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February 3, 2014

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HSE clamping down on ill health on construction sites


The HSE is clamping down on poor standards of welfare and unsafe work on building sites in the West Midlands, as part of an annual push to reduce death, injury and ill health in the construction industry.
During the concentrated drive in February, the HSE will visit sites across the region, focusing on ill health on construction sites. This will cover issues such as noise and vibration, manual handling, dermatitis and correct use of PPE.
Unannounced visits will be made across the West Midlands, with local HSE inspectors checking to ensure that high-risk activities, like working with noisy, vibrating power tools, are being done safely. 
They will also be checking that welfare facilities on site are adequate. This includes having hot, running water available so substances like cement can be washed away quickly and the development of dermatitis can be avoided. 
Inspectors will also check that protective equipment, including respiratory protection, is in good working order and fits the wearer correctly.
During their checks, HSE inspectors will consider whether:
€ᄁ proper monitoring and control arrangements to prevent unnecessary exposure to harmful dusts are in place;
€ᄁ work areas are clear of unnecessary materials and waste and welfare facilities are adequate.
The HSE’s latest figures show that construction workers are nearly four times as likely to be killed at work compared to the average worker, and an estimated 70,000 people in the industry will be suffering ill health as a result of their work.
HSE principal inspector for the West Midlands construction division, Jo Anderson,  said: “Too many people die every year on Britain’s construction sites as a result of entirely avoidable incidents but it is just as important to protect workers from the causes of ill health, such as unnecessary exposure to asbestos or silica dust, which can have fatal or debilitating consequences. 
“This initiative provides a chance to engage with construction firms to help them understand what they need to do, so they can put in place the practical measures needed to keep people safe. In many cases, simple changes to working practices can make all the difference, and even save lives.
“However, if we find evidence that workers are being unnecessarily and irresponsibly put at risk we will not hesitate to take robust action. Companies that deliberately cut corners and put their workers or others at risk will feel the full weight of the law.
“Given one in three sites failed a recent clampdown on refurbishment projects in the region, it’s important to keep up momentum and target problem areas such as not providing basic welfare facilities for workers.”

What makes us susceptible to burnout?

In this episode  of the Safety & Health Podcast, ‘Burnout, stress and being human’, Heather Beach is joined by Stacy Thomson to discuss burnout, perfectionism and how to deal with burnout as an individual, as management and as an organisation.

We provide an insight on how to tackle burnout and why mental health is such a taboo subject, particularly in the workplace.


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