Health and safety is often met with a groan from many, no matter what industry you work in or position you may hold. Health in particular has probably never been higher on everyone’s agenda than in the last year. We have discussed previously the impact of Covid-19 on health policies at work as you can see in our article posted in March. For those of you who haven’t read the article, we highlighted some of the new site rules which employees need to adhere to such as social distancing, wearing face masks, hand hygiene, working in bubbles and use of rest rooms/canteens etc. Such policies are of course not specific to the construction industry, but have become commonplace actions wherever there is interaction between people, whether for social, business or pleasure. On top of these some sites have had to introduce one way systems and increased signage reminding visitors and site workers of the regulations.
Implications of not taking Health & Safety seriously
So back to Health & Safety (try not to groan and please do continue reading) – think of the implications if we didn’t have Health & Safety regulations. If there were no such regulations and guidelines construction sites would have higher injury and death rates as well as a poor reputation which would potentially impact on employment and procurement of skilled labour. It is a serious matter which underpins business strategy in the industry and should definitely be taken seriously. The management at National Drilling Services take pride in our strict health and safety policy, ensuring all operatives are fully trained and understand all the relevant rules for working on site (pre and post Covid-19).
Health at work
In fact it is probably fair to say that when we speak of ‘Health & Safety’ we are often primarily thinking of safety against injury – we are imagining hard hats, ear defenders, masks to protect from dust inhalation, safety harnesses for those working on scaffolding or roof tops and so on. What is often over looked initially is the impact of working on construction sites on long term health. Maybe even now you are not sure what these could be. According to the HSE (Health & Safety Executive) and let’s be honest they should know best about these matters – there are a number of high risk health factors in the construction industry. They are:
- Cancer – caused by exposure to asbestos, silica or leaded paint or diesel fumes
- Hazardous substances – not all of these may seem obviously hazardous – such as dust, but it also includes chemicals used for mixing or cleaning, harmful mixes as well as processes emitting fumes, vapours, gases etc
- Physical health risks – these maybe more what you had in mind, including back injuries and upper limb disorders, manual handling issues, problems associated with noise and vibration
Good Safety strategies lead to good health at work
However, if we all work to a high Health and Safety level as a standard procedure all these health risks can be minimised. The advice is to treat ill health in the same way we approach safety:
- Assess the risk – identify the hazards and their significance, involve the workers in how to overcome these issues to produce a planned strategy to avoid the impact of the risk
- Control – prevent risks before work begins by training workers
- Review – continually review policies and procedures, supervise workers, maintain controls and monitor their effectiveness with a view to acting to change if required
The issue with many of these health risks is that they are not necessarily immediate like safety injuries. In fact some of these reactions or diseases may well only become apparent many years after the worker has left employment in the construction industry.
Responsibility – it might just save their life
Whilst the employer, construction site foreman or contractor may have responsibility for what happens on site, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure
- they are aware of the risks
- they take the correct action to avoid those risks
- by wearing appropriate safety protection
- working safely when working with moving parts, sharp tools, harmful substances, emissions, at height etc
- showing awareness of all site operations
- if they notice co-workers are not following the health & safety guidelines correct their actions – it might just save their life
At National Drilling Services we view health and safety as a fundamental element of the way we operate. All our drilling, cutting, sawing and demolition operatives are fully trained and observe the company health and safety guidelines. The management team at National Drilling Services is always looking out for the latest development in methods, processes and equipment to give our operatives improved safety. Our experienced operatives each hold current CSCS, CPCS, SSSTS and relevant NVQ qualifications amongst many more.
Health and Safety on a practical level when drilling, sawing and cutting
In our business when we are primarily drilling, sawing or cutting inevitably there are risks as there are moving parts, heavy equipment and inevitably there will be dust. However we select equipment and methods that keeps these risks to the lowest level. For example our diamond core drilling methods only create a minimal amount of debris with only a minor noise level and low HAVS level too. Some of our machines also have a range of power source options so when working inside we can avoid fumes. Our wire sawing process is non percussive as it is operated by remote control meaning the operative not only avoids repetitive strain but also is able to stand back from the cutting further reducing risk. This wire sawing technique also uses water to cool the wire which in turn also keeps down the dust levels.
One of our most impressive pieces of machinery is our Brokk demolition robotic machine. This is the safest form of demolition as it is operated remotely and can be accurately directed right to the specific area of demolition.
To find out more about our health and safety policies or to discuss the drilling, sawing, cutting or demolition services required for your construction site do give us a call on 0161 443 2822 or alternatively if you prefer you can email us firstname.lastname@example.org. For regional offices see our contact page.