Work related ill health is something that affects every industry sector adversely but it is an even bigger problem for manual labour industries such as construction. Not only is it bad for workers health but illness also has negative implications for businesses and the economy as a whole. Read on to find out the important figures taken straight from the HSE and how you can help protect your building firm from these detrimental factors…
Construction, like other manual labour sectors, sees a higher rate of work related illness, injury and fatalities and therefore also shoulders a higher cost. In Britain, a total of 1.2 million working days were lost last year to construction firms due to work related ill health at a cost of £0.4 billion. Last year, 69,000 construction workers suffered from work-related illness with around 2 in 3 of these cases being due to musculoskeletal disorders and 1 in 5 cases due to stress or depression.
Workers in construction also face a higher risk of common illnesses than the rest of society. Construction is linked to more than half of all work related cancer fatalities in Britain and workers in the construction industry have been found to be more likely to suffer from work related breathing or lung problems than across all industries.
Not only are construction workers chances of illness higher than that of the majority of the working population but their chances of work related fatalities are also higher having been on an average of 43 per year for the past 5 years which is a fatality rate of 1.94 per 100,000 workers. This is significantly higher than the average work place fatality rate across the board which is more than four times lower at 0.46 per 100,000.
These figures are enough to worry anyone working, or with friends and family, in the construction industry but there are measures that builders and developers can take to help reduce the risk.
The simple answer to reducing work related illness in construction is for employers to carry out Risk Assessments and COSHH Assessments for your work activities. Employers must also control workplace exposures, providing appropriate health surveillance and encouraging employees to report symptoms at an early stage such as back pain, dermatitis and Asthma, and then seeking early appropriate treatment or support.
There are various legal obligations that the employer must meet:
Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires that employers assess the risks to health and safety of their employees while at work
Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 (as amended) requires that employers carry out Risk Assessments on the manual handling tasks that pose a risk of injury
Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended) set out what employers need to do if their employees are habitual users of DSE.
Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005 require an employer to take actions to protect persons against risks to their health and safety arising from exposure to vibration at work. Regular long-term exposure to Whole Body Vibration (WBV) is associated with back pain.
Health & Safety Xpert from HBXL is the easy way to reduce health and safety issues and help ensure workers are working to the appropriate health and safety practices. The software automatically generates the documents required for your business including your Company Health & Safety Policy, which sets out your company approach to health and safety, and also project specific documentation based on the job specifications (e.g. what is being built, and how and with what materials) and prepopulates them so that minimal typing is required. It also covers accident reporting so that ‘responsible persons’ can record and report certain incidents, injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences involving employees, self-employed workers and members of the public to the HSE. Although near misses are not part of an employer’s legal duty, it is also good practice to record non-reportable ‘near-miss’ incidents, workplace accidents and occurrences where no-one has actually been hurt or become ill, so that the company can learn from such incidents, using the old adage ‘prevention is better than cure’.
PLUS, the latest version of Health & Safety Xpert is out now with 8 new Risk Assessments covering areas recommended by our by our health and safety specialists. The issues addressed in these new Risk Assessments directly tackle on going health issues that affect lots builders such as dermatitis.
On top of this it includes our regulations review and update that ensures all documents are complying with the latest developments.
We’re confident that you and your building firm will see the benefit of easy, fast and efficient software to help ensure site safety and prevent intervention from the HSE. That is why we give away free trials for 14 days. Try it free today and get access to the full software, combine with the rest of the integrated range, a free demonstration to get you started as well as full access to our highly rated support team and range of resources…all for free! Give us a call on 0117 9167898 or follow the link below to fill in the trial request form.