A glance at official statistics shows that construction industry worksite injuries are down across the board. However, it remains a high-risk industry, with a recent HSE press release showing that construction accounts for 27% of fatalities across all industry workplace fatalities. These rates are deemed as high by the HSE.
With the risk of injury increasing, it falls to employers and employees to take responsibility for their personal protection. Workplace safety training is mandated by the government and covers the government and employers from liability. Clearly, more needs to be done to bring preventable deaths down, and that’s where technology and legislation is coming in.
Cost of injury to the country
According to HSE statistics, the cost of injury claims made against employers formed a large part of the yearly £5.3bn workplace injury cost. Changes in governmental employee legislation and case law is constantly altering this landscape and the impact of legislation on employers from employees posing legal challenges. The proliferation of technology including LegalZoom is making it far easier for injured employees to seek the right level of compensation and restitution for injury.
Airborne carcinogenic materials
Modern construction is undergoing an overhaul as technology allows the industry to regalvanise. A report by the Telegraph outlined the transformative power of offsite building and how it allows quality control and reduced transportation costs, benefiting the environment. However, as physical risks associated with movement of weight and physical work reduce, esoteric risks increase. The HSE have outlined how cancer is now one of the biggest risks to construction workers as a result of their profession, frequently from asbestos exposure in tearing down old buildings, and from silica. PPE can go a long way to tackling this, although modern technology is pushing the use of microfilters in construction environments, too.
Hazardous substance inhalation
Like the risk of inhalation causing cancer, there are multiple hazardous substances in a construction environment that are a cause for concern. This is exacerbated in new builds, where plastics, glass, and steel are concerned. PVC and fiberglass, when damaged, can cause serious damage to the workings of the body and are both commonly used in a wide range of modern buildings.
The construction industry remains an inherently hazardous profession. New technology and modern ways of working mean that the risks have changed, but are still present. Stay aware of the risks, be well appraised of your rights – both as an employee and employer – and be safe.