UK Health And Safety Regulations Rock!

UK Health And Safety Regulations Rock!

12th February 2014

The construction industry in the UK is one of the safest in the world as we strive to ensure that risks are minimised for people who work at height.  Years of government safety legislation has resulted in some pretty strict regulations to protect employees in the UK who are required to access hard to reach places during the course of their work.  However, this is not the case in other parts of the world, especially in developing nations where the authorities are busy building a modern infrastructure.  Even in parts of Europe, noticeably Greece, EU Health and Safety Regulations are disregarded much of the time by both the government and the population.

A recent visit to Greece left me amazed at the scant disregard for European legislation of all kinds.  Smoking is still fully acceptable indoors and most bars and restaurants sport ashtrays on every table.  No smoking regulations are in force in Athens airport, however, but the airport does contain one smoking café (that is fully enclosed by glass and is chock full of customers at all times!).

Moving away from mainland Greece onto the islands is like taking a trip back in time.  The tiny island of Spetses has only allowed cars for the past twenty years or so and most locals travel on scooters and motorbikes.  Seeing a family of five on their way to church, all dressed up in their Sunday best and riding on one small scooter is a sight to behold – Dad at the handlebars, with Mum behind and a tiny baby sandwiched in between them and a toddler on Dad’s lap, with another clinging tightly to Mum. 

Then there’s the glazier who zips around on a scooter with his mate on the back holding a large pane of glass.  What about the builders – some ride their motorbikes with a ladder held under one arm, others ride around with long-handled shovels and buckets aboard.  One builder I saw had a novel way of transporting his tools – he rode the bike with his mate behind facing backwards and clutching the handles of a wheelbarrow full of tools, using the wheelbarrow as a makeshift trailer!

When I visited GreCE Marked Fabrications - Health And Safetyece, many businesses were clearing up and doing maintenance work ready for the summer season to begin.  I saw plenty of ladders, not one of which would pass a safety check.  Many sported ramshackle repairs and some looked like two or three ladders cobbled together.

Although we often take the mick out of the health and safety regulations here in the UK, we should really be proud of them and grateful that our government enforces them so diligently.  Yes, it may seem a little tedious at times to have to do a safety check each time you go up a ladder, but we do have one of the best safety records in the world when it comes to working at heights.  There is plenty of information available online with industry-specific information across a wide range of sectors.  We haven’t totally removed the risks involved with working at height, but we’re well on the way to making Britain one of the safest places in the world to live and work.