Why is the Occupational Safety and Health at Worksites Vital?
We work to live and not vice-versa! That is why living is more important than working.
Construction is indisputably a very risky profession with one of the highest fatality rates. On average, about 3% (or 60,000) of construction workers get injured at the site while 4% (or 80,000) suffer from work-related illnesses annually.
To gain further insights, let’s look at the statistics for the 2014-2015 period:
- 142 construction workers died while working on site
- 611,000 cases of injury – minor and major – was recorded within a construction site
- A whopping 27.3 million workdays were lost due to on-site injury and illness
- The cost of these injuries and illnesses is estimated to be $18.75 billion
These statistics show us the price we had to pay for not giving occupational health and safety the attention it deserves. We will pay more than that in years to come if topnotch occupational safety and health practices are not imbibed in the construction industry.
Benefits of Occupational Health and Safety
Good Occupational Safety and Health practice at sites ensure good well-being of workers, companies, industry, and society at large. Workers become safer, more productive, and employable whereas companies grow and become more profitable. In a nutshell, everyone wins.
Safe workplaces contribute to sustainable development, which is the key to poverty reduction. Employers that understand the long term financial and cultural benefits derived from world-class safety management and leadership will be more likely to develop a proactive safety and health system that not only meets OSHA requirements but far exceeds them.
Benefits to Construction Workers
Good Occupational Safety and Health saves Construction Workers from fatalities. It’s certainly not a nice feeling being sick, injured, or in extreme cases, dead. There is no “loss of income” and a “high medical cost” to worry about. Moreover, it also boosts construction workers’ morale, productivity, and consequently career. These benefits are greater for low-paid workers in high-risk occupations and settings, and in this way, occupational health interventions can reduce inequities
Benefits to Companies
Fatalities at worksites invite prosecution, bad press, a decline in production, and loss of revenue. Everyone strives to avoid unsafe projects, be it workers, customers, or investors and thus it becomes more important for companies to care for the health and safety of workers.
The prosecution aspect is feared the most as it might delay or shelve the project, resulting in a loss of millions of dollars. Bad press is equally harmful as it dents the reputation build over years by the company and turns customers away from the company
Adopting Occupational Safety and Health standards also help the project to be completed on budget and times. A safe and healthy workplace makes workers more efficient and this reflects well on the project.
How to ensure health and safety standards at sites
We do it by preventing unqualified access to the site. We disqualify workers without proper health and safety training from working on sites. To prove you are a worker trained in safety, there is a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to get. The trick is that you can’t get the card without attending a Health and safety awareness course and then passing a safety test which ensures you have developed the ability to ensure a safer and healthier site. Moreover, the card also certifies you are a competent worker with good knowledge of your trade.
Do you have untrained employees/visitors that want to visit the worksite? Enroll them in an appropriate occupational safety and health training course before allowing them into the construction worksite. This method will help to minimize/eliminate worksite accidents, especially those ones that are due to ignorance.