The UK's construction sector must improve its Health and safety standards according to interior fit-out company Newman Scott.
Said company was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) back in 2013, for failing to follow appropriate health and safety processes. Newman Scott hopes other construction companies learn from the mistakes of others as well as the HSE's refurbishment initiative. By acting now, Newman Scott suggests that the number of deaths, injuries and cases of ill health in their industry can be reduced.
The HSE's initiative involves the regulator visiting refurbishment sites across the country in a bid to identify and rectify poor safety practices.
Commenting, John Graham, who is the new Managing Director of Newman Scott, stated:
"I would urge everyone in the construction industry to take action now in protecting the health and safety of your workers. Don't let a prosecution or worse the death or injury of a colleague be the catalyst for change..."
"We were mortified at the thought of being prosecuted because we had a good safety record and thought we were pretty good at health and safety.
"A sub-contractor was using a poorly erected mobile scaffold, on an escalator between the ground and first floor, and although no-one was hurt there was a very real and high risk of injury, or worse, to the operatives.
"We had a choice, we could consider ourselves lucky there were no injuries or we could hold a full and frank internal investigation, understand what had gone wrong and make sure our sites were safe for our workers...
"We focused on improving the already positive safety culture in the company through better communication, more training, more competency checking and giving more ownership of health and safety to our employees. Most importantly our employees knew they could say no, without fear of retribution, to any request from a client or director if they felt it could not be carried out without risking their health or their safety...
"Of course HSE has an enforcement function and this may make them appear formal but there was a genuine desire from them to help us make the workplace a safer, healthier place. We were treated with respect and courtesy and that helped us approach the whole experience in a positive way, maximising the improvements to the benefit of everyone on our sites.
"We cannot say that we will have no more lapses in the future. We can say that all our people sleep easier in their beds knowing that we are all doing all we can to make sure we have safer, healthier sites. That peace of mind is priceless."
Also commenting, Jo Anderson, who heads up the HSE's construction initiative, stated:
"We are grateful to Newman Scott for sharing their experience and for how they have responded to the prosecution.
"We hope everyone can learn from their lessons and realise it is vital when carrying out construction work that the right management systems are in place so risks to workers' health are controlled just as effectively as safety. Workers within construction are paying too high a toll on their health and safety when it is completely avoidable by planning the work, providing the right kit and making sure it is used properly."
If you have had a construction accident Lawford Claims' personal injury lawyers can help you in identifying the insurance company responsible and recovering proper compensation. Please phone for free advice on 0808 271 7424. You can also use our online contact form.