Falling Short: Addressing the Alarming Rise in Construction Fatalities

   24 January 2024     News

A recent report highlighting a 22% increase in fatal incidents within the UK construction industry during the 2022/23 period demands urgent attention and collective action. The data underscores the critical need for comprehensive safety measures to mitigate risks, with falls from heights being the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal incidents in the construction sector.

As providers of essential training for those in the building services engineering sector, it is imperative to address this issue head-on and work towards fostering a culture of safety. In this response, we explore some simple strategies that companies can adopt to prevent accidents on construction sites.

1. Prioritise Working at Height Training

Half of all deaths on site are due to a fall from height. This statistic underscores the alarming prevalence of falls from heights, making it essential for companies to prioritise comprehensive working at height safety training. Training programmes should encompass the identification of potential hazards, the correct use of safety equipment, and the importance of risk assessments. Training will also ensure that employers and their employees understand the requirements of the relevant Legislation, specifically the Working at Height Regulations.

Ensuring that workers are well-versed in safe work practices at elevated positions is fundamental to reducing the incidence of fatal falls.

Need working at height training? Develop offer two WAH courses:

2. Equipment Selection & Regular Equipment Inspections

Using the correct equipment is essential in preventing falls and other accidents. Regularly inspecting and maintaining safety equipment, such as harnesses and scaffolding, is crucial. Companies must establish a robust system for equipment checks to identify and rectify any potential issues promptly. This proactive approach can significantly contribute to preventing accidents and ensuring the safety of workers at all times.

3. Mitigate Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, trips, and falls account for a quarter of all injuries in the construction industry. To address this, companies should prioritise and manage good housekeeping by keeping work environments clean, dry, well-lit, and free of obstacles. Immediate cleanup of spillages and thorough deep cleaning after working hours can minimise the risk of accidents. By implementing these simple yet effective measures, companies can create safer working conditions and reduce the number of injuries.

4. Machinery Safety Measures

Installing safety guards on machinery and providing workers with suitable and sufficient PPE, such as safety goggles, are critical steps in preventing accidents caused by equipment. Ensuring that all machinery adheres to safety standards and providing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential. By fostering a culture of machinery safety, companies can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents related to equipment operation.

5. Proper Storage and Handling

Storing heavy objects close to the ground, implementing debris nets, use of tool tethers, and discouraging the unsafe practice of throwing tools are essential steps in preventing accidents on construction sites. Establishing clear guidelines for the storage and handling of materials in line with COSHH regulations can contribute to a safer working environment and reduce the risk of injuries caused by falling objects.

The rise in fatal incidents within the UK construction industry demands immediate and concerted efforts to enhance safety practices. Training, proper pre-planning and management, equipment maintenance, and a commitment to creating hazard-free environments are pivotal in preventing accidents on construction sites. As training providers, it is incumbent upon us to reinforce the importance of safety education and empower workers with the knowledge and skills needed to protect themselves and their colleagues. By embracing a proactive approach, the industry can strive towards a significant reduction in the number of incidents, creating a safer and more secure working environment for all.

Need health & safety training?

At Develop Training we’ve health & safety courses to meet the training needs of every employee in the building services engineering and construction sectors. We deliver the majority of our training at centres across the UK including: Derby, Swindon, York, Essex, Manchester, Norwich, Birmingham & Linlithgow in Scotland, however, we can also deliver onsite training if required.

Click here to view our full range of health and safety training courses or here for our full range of training for those in the building services engineering industry.

Alternatively, you can speak to our Customer Service team on 0800 876 6708 or email enquiries@developtraining.co.uk.

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