If there’s anything guaranteed to keep contractors awake at night (apart from worrying about getting paid) it’s the fear of someone getting injured on one of their sites.
Presumably, that’s why nearly every contractor one speaks to declares that the safety and well-being of employees and members of the public is their top priority at all times. And so it should be.
But despite all the brave talk, people are being horribly injured on British construction sites every week. Last year, 39 people were killed in construction accidents which, although the number’s fallen steadily for over a decade, is still unacceptable.
Pity the poor old Health & Safety Executive. It seems that half the industry complains that the HSE isn’t doing enough to sort the problem out, while the other half moans that it is interfering, bureaucratic and a waste of time.
OK, maybe the split isn’t quite 50:50. But last month there was almost certainly a sharp increase in the number of builders around the country that thought the latter.
These were the small contractors working mainly on refurbishment projects – usually away from the spotlight – who suddenly found themselves caught in the glare of the HSE’s annual inspection initiative.
As HSE chief inspector of construction Heather Bryant explains in our feature beginning on page 24, small sites, and especially small refurbishment projects, have some of the worst safety records in the industry. And as our feature illustrates, the
HSE inspectors found some grim evidence of this last month.
Presumably, these aren’t the contractors who lie awake at night worrying about the safety of the people on their sites.
Health & Safety