2014 - Safety Ladders in Review

2014 - Safety Ladders in Review

05th January 2015

Health and safety is the name of the game in the construction industry.  We’re living in the Digital Age and rapid advancements in technology are changing our lives, changing our homes, changing our workplaces and making the UK a safer place to live and work.  2014 saw the construction industry beginning to make a recovery after the economic downturn that began in 2008.  We’re taking a look today at some of the most important developments in the construction industry and health and safety issues over the past year.

November was a pretty busy month with Dr. Richard Judge joining the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as Chief Executive.  Dr. Judge is a qualified Chartered Director and has previously acted as General and Chief Executive of the Insolvency Service and Chief Executive of CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries, & Aquaculture Science). 

November also saw the second National Tower Week for PASMA (Prefabricated Access Suppliers and Manufacturers Association.  PASMA has campaigned to help ensure that those who work using towers are well versed in safety matters, including using the correct equipment.

Despite the HSE investing millions of pounds in the last year in order to raise awareness of how important basic health and safety is in the workplace, and initiatives which have seen spot checks on construction companies nationwide, it is still alleged that up to 40% of construction sites are failing to adequately protect workers.

The results of an online survey by Ucatt, the construction union has revealed that employers still have a long way to go when it comes to health and safety in the workplace.  55% of those who completed the survey disclosed that they had seen no improvement in safety on their sites in the past year while a shocking 11% claimed that their workplace had actually become a more dangerous place to work.  Alarmingly, 21% of those surveyed said they did not believe that their employer took health and safety seriously at all. 

The biggest concerns of those who completed the survey were falls from heights, manual handling/lifting and stress.  A shocking revelation is that 36% of respondents said that colleagues had been exposed to asbestos in the past 12 months and that employers don’t have adequate procedures in place to prevent exposure. 

On a more positive note, three construction bosses have been recognised on the Queen’s New Year Honours list.  Chief Executive of Bam Nutall, Stephen Fox, Chief Executive of Costain, Andrew Wyllie and former Chief Executive of Kier, Paul Sheffield (who is now Managing Director for Laing O’Rourke’s European Hub) have all been awarded CBEs.

Keeping things positive, the construction industry itself has been undergoing a strong recovery and the future is looking fairly bright.  Check out our predictions for 2015 in the next blog post.