Making Britain a Safer Place to Work
We’re living in the 21st Century – what looked like the future to us back in the eighties and nineties. It was hard to even imagine what it would be like living in a brand new millennium with progress and development that many of us would have found hard to imagine. Well, believe it – the future is here and the future is now and Britain is at the forefront of this brave new world in all kinds of ways. One of the ways in which Britain is leading the world is by becoming a much safer country in which to work. This is true whatever type of industry we look at, though the construction industry is still considered to be one of the most risky to work in.
However, emerging technologies, modern materials and progress in safety legislation means that deaths and injuries in the workplace in the UK are at an all-time low here in the UK which is good news for all of us. However, just because we’re experiencing success in lowering the number of accidents in the workplace, that’s not reason for us to become complacent – we all have a responsibility and a duty to try to lower these figures even more.
A stringent safety management system is a great way of ensuring that accident and fatality figures continue to drop. However, while it’s an important factor in preventing accidents, there are other powerful reasons for setting up a good safety management system – it can actually lead to a reduction of at least 25% of safety related losses. When you consider that safety related losses can account for up to 9% of the total cost of a project, you begin to see just how much this is.
While working in the construction industry is a risky business, working on roofs is the most dangerous activity. Employers and building owners have a legal obligation to ensure that a risk assessment is carried out before any work is begun and to provide the requisite collective or personal protective equipment. This means that rooftops should be made safer with a demarcation barrier system that prevents workers from getting close to the edge.
This means that for every £100 million spent on major project, up to £9 million will disappear as a direct result of health and safety management factors, accidents and the outcomes of health and safety failures.
In the UK the average cost of a serious accident is estimated to be in the region of £40,999, while the cost of a fatality would be as much as £1.5 million. While it’s important to avoid accidents as a way of keeping down costs, there are even more serious issues concerned. A serious accident is likely to be life-changing, not just for the person involved in the accident, but also for that person’s family and, to a certain extent, friends.
A fatality is irreversible and has a wide reaching effect. There will usually be a young family growing up having lost a parent – this can have a long-term negative effect that families find impossible to recover from. It’s not just the loss of income (that’s usually the least of the problems experience by a family that has lost a parent) that causes hardship – it’s the loss of a person who just cannot be replaced.
Let’s all strive to make Britain a safer place to work – we don’t just owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our families and their future.