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World Day for Safety and Health at Work – The Cost of Construction Injuries

World Day for Safety and Health at Work – The Cost of Construction Injuries
28 April 2022

Research analysis demonstrates the impact of accidents in the construction industry and how workers and workplaces are being affected.

This World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Herts Tools has collated the data from Health and Safety Executive reports to find that injuries on construction sites are costing £16.2 billion a year, 20 per cent (£3.16 billion) of that cost was incurred by employers and 22 per cent (£3.5 billion) by the government.

Yet 59 per cent of these costs (£9.56 billion) fall upon the injured and ill individuals themselves.


Working Through Illness


The data also suggests that many people are going to work when sick or injured, known as presenteeism. Between 2017/18 and 2019/20, there was a 12 per cent decrease in working days lost through work-related injury or illness. The figure dropped to 2.1 million, from 2.4 million between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

Continuing to work through illness or injury can have severe, long-term consequences for physical and mental health. Physical injuries might be aggravated by carrying on with regular duties – especially if manual labour is required – causing further absences in the future.

Phil Beaumont, Health and Safety Consultant, commented: “First and foremost, it's important for sites and companies to implement rules, procedures and policies that people can easily follow to stay safe at work. Minimising future accidents also depends upon keeping a record of incidents and continuously assessing what went right, what went wrong, what was irrelevant and what more could have been done previously.

“If a company reports an accident at work concerning one of its workers – depending on the severity of the accident and cause – they should carry out a thorough risk assessment for the returning person. This ensures they’re capable of doing the tasks they’re assigned and won’t aggravate their recovery. This should also include manual handling and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) assessments. 

“It's also worth looking at a buddy system, temporary assignments, reduced hours or planning a stepped return to work for the injured party.” 


Encouraging a Dialogue Around Health and Safety


Health and Safety Consultancy Arinite, to mark World Day for Safety and Health at Work, has provided three actionable methods that employers and health and safety organisers can implement to encourage participation and social dialogue:


Regular Wellbeing Catch Ups with Team Members 


Encourage increased transparency between employees and management by scheduling wellbeing catch-ups with each member of the team. These can be monthly or weekly.


Regular Anonymous Employee Surveys


Suggestion schemes and surveys help to gauge the thoughts of your employees, helping management to see how effective current protocols are and see where improvements can be made.


Streamline Processes for Reporting Issues


Some employees may be put off reporting any accidents or issues due to excessive paperwork or duplication of systems. Streamline your process into one system for reporting issues and encourage participation by making your reporting system as quick and easy to use as possible.

Brendan Tuite spokesperson for Arinite said: “The WHO/ILO estimate that almost 2 million people die from work-related causes each year. Part of managing a health & safety programme lies in the marketing message: the need to constantly refresh the script to keep people engaged and contributing their own ideas. 

“The 28th of April provides a great opportunity to reinvigorate campaigns with briefings, quizzes, presentations, flyers, hazard-spotting tours, and suggestion schemes.

“Collaborate with companies in your district or trade association and discuss best practice. You could invite suppliers such as occupational health specialists, PPE providers, insurers, authorities, researchers, facilities managers, fitness/wellbeing companies, or advanced driving trainers to support an open dialogue with staff and increase engagement.

“If you already have kaizen or other employee improvement circles, encourage them to focus on H&S improvements.”

Picture: a photograph of two people, both wearing protective hard hats and ear protection plugs. Image Credit: PX Fuel

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 28 April 2022


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