The hazards behind the 4 riskiest jobs in the UK’s deadliest industry
Posted on 21st Dec, 2018 | By Lorretta Tatham
Official statistics from the British Health and Safety Executive has shown time and again that construction is one of the most dangerous industries in which to work here in the UK, closely followed by agriculture and manufacturing. (You can click here to read the full list of the most dangerous British industries.) But what exactly makes these construction jobs so hazardous, and what can site managers do to mitigate them?
We’ll start with a job whose dangers are likely self-evident, especially to seasoned site managers. Working at height carries the inherent risk of falling, and the heights involved means that these falls can frequently be deadly. There are a number of contributing factors that can lead to these falls. Often, they’re associated with safety equipment (such as harnesses) that haven’t been properly inspected and thus aren’t fit for use. In some more worrying cases, sometimes this equipment has never been provided in the first place.
In other instances, falls can also be the result of safety procedures not being followed closely enough – a risk which site managers can cut down on by ensuring proper training is provided by a qualified professional, and subsequently rigorously followed.
Along with roofers, this is one of the more universal jobs for new builds. No matter whether the building in question is earmarked for use as a private residence or a commercial office building, it will still need wiring. A highly skilled job, the dangerous voltages involved can expose electricians to their own fair share of risk. Common causes of injury or death for electricians can involve electric shocks, falls, incorrect use of equipment, or substandard safety devices and procedures. Once again, site managers can mitigate these risks by ensuring that full training is provided, and regular PAT tests are conducted to ensure that all safety equipment is up to a sufficient standard.
You don’t particularly need industry-specific knowledge to realise why demolition workers are exposed to significant risk while at work. They’re operating in constantly shifting, often unstable environments, and sometimes at great height. The nature of demolition also means that even structures which appear still stable at first glance can prove themselves not to be – frequently quite suddenly, and occasionally with disastrous consequences if the risks have not been properly assessed.
There’s also an often-underestimated risk to the health of demolition workers, too: disease. Dismantling buildings routinely exposes demolition workers to clouds of dust and even asbestos, both of which can cause fatal lung diseases.
Working at height is dangerous enough, but when working hundreds of feet in the air, these risks are amplified. Newer models of cranes are frequently outfitted with lifts to carry their operators directly up to the cabin, but for older models, this is often substituted by a simple ladder. In wet or rainy conditions, workers can easily slip from these ladders, which can lead to severe or even fatal injuries.
On top of this, the sheer height of cranes means they’re exposed to the most extreme weather elements, including heavy winds. If they’re not erected with sufficient stability, these winds can sometimes be sufficient to blow them over, which can have devastating consequences, both for the operators and those on the ground. Thankfully, these types of accidents are relatively rare – if anything, the ladders pose a far more significant risk!
Here at Browns Safety, we’re committed to safeguarding the physical health of both you and your employees, no matter what industry you work in. We offer a number of safety courses to help you mitigate risks at work, many of which are often helpful for those working in construction, such as our Scaffold Tower Training course. For those working in other sectors, amongst the most universally helpful is our first aid at work course – you can choose between our 1 day or 3 day variant. To book your place, you can use the on-site form, or simply give us a call on 01282 615517.