If you’ve ever heard the sound of a full grown adult male sliding down a roof and falling to the ground, you’ll appreciate the sickening feeling you get when the thud of flesh and bone making contact with the ground, finally informs your astonished brain that the events of the previous 3 or 4 seconds did actually happen. You are then faced with the uncertainty of what you might find… such can be the perils of the construction industry.
Government statistics show that during the year 2015/16 there were 45 fatalities in the industry compared to 29 in Agriculture and 27 in Manufacturing. The highest number for England by region is the North West (17) matched only by London.
The good news for the North West is the number is slightly down on the previous 5 year average though not so in London where the figures have increased over the same period to almost double.
The figures per 100,000 employees for the year 2015/16 shows that Agriculture still faces the highest challenges for safety (7.73 fatalities) with Construction showing an average of 1.94 for the same number of employees.
During the same year there were an estimated 79,000 work related illnesses reported which accounts for a massive 2.2 million working days lost.
Slips trips and falls lead the way with 23% followed by lifting and handling 22% and falls from height 20%. 11% is attributed to falling objects and the remainder made up of other illnesses that include stress and anxiety. The costs amount to millions…
New Skills, risky practices
Almost every town in the UK will currently have some form of construction taking place. The demand for housing is still facing a shortfall and government targets over the next 3 to 5 years mean that there will continue to be on-going developments both large and small.
Construction is now a great career opportunity compared to the recession years when many skilled workers chose to leave the industry altogether taking with them a wealth of experience and reliability.
Those workers coming into the industry from college will have been taught, shown and indoctrinated with Health &Safety Regulations and good working practices. If you, as a skilled and experienced employer, don’t adhere to those same standards, then how long will it be before the younger less experienced workforce fall into bad practices and start taking risks.
It can be a dangerous job – Health & Safety regulations help so don’t ignore them. Yes accidents can and do still happen so, as an industry, we need to ensure as far as possible that the risks are minimised. Let’s face it, cutting corners or costs or relying on risky practices you’ve managed with for years, won’t ever compensate for a broken neck or other life changing injury… and even just a broken arm will put you out of action!