Why Safety and Health at Work Is Essential to Construction
Blog-April 22, 2022
The construction sector employs over 3 million people in the UK¹. And every single one of them deserves to arrive at their worksite each morning knowing that their safety and health will be properly taken care of.
That is why World Day for Safety and Health at Work is so important to us. Each year, an average of seven workers die as a result of accidents involving vehicles on construction sites, and a further 93 are seriously injured².
We believe it is our responsibility to help put an end to this. At Kelling, we pride ourselves on not only providing market-leading Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms and Mobile Welfare Units – but truly partnering with our clients to create the best possible environment onsite.
In this article, we explore five key safety and health challenges construction and infrastructure projects face, as well as offering tips to reduce risk and keep workers safe.
1. Working from heights
The most common onsite safety risk is working from heights. It is responsible for nearly one third of all fatal onsite accidents³.
From unstable surfaces to incorrect use of ladders or overstretching, there are a number of risks to individuals working at heights. There is also the risk that workers will drop equipment from heights, which puts those on the ground in danger too.
The key to ensuring safety when working from heights is proper preparation. The UK government’s guidance is clear: management should assess risks; put in place safety equipment such as fall restraints and safety nets; and provide the most reliable access vehicles and equipment on the market⁴.
2. Unpredictable conditions
Because most construction and infrastructure projects are undertaken outside, the physical conditions we face are a significant factor. From changing weather to sloping ground, there are a number of ways these conditions can create safety risks.
These are particularly important when working from heights. Before operating Vehicle Mounted Access Platforms or other access vehicles, operators should: assess the weather, to avoid strong winds and heavy rain; inspect the ground to ensure it is secure and there is plenty of space; and assess the surroundings to ensure there are no hazards, such as high cables.
It is easy for workers to unknowingly put themselves in danger if operations are not clear and communication is poor. Many accidents occur because personnel, vehicles or equipment are simply not visible enough.
This is why high-visibility Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) must be mandatory at all times onsite. Leaders should go a step further, and ensure every vehicle features flashing beacons and rear chevrons – both of which are included as a standard on all Kelling Group vehicles.
4. Malfunctioning equipment
The first three risks we’ve explored are directly within the control of onsite personnel. But another key risk to construction and infrastructure workers is malfunctioning, poorly maintained vehicles and equipment.
A single failure in a Vehicle Mounted Access Platform can result in serious dangers. Maintenance on these vehicles is costly and difficult to manage and remain compliant as they are a specialist piece of equipment.
To create a truly safe onsite environment, vehicles and equipment must be more carefully maintained. This is why Kelling Group includes regular maintenance and 24/7 support on every vehicle we rent or lease – so no personnel ever have to question the safety of their equipment.
5. Hygiene and welfare
While physical safety is generally prioritised on construction and infrastructure sites, it’s important to recognise that health extends beyond merely avoiding accidents. Instead, it involves efforts to keep workers healthy and happy.
This is why quality mobile welfare units are essential on any truly safe site. From hot water basins and non-chemical, water-flush ceramic WCs to large, comfortable spaces for workers to relax and socialise in, our mobile welfare units are designed to ensure maximum hygiene and mental wellbeing onsite.
If you’d like to discover how Kelling Group can make your site safer and more profitable, reach out to our sales team today.