Is non-compliance putting your construction business at risk?

The lack of Health & Safety compliance in the UK Construction industry has a habit of making headlines for the worst possible reasons

Such incidents are, unfortunately, not the exception, but confirms our expectations about a sector that “remains the most dangerous industry in the UK.”, as said Gail Cartmail, assistant general secretary of trade union Unite.

According to Scaffmag’s article mentioned above, the worker who was pronounced dead on the scene suffered fatal injuries after a dumper truck driven by an unqualified driver reversed into him. The 2017 Health & Safety statistics for the construction sector in the UK highlights the main types of accidents that result in fatal injuries and accidents caused by moving vehicles come third, having resulted in 20 deaths between 2012-2017. 

Is there truth to this statement and if so, what can be done to improve the Health & Safety track record of an industry that is already crumbling under vanishing profit margins

Accidents in construction by category

According to Scaffmag’s article mentioned above, the worker who was pronounced dead on the scene suffered fatal injuries after a dumper truck driven by an unqualified driver reversed into him. The 2017 Health & Safety statistics for the construction sector in the UK highlights the main types of accidents that result in fatal injuries and accidents caused by moving vehicles come third, having resulted in 20 deaths between 2012-2017. 

Falls from a height are, as it seems, not as easily preventable as one might have foreseen. But even more disturbing is the stark contrast between Construction and other industries when it comes to the rate of fatal injuries. 

The financial costs of lack of compliance in the construction industry

With an annual number of fatalities towering over all other industries, construction has paid a heavy price last year, both in terms of the conviction rate (94%), total fines (£16M) and the average fine (£77,000). The industry simply cannot afford neither the human costs, nor the financial ones of non-compliance. 

Source: HSE government statistics

 

Enforcement through technology - the role of prevention in health & safety compliance

 

Every fatality is a tragic event that should not happen.

Martin Temple, HSE chair

 

The tools to prevent fatal and non-fatal injuries in construction already exist and they revolve around Accident Prevention and Real-time visibility. Technology has a way of ensuring processes are adhered to, validated at all times and improved upon.

Companies in construction, specialist engineering and utility contracting know exactly which safety KPIs they need to track, but they may not be aware that it is possible to do so in real-time, so that team leaders have a chance to intervene before non-compliance results in injury or fatality. 

All necessary audits and inspections can be carried from a mobile app; the mobile app also empowers field workers to raise any security alerts immediately to their supervisors. Mobile data capture allows companies to go through pre-defined workflows that contain all inspection checks to be carried out. Mobile data capture is also used to record all manner of data that companies can use to safeguard themselves: from the position of the vehicles present on the site, to the record of all safety barriers in place, there is scope for companies to score 100% in Health & Safety requirements and we have seen our clients reach these impressive scores

The role of data in Health & Safety compliance

Once data analytics is introduced, managers can also check, track and improve safety scores across teams and sites. Identifying which ones might be underperforming is key to remedy any recurrent breaches in Health & Safety. Being able to present your data is vital: it arms you with power of proof and tangible evidence of your performance, which can be used both towards internal and external stakeholders. Data used to produce executive dashboards can also generate PDF reports, so that no matter what format you need to work with, it will be attainable. 

2018 has just started and there is no way of predicting what it will bring. But if there is something we all know, it is that mistakes and accidents happen. Some, like those resulting from non-compliance, can be prevented and the positive effectives of prevention and compliance are far reaching, as can be seen from the image below:

In an industry moving steadily towards servitization, it is no longer enough to reduce contract performance to pounds and pennies: the unique selling point for construction enterprises nowadays is in the value of the service they provide. The level of that service will be compared and benchmarked against other players in the industry and will impact, either positively or negatively, the amount of work your particular company is likely to win in the future.

 

What are your thoughts on Health & Safety enforcement? Have you come across any challenges in that area and where you able to overcome them by using technology? 

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