Construction companies are risking prosecution by failing to protect their employees. The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 puts the responsibility on the employer to ensure a safe work environment, as free of risk as possible.
However, many construction companies in the UK today are struggling with compliance. Antiquated methods of record-keeping, insufficient training, and poor communication throughout the workplace are contributing to employee fatalities each year. To understand the scope of company compliance and why businesses felt they couldn’t uphold their responsibility, we conducted a study.
We surveyed 2,000 UK construction companies, split equally between large enterprises and SMEs, to discover what areas they needed to improve in. Our latest infographic explores the questions we posed and the state of workplace safety within the sector.
A Glimpse at the Statistics
The construction industry is responsible for the second-highest mortality rate of any sector in the UK. We surveyed 2,000 companies, split equally between large businesses and SMEs, and the statistics over the last year prove how hazardous an environment it is:
- 30 worker fatalities
- 79,000 workers with work-related ill health
- 54,000 non-fatal injuries
Top 5 Causes of Death in Construction
- 49% - Falls from height
- 14% - Trapped by something
- 11% - Struck by moving object
- 10% - Struck by moving vehicle
- 5% - Electricity
Top 4 Causes of Non-fatal Injuries
- 25% - Slips, trips, and falls
- 20% - Lifting or carrying
- 18% - Falls from a height
- 12% - Struck by a moving object
It is the duty of the employer to ensure a safe working environment for their workers. Being able to pass a health and safety inspection is a basic requirement that all companies should fulfil. Yet, of the companies we asked, only 33% were very confident that they'd pass an on-the-spot inspection. 41% of companies believed they 'might scrape through', while 26% weren't confident about passing at all - over a quarter of the 2,000 construction companies we surveyed would fail an on-the-spot HSE inspection.
When asked why they were struggling to comply with legislation, companies gave a variety of responses:
- 40% - Shortage of skilled workers
- 36% - Poor record management
- 25% - Limited access to paperwork
- 24% - Staff training and cutbacks
We then asked if the companies were compliant with the newest international safety standard, ISO 45001. 10% of businesses had no idea.
The report showcased that businesses both large and small are failing their workers by not adhering to health and safety legislation, leaving themselves open to prosecution.
Lessons From the Report
By not implementing and communicating health and safety best practice processes, UK construction companies are putting their employees, and themselves, at risk. UK construction companies have cited a lack of correctly skilled workers as the main factor behind the fear of failing an inspection. This result highlights the necessity of correct training and communication in the construction sector, an industry that is inherently dangerous to work in.
Another takeaway from the report is the need for an up to date method of record-keeping. Many companies are at risk of prosecution due to outdated processes for managing health and safety documents - some organisations still deal with their documentation by hand, rather than digitally. When asked how they could improve, the businesses wanted to take their systems online so long as the infrastructure was there to do it efficiently.
It’s clear that most businesses surveyed would benefit from an all-in-one, digital platform to manage health and safety matters. Safetybank offers a comprehensive health and safety software that enables companies to monitor their workplace safety and manage their documents all in one place. Download the full report on the UK construction industry's health and safety standards to see the full extent of the sector's struggle with compliance.