Since the introduction of The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 considering and implementing safe working practices has become a legal and mandatory requirement for all employers. Every business from a florist to a manufacturing plant must consider all the risks associated with any of the tasks their employees perform and aim to minimise or eradicate any potential risk of injury.
However, within the construction industry any potential risks associated with employee activities are magnified. This is due to the nature of work, the environment, equipment used and the added pressure of working at heights. This has led the construction industry to be rightly classified as a high-risk environment. It is therefore more critical than ever that the health and safety regulations in this industry are followed precisely. This is not only to reduce the chance of injury but more importantly to protect the lives of workers.
If you are sourcing contractors to work on construction projects, it is imperative you choose a supplier with both a great health and safety management system and health and safety record. Examples of such a contractor and system can be found with Formwork Contractors Essex.
With the help of some astounding statistics from the HSE, it is clear why hiring a contractor with a well-executed Health and Safety policy is key. It was recorded that 82,000 workers in total suffered from work related ill health in the construction industry in 2018, with 38 accidents of falling from heights proving fatal and a staggering 58,000 non-fatal injuries resulting in lost time from work. It is a stark reminder to ensure all contractors have the correct personal protective equipment available for their use, and with 3,000 workers suffering from breathing and lung problems that year, activities should never be carried out without the appropriate face masks and breathing apparatus.
If health and safety guidelines aren’t followed, not only will your business end up counting the financial loss associated with accidents, the victims, their families and their colleagues will also have to deal with the psychological distress and potentially long-term emotional trauma of accidents and fatalities.
So, from site management to contractors everyone has a role to play in actioning a safe working environment. For employees and contractors alike training plays a key role in the successful creation of this environment. As an employer, the law requires you to provide your employees with information, instruction and training which is reasonably practicable in order to ensure their health & safety. As a contractor, you have a responsibility to adhere to your own procedures for managing the health and safety of your own activities and be able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge of all relevant health and safety laws, as well as adhering to any site-specific guidelines and processes.
Construction managers and any employees responsible for communicating safety advice on a construction site should be looking to gain the following qualification NEBOSH (National Certificate in Construction Safety & Health). This qualification is studied online and examined externally and will ensure the holder is competent in understanding legal requirements for health and safety at work, implementation of health and safety management systems, identification of construction workplace hazards and the practical application of knowledge and understanding.