Eeee! Back in the day, when I were a lad, us in the bulding game were dead ‘ard! Thought nothing of a visit to the hospital to get stitched up!
Bit of a bummer, though, if we were gashed open somewhere that stopped us getting straight back to work! Meant no money coming in for a week or two!
Safety gloves got invented. Trouble with them in the early days was that they interfered too much with manual dexterity. They’ve got a lot better.
Hard hats? Caught my head on a bit of scaffold I couldn’t see because of one. Knocked my specs and cut my nose! Another time actually knocked my specs right off and cost me £350 for new lens. That time, though, suppose I have to admit the hard hat stopped me being brained by the falling timber!
Then, it must have been in the 1980’s, Health And Safety Plans got introduced.
All they were was another heap of paper to be stuck somewhere in the site office and ignored.
The last one just got photocopied for the next job. Somewhere between the 80’s and now, though, things have moved on. PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) is now great stuff! So good, in fact, that I sometimes see it worn as life-style clothing!
Read also: Why we love quality in a construction project
People, myself amongst them, started having to think about the specific risks involved in a project and come up with ways of dealing with them that kept everyone, site visitors as well as site personnel, safe and well.
Yes, we even consider the potential longer-term health threat!
All this has pushed up build costs, though. I had recent personal experience of this! To renew the flashing around our chimney stack cost £120. The scaffolding cost another £480! We just used to use ladders to get up there! I even boast I’ve slipped a couple of times and been stuck on the roof, frozen with the fear of going over the edge.
Like I said; dead ‘ard, me!
However, we do seem to have made progress, some of that courtesy of PPE, because not nearly as many building workers are queuing up at the A&E Departments these days!
But the biggest progress we have made is one that has come about with the change of culture and the attitude we now have to risk in construction.
“Back in the day” construction was rated as a “High Risk” occupation along with deep-sea fishing and mining.
In the 1980’s we experienced 10,000 deaths a year on our sites. Happily none of those have ever been on a site I was either working on or in charge of! These days we are down to 150 deaths a year in construction!
That must surely make any additional incurred costs well worth while! That’s why I love Construction Phase Health and Safety Plans – And you should, too! They are there for everyone to read and everyone should!
They also have the main site- specific risks hammered into heads during Site Inductions – even for Visitors!