How has the focus on safety in the Construction Industry changed in recent years?
There were around 2.1 million people in the UK working in the construction industry in 2014, with roughly 50% of these employed by smaller SMEs or self-employed workers. Although there has been a strong focus on safety in the construction sector since the mid-nineties, the awareness of the importance of health has not seen such wide growth. However, over the past 5 years, there has been a push towards promoting greater health and safety awareness.
Safety issues in construction
Larger construction firms have been held accountable to upholding high health safety in the UK, however it is more difficult to regulate smaller companies. Between 2009-2010, 98% of all work-related deaths in the construction sector were due to health issues, and whilst the retirement age in the UK is slowly rising, less than half of male construction workers are still able to continue to work in their current job past the age of 60 due to these problems affecting their work.
What legal requirements are there for the construction industry?
The biggest legal requirement on companies within the construction sector is The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 which places the responsibility with the employer to guarantee that their employees are working in a safe environment at all times. Failure to meet these safety standards can result in penalties and employment issues within the construction company, and potentially further legal issues should an accident occur in the workplace that could have been prevented by implementing greater safety controls.
How has CBH contributed to greater safety in construction?
Constructing Better Health (CBH) came about in 2005, which is an industry owned organisation aimed with equipping the construction industry with the knowledge and skills required to effectively reduce and deal with the health challenges posed within the sector.
As part of this, construction firms are provided with recourses that detail safety critical worker occupations, give risk assessment templates and examples, National Occupational Health Standards, and more – all of which is backed up with advice and guidance available from a national help line. All of these things help construction companies to comply with the legal requirements to protect their employees, with support and resources offered to help them meet these requirements.
Construction companies have a duty of care
In order to provide the highest levels of safety in the workplace, construction companies should be able to consistency demonstrate management of their working environment and that the conditions that employees are working in are the best that they could be, and that any risks have been identified and removed where possible.
The RG Group takes workplace safety seriously and we work proactively to enforce the completion of regular risk assessments during all of the projects that we undertake. We also make sure that we work in a way that adheres to all legal health and safety requirements and that we remain up-to-date with any changes.
If you’re interested in working with the RG Group, or have a project you would like us to work on, get in touch with our team today on 01732 526 850.