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Unskilled Workers And Poor Record-Keeping To Blame For Safety FailuresS
Unskilled Workers And Poor Record-Keeping To Blame For Safety Failures
Construction companies have blamed the lack of skilled workers in the industry for their health and safety blunders.
According to a recent survey by health and safety management platform Safetybank, two-thirds of construction businesses admit they may only “scrape through” a random inspection by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Personnel Today reported.
While this reflects poorly on their own practices, 40 per cent blame the shortage of correctly skilled employees for the blunders. Thirty-six per cent think the lack of accurate recording of staff training, equipment testing, site compliance and accidents at work are some reasons why they would fail an on-the-spot HSE inspection.
While the Health & Safety At Work Act obligates companies in the construction industry to have adequate records of these matters, as well as personnel qualifications and equipment maintenance reports, so they can be handed to the HSE if they come to inspect the site, many building firms neglect to keep sufficient documents.
One of the reasons behind this is due to the administrative difficulty of maintaining these records.
Chief operating officer at Olive Communications, parent company of Safetybank, Lucien Wynn said: “Ensuring that all health and safety compliance records are accurately stored and kept up to date can be a logistical nightmare for health and safety directors. They often have multiple site projects on the go, using various subcontractors who can have hundreds of workers, and the construction organisation is accountable for the safety of each and every one.”
Indeed, more than a third (36 per cent) of construction businesses admit they inaccurately record health and safety compliance matters. As much as 17 per cent still file health and safety data by hand instead of digitally, leading to an even bigger chance of error.
Mr Wynn added: “We often hear how health and safety directors rely on the word of the site manager or employee that compliance records are accurate and up to date, rather than being able to check for themselves due to an archaic and inaccurate data management system that isn’t centralised or easily accessible.”
According to the statistics, 30 per cent of building businesses do not meet the standard for management systems of occupation health and safety called ISO 45001, which was introduced in 2018. Even more concerning is the fact that 17 per cent are not sure what this standard is.
The ISO 45001:2018 is intended to improve occupational health and safety, reduce risks, and get rid of hazards. It applies to any business, no matter how big or small, and affects any occupational health and safety jeopardies that the company has control over.
It is essential that organisations improve their health and safety, whether that is by complying with ISO 45001 or updating their recording system, particularly as there were as many as 555,000 workplace injuries during 2017/18. The HSE’s Labour Force Survey also reported 135,000 injuries over the 12 months that required more than seven days’ absence, which would have had a big financial impact on businesses.
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