The UK Construction Industry comes First for Safety in Europe

The UK Construction Industry comes First for Safety in Europe

30th August 2018

Great news for everybody working in the UK construction industry – according to a recent survey carried out on behalf of Bosch (one of the world’s leading multinational engineering and electronics companies and maker of some of the most sought-after and highest quality power tools on the planet), tradespeople in the UK are the most safety-conscious in Europe.

In a poll which sought out the views of carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other building trade professionals in the UK and eight other European countries (including Germany, France, Italy and Spain), more than 56% of the tradespeople questioned in the UK said that they stopped work several times a day, or even more frequently, to meet health and safety requirements.  Across the Channel in France, around 35% of workers claimed to stop a similar number of times, while in Spain 37.5% of workers did so and 39% in Germany. 

The survey also provided some insights into which tasks trade professionals place the most importance on in terms of using protective equipment.  Here in the UK, the grinding of metal was rated highest, with 47% of respondents choosing this task, followed closely by drilling concrete (24%) and sawing wood (23%). 

When asked “How much time do you spend daily on complying with safety regulations?” the most popular answer was between 10 and 20 minutes (28% of answers), followed by between 5 and 10 minutes (24%) and 20 minutes (19%).  Thankfully, nobody claimed to spend no time at all on complying with safety regulations. 

When it comes to health and safety interrupting work, the question posed was “How often do you notice health and safety affects your work during the day?”  A majority, 37% of respondents said that it rarely does, followed by 31% who claimed that work is often interrupted, 26% who revealed that their work is very often interrupted and a small percentage (7%) who claimed that their work is never interrupted by health and safety.

The next question was “Which protective features are the most important to you?”  Eye protection came out as the top answer (43%), followed closely by dust protection (36%).  Ear protection and helmets were popular answers, enjoying a 37% response each, while 21% of respondents claimed that safety features in tools were most important to them.  It seems that the percentages in this answer add up to way more than 100, demonstrating that many of the respondents found more than one protective feature an essential element of safety when they work.

These answers represent a boost in confidence for both the construction industry and for health and safety professionals here in the UK. Ascent (Not) Safety Ladders They clearly demonstrate that British construction professionals take the subject of safety and health very seriously indeed and comply with legislation to protect themselves, their colleagues and the public as they work.  This is not always the case in other countries, especially in some of the European countries where the same legislation exists but without being backed up with a stringent enforcement process and worker education.  Just take a look at these photos of a ladder being used in Greece to gain access to paint the outside walls of a villa.  The ladder clearly has just one of its feet resting on a step and the other hanging in mid-air.Ascent Step Unit  Yes, this is against legislation, but without an enforcement process or an awareness campaign, this and similar sights are the norm.