Why construction site safety is so important to avoid lost time and possibly heavy financial penalties and legal action from the HSE; the importance of safety training.
Rigorous adherence to safe practices and full safety training is vital
It’s a fact that construction sites can be potentially dangerous places to work; various hazards are an every day occurrence from activities such as working at height, site traffic movement, and working with powerful construction tools.
Without full site safety procedures in place, the cost in both money and time can be huge.
If safety standards are found to be inadequate the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) can order a suspension of activities on a site while it investigates, so losing productive days. Also, large fines can be handed out and legal action taken against construction firms if poor safety has resulted in accidents.
A serious commitment to site safety is vital to ensure a safe working environment to at least minimise and preferably avoid incidents and accidents on site.
The safety risk
According to the section on the HSE website covering construction sector safety statistics, over 60,000 workers sustain a non-fatal injury each year while 30 fatal injuries were recorded in 2016/17.
Working at height was the cause of nearly half of the fatalities while general ‘slips and trips’ were the main cause of non-fatal injuries.
It’s clear there are still plenty of incidents and accidents despite the increase in safety legislation and advances in safety equipment.
How to improve safety?
Two factors can improve safety and reduce the chances of accidents:
Full safety training – especially for site supervisors such as construction managers.
Use safety equipment – such as ensuring anyone working from height uses a full safety harness.
The importance of safety training
Ignorance of the required safety procedures is no excuse when it comes to a construction site being judged for its safety by the HSE, especially if investigating an incident. Indeed, without the required safety practices in place a construction company is breaking the law.
What training should be taken?
A key element of effective safety training is in Site Management Safety Training (SMSTS).
Designed for personnel in construction site supervisory roles such as construction managers, a SMSTS training course run by a professional safety training company will equip those taking it with the following:
Knowledge of latest legislation concerning the construction industry such as the Health and Safety at Work Act and other specifics such as Working at Height Regulations
Awareness of safety procedures to adopt in various potentially hazardous activities such as working on scaffolding, in confined spaces, on excavations and when using electricity.
The importance of risk assessments and how to undertake them
The course runs for five full days and full attendance is mandatory, attendees are assessed by the course leader throughout as they undertake various exercises and case studies, and there is a multiple choice exam at the end.
The attendee is awarded a certificate if successfully passing the course, and this remains valid for five years when a refresher course should be taken to reflect changes in legislation and safety practices.
Indeed, it’s strongly advised that a refresher is taken every three years such is the rate of change in safety legislation and practices.
Better safety practices benefit businesses in other ways
High standards of site safety implemented by fully trained site managers and other personnel will not only help minimise lost time through work related injuries and thus potentially reduced revenue, but can help productivity.
Site workers who feel they’re being supported and looked after in an environment where safety is taken seriously and implemented properly will inevitably feel happier in their work; morale generally is high and productivity levels are likely to be good.
This can help a construction company manage their bottom line by completing projects on time, and also attract people with the right skills keen to work with a company adhering to professional safety standards.