Health and safety in the construction industry is of vital importance and its implementation can be the difference between life and death. Covering a vast range of work-related issues, its relevance should not be underestimated.
Keeping your construction site safe and protecting employees and colleagues allows everyone to do their job well while keeping out of harm’s way at the same time. There are many hazards present in the workplace – here are a few of the more common concerns affecting construction workers.
Building works can present a number of dangers to health, especially when it comes to working closely with dangerous substances.
Asbestos is one such product and although it is banned, it still rears its head fairly frequently. Safe when handled properly; asbestos can have devastating effects in the wrong hands, which is why awareness is the key.
Another potential danger facing workers is gas inhalation, with carbon monoxide being the most common hazard. Specific training can help employees to identify its presence.
Physical work can take its toll on the body and so everyone needs to take steps to prevent skin irritation, repetitive strain injuries and breathing and hearing problems. When it comes to ensuring the safety of all workers, protective clothing and eye protection are crucial, as are a sufficient risk assessment and taking preventative measures.
Safety is directly related to health but is subtly different. Many of the issues it throws up can be prevented.
Thousands of injuries occur in the workplace every year due to slips, falls and trips and this is one area where everybody needs to stay vigilant. By assessing the level of risk and then taking steps to avoid problems, the workplace can be made safer.
Employers have a responsibility to ensure all employees, contractors and other people on site are free to move about and perform their roles safely and this means only using fully trained people to carry out specialist jobs.
It is vital to take construction health and safety seriously. There should be rules for every task and the appropriate amount of time has to be spent on the planning and execution of every project to create a safe workplace. Equipment and machinery should always be treated with caution.
Benefits of Good Health and Safety Procedures
Along with the obvious benefit of ensuring everyone is safe and free from danger, good health and safety systems can have many other far-reaching advantages for your business.
As well as avoiding absences caused by illness and injury, good practice will instil a sense of confidence in both employers and employees. In the event of any difficulties occurring, having good procedures in place will help employees as they will know where to turn or what the best course of action is.
By developing a reputation for excellence, you will be held in high regard professionally, which can lead to greater exposure and more work opportunities.
The major benefit, however, is that staff are motivated to perform and more likely to stay with a company which has their best interests at heart. This leads to greater productivity and high retention levels.
John Marlowe writes about construction health and safety for a range of websites and blogs. A former builder, he now concentrates on providing advice and information to others about the industry.