Calls to end dangerous workplaces by peoplesafe

Peoplesafe calls for an end to dangerous workplaces

Saying that working in construction can be a dangerous job might just be the biggest understatement of the century – I know, I know, Captain Obvious over here. What people may not realise, though, is that this is something that weighs heavily on construction workers’ minds, so much so that safety concerns are often the reason they end up leaving the industry.

Peoplesafe, the leading provider of employee protection services in the UK, partnering with both private and public sector organisations, has recently released the results of a landmark study they conducted into perceptions of personal safety at work in the production and manual trade industries.

The study, which was conducted with 2,081 non-vulnerable and potentially vulnerable workers, found that personal safety is a major concern for employees in these industries, with 57% of the interviewees admitting they worry about their personal safety at work at least once a year.

Now, this doesn’t exactly come as breaking news to most of us. In fact, TOOLKiT recently reported on the workplace safety innovations being implemented across Canada’s construction industry, where more than 40,000 workers are hurt each year as a result of workplace accidents.

The statistics in the UK are equally dismal and though Health and Safety seems to be one of those gimmicky phrases on everyone’s mouth these days, it seems little improvement is actually happening industry-wide, as 66% of employees in production and manual trade industries still find themselves concerned about potential injuries while completing a physical task.

However, while 6.8 million workers worry about their safety each week, the majority of employers underestimate their level of concern, the survey found.

General workforce safety concerns

  • 6.8 million workers worry about their safety each week
  • 22% of former lone workers and frontline staff said safety concerns was among the reasons they chose to leave their job
  • 57% of employers underestimate the level of concern in their staff
  • 56% of employees in production and manual trade industries are worried about facing aggression from a customer or service user at work

Policy makers and businesses across the UK are facing a recruitment and retention challenge in front line roles. Although the study found that many businesses want to do more to protect their employees, many struggle to know how they can help.

The new report explores this issue of workplace safety and presents solutions for how employers and Government can work together to address these challenges.

The most crucial recommendation to come out of the report is that, in order to better protect employees, regulators must give clearer guidance and the Government should work with all parties to set out a standard of protection that employees can easily understand and access – it can’t be left up to the individual to figure it out for themselves anymore.

Lower cost security measures now exist and can be better tailored to a wider array of employees. The most effective are personal safety alarms that provide a strong level of protection, can support the prevention of incidents, and critically manage issues. Where CCTV systems may cost thousands of pounds, some personal safety alarms are now the price of a cup of coffee – basically you’re forking out a couple of pounds in exchange for near instant access to the police.

There is a clear, tangible benefit to recruitment and perceptions of roles if prospective employees are offered technology and personal safety solutions that they know will reliably keep them out of harm’s way.

Naz Dossa, Chief Executive of Peoplesafe, comments:

“Britain’s workforce is our most valuable asset, and it has faced up to considerable challenges throughout the pandemic while continuing to deliver fantastic services. Despite this, we are facing a cross-industry problem that few have come to terms with.

We need to shift the dial on the importance of employee personal safety. By supporting businesses to act in the best way possible, and by giving employees greater peace of mind through recognised standards, we can make a genuine difference.”

Though it may seem like the trades have been consistently overlooked throughout the past decade as more and more businesses and industries took steps toward safeguarding their employees, studies and reports like this are helping to change the mentality around Health and Safety in construction.

Hopefully, business owners and employers will listen and make their workplaces safer for everyone.

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