The Power of Procedures to Protect in the Workplace

The Power of Procedures to Protect in the Workplace

14th October 2014

When it comes to workplace health and safety, having the right procedures in place is essential if you want to make the work environment as safe as possible for all employees.  Sometimes in the construction industry it can be tempting to disregard common sense in order to “get the job done”.  We’ve probably all done it at some point or another.  Unless there are set rules in place, we tend to make it up as we go along and we don’t always do this with logic and safety in mind.

How many times have you seen somebody cross a barrier without the correct safety equipment (or been guilty of doing so yourself) or doing solo work when you’re well aware that a risk assessment would call for a workmate to help? 

Fatal accidents in the workplace are normally fluke accidents and are the result of negligence or complacency.  How many times have you heard somebody say “I’ve been doing this for years and it’s always been okay”? 

However, it only takes one small slip to become a statistic – an injury (or, even worse, a fatality) in the workplace.

Although accidents at work have decreased significantly in recent years, the provision figure for fatalities in the workplace for 2013/14 is 148.  A massive 584,000 working days were lost due to workplace injuries.

Over half of all fatal accidents fell into three different categories:

  • Falls from height
  • Contact with moving machinery
  • Struck by a vehicle

 In a month long initiative, Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited a total of 2363 sites.  Alarmingly, 631 enforcement notices had to be served across 433 sites for poor practices likely to put workers at risk.  Another 451 notices were served ordering the immediate cessation of work until the situation was put right.

The construction industry has the highest number of fatal injuries in the workplace, narrowly beating the service sector.  With 42 fatal injuries, this is 9% lower than the average for the past five years (46) which is an encouraging trend.

This is why complacency and negligence have no place when it comes to safe working practices and equipment.  If you work in the construction industry, you have an obligation to yourself, your co-workers and your employer to follow best practice at all times.  If you’re an employer in the construction industry, then you have a duty of obligation to ensure that your workers have the correct safety and access equipment for the task at hand and that they have been properly trained. 

There is no room for cutting corners here.   While it may seem cool to adopt a laissez faire attitude towards health and safety regulations, they are there for a reason – to protect YOU!  Make sure you’re well versed in all health and safety procedures in the workplace and don’t become a statistic!