Fewer inspections as fatalities rise: Managing your risk

Regular health and safety inspections are recommended for any company, especially those that are often inundated with hazards, such as those in the construction industry. Yet, 80 per cent of construction companies have never had a health and safety inspection, and only 17 per cent have had an inspection within the past 12 months, according to a recent survey published by the Trades Union Congress. 

This pervasive inattention to health and safety is especially troubling as the HSE has reported that there have been more construction deaths this year—43 in 2015-16 compared to 35 in 2014-15. These failings are very apparent to construction workers, with 87 per cent of them believing that their building site was a health and safety hazard, according to the Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT). What’s more, is that 48 per cent of the surveyed construction workers reported that they had suffered an injury whilst at work—30 per cent of which had to go to hospital because of the incident.

For that reason, it cannot be emphasised enough that the responsibility for ensuring the safety of your workers rests solely with your company—especially since there have been more fatalities and fewer inspections. In order to help your company cultivate safe systems of work, the HSE has developed a leadership and worker involvement toolkit. The toolkit is interactive and helps contractors and managers measure their organisation’s health and safety acumen. After assessing the current practices, the toolkit then provides pragmatic recommendations on how safety can be improved. The toolkit is free and can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/construction/lwit/index.htm.

In addition, you may want to have your safety managers and supervisors review the health and safety responsibilities under CDM 2015. This review can ensure that each worksite, piece of equipment and task is compliant in order to guarantee your workers’ health and safety, and to ensure that your company does not receive any fines.