Could the Current Crisis Lead to Health & Safety Improvements?
The crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown has deeply affected most people in one way or another. However, a recent survey suggested that there is hope that it could lead to health & safety improvements in the long term.
Details of the Survey
Lenstore asked a group of British workers how they believe that safety regulations will be affected by the crisis. 31% of them responded that it will have a positive effect and be taken more seriously now.
On the other hand, 25% of those who were asked think that the Covid-19 pandemic will have negative consequences for health and safety at work. 15% stated that they think that regulations will be taken to the extreme, causing a negative outcome overall.
The same survey also revealed that 10% of British workers have taken time off work in the last year due to their job. The highest percentage (21%) said that this was due to stress. 20% blamed it on anxiety and 14% mentioned depression as being the main factor.
23% of those surveyed think that an open and honest culture is the key to better health & safety conditions.
The Importance of Training Managers on Safety Matters
A separate study looked into the importance of training in protecting workers. In the case, the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) used a YouGov survey of close to 700 business leaders to pull together their numbers.
The vast majority of them (96%) said that line managers are essential in keeping workers safe. Yet, 19% of them don’t have any training set up for managers on this subject. 21% also reported that some sort of failure by management had been a factor in past accidents.
New and Existing Risks Need to Be Taken Into Account
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently pointed out the importance of continuing to be vigilant on other safety matters, rather than focusing solely on the emerging measures that are needed due to Covid-19.
They used the example of waste management staff, who could step into incoming traffic due to being focused on maintaining their social distancing. While this industry has a high injury rate, it is the construction sector that sees most fatalities. 40 of the 111 fatal accidents at work in the year to March 2020 involved construction workers.
Falls from height were the most common cause of workplace death in the last year, with 29 instances. Employees getting hit by a vehicle caused 20 fatalities, while other moving objects led to 18 of the deaths that were reported in the period.
In the construction industry, the use of safety equipment such as a step unit or suitable ladders is one of the existing measures that shouldn’t be neglected at any time. Combining these safety procedures with the latest advice is set to be one of the industry’s top challenges.
Looking ahead, it seems likely that we will see more of a focus on health and safety issues in future. This can only be a good thing provided that it is done with the correct focus on new and existing risks.