t be asked to work in places that could put them in an unreasonable amount of danger of being hit by a vehicle or other employees in any way.
High-vis clothing should be made available to anyone on a building site, particularly in low light conditions and if there’s heavy machinery around. For example, someone signalling to a crane or truck should be highly visible at all times to reduce the risk of them getting hit by the vehicles.
This is one area of PPE that can often get overlooked. If employees are working outdoors then they need to be adequately protected against the elements. Water and windproof clothing may be required if the weather is inclement, and a place to store clothing and dry wet clothing may also be wise. However, care also needs to be taken when the sun is shining. It’s all too easy (even in the UK) to get sunburned if you’re working outside for extended periods of time. As such, clothing should be provided that covers arms and legs, and workers should also be provided with sun cream to rub onto exposed areas.
This is quite a basic rundown of the kinds of PPE that should be worn on a building site, but it’s a start. Also, it’s vital that all PPE is kept in good condition; having poor maintained PPE is almost as bad as having none at all. Here at Phoenix, we can give you more thorough health and safety training on how to stay safe on a building site.
Visit our CITB Construction Skills Site Safety Plus page to learn more, or contact us on 0345 500 8811 to speak to one of our helpful and friendly team. Posted in General Information on 23rd January 2014 by Phoenix Health & Safety.