Protecting your workforce

on 16 June, 2014

With the upturn in the UK’s construction sector showing no sign of abating, it is little wonder that so many builders are rushing to fill their order books and reap the rewards of the recovering economy.

However, while it can be easy to revel in this new business, experts are warning that now is the time to ensure your business can cope with the increased demand and to prepare your workforce accordingly.

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) recently announced that there has previously been a pattern of increased deaths and injuries once the volume of work picks up. With the UK Contractors Group reporting 307 injuries per 100,000 workers last year, the HSE is urging people to take care when on site.

With this in mind, how can contractors ensure that they stay safe on site? One simple way is to make certain that the entire workforce is wearing the appropriate PPE clothing such as hard hats, eye protectors and gloves to protect themselves while they work.

In addition, new legislation introduced last year called for all tools being used at height to be tethered to the installer to avoid risk of falling objects. While it may not seem like a particularly important investment, using tool lanyards can save lives.

For example, a 500g screwdriver dropped from 14m will have a mass impact of 73.5kg when it lands – potentially fatal to anyone it lands on, even if they are wearing a hard hat. If an accident such as this was to take place, under the latest regulations, the company would be liable for damages owed to the injured party; therefore the onus is on the site manager to ensure that these regulations are upheld.

It can be easy to think that accidents happen to other people, or on other sites, but the truth is that accidents happen every day. The best way to safeguard yourself against such incidents is to make sure you are safe on site and make the most of new products on the market.

Dominic Proctor is general manager at Parker Merchanting.

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