Construction Industry ‘Must Improve Safety’ For Residents & Workers

The construction industry in the UK needs to prioritise the health and safety of its employees, yes, but also of the residents that live in the buildings that are being erected.

This is the assertion of chief executive of the Construction Industry Council Graham Watts, writing for Raconteur, who explained that regulations are in place to improve the welfare, health and safety of people working in the sector… but once the work has been completed, there is no remit for the health and safety of the completed building’s occupants.

He went on to note that if the industry is able to realise significant change in order to improve the safety of its workers, then surely it must be able to work alongside property owners, the government and the fire safety sector in order to enact the same culture change for inhabitants of the buildings being constructed.

Achievements that have already been realised where worker health and safety is concerned includes seeing work-related deaths in construction drop by 66 per cent in 2010 from its peak in 1990, with this downward trend continuing – with 38 fatalities seen in 2016/2017, a drop of 75 per cent.

“Industry and government are giving significant attention to enhancing existing dutyholder roles and developing parallel responsibilities for a dutyholder throughout the life of a higher-risk residential building. This includes the appointment of a building safety co-ordinator for every such building, hopefully with a view to legislation coming before parliament next year,” Mr Watts went on to observe.

As for those working on site, investing in smart technology could prove to be particularly useful in reducing the fatality rate on construction sites even further.

Writing for PBC Today, director of Bull Products Bradley Markham suggested that virtual reality can be used to help support health and safety training on site, allowing staff members to reduce accidents by recreating potential incidents in a virtual world, boosting awareness of dangerous situations and reducing on-site injuries.

Drones, meanwhile, could help managers inspect jobs from above or even access places where it’s dangerous for people go physically go. This means that potential hazards could be spotted, with ongoing activity monitored with ease.

Mr Markham explained that this will also help to boost efficiencies and save companies money because it means there’s no longer any need for in-person inspections.

Wireless technology was also put forward as the “ideal solution” for sites and building complexes with more than one building. For example, wireless fire alarms can be installed on site and then removed once the work has been completed. Since false alarms can see costs run into the billions, a wireless system can see construction companies reap all sorts of benefits.

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