Watch your step in construction
Over 1,000 construction workers fracture a bone or dislocate a bone every year in the UK., with thousands more across the world.
This February 2006, as part of an initiative to reduce the number of slips and trips on construction sites, the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors will be carrying out a nationwide 'Watch Your Step' inspection programme.
The construction industry reports in excess of 3,000 slip or trip incidents every year, the true figure could be higher.
Most, slip and trip incidents, are caused by corridors and stairways being obstructed with tools, materials and waste. Trip hazards may also be caused by footpaths which are not properly levelled, or cables trailing across pedestrian routes.
During a similar inspection initiative in October 2005, HSE inspectors took enforcement action at around 11% of sites they visited in respect of good order issues.
During February's site visits, inspectors will expect to find sites where:
- deliveries have been planned to minimise the amount of materials being stored on site;
- contractors have a system in place for managing waste materials;
- footpaths are safe to use; and
- walkways/stairways are kept clear of obstructions.
Site managers should discuss good order issues with their workers, encouraging them to report slip or trip hazards. Managers should also have in place systems ensuring that everyone on site complies with the arrangements for the removal of waste.
To support the initiative, organisations such as UCATT, TGWU, NASC, NCF and CECA will be distributing free good order 'toolbox talk' packs to their members. The packs contain a 5 minute DVD "Watch your step, a toolbox talk for construction", a supporting Good Order On Site booklet and a Good Order poster.
A limited supply of the packs are also available free from HSE Books, Tel: +44 (0)1787 881165.
Visit www.hse.gov.uk/construction/safetytopics/falls.htm for full details of the Watch Your Step in the Construction Industry initiative.
On 3 October 2005, HSE launched a national campaign raising awareness of the cost of slips and trips in the workplace. Further information on the campaign can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/watchyourstep
HSE's Better Business campaign is a national initiative that focuses on raising awareness about the financial and personal costs and causes of workplace incidents. It also shows the real bottom-line benefits of managing health and safety effectively. For further information and to read about the business benefits of better health, go to www.hse.gov.uk/business