It's HSWeek17 across the UK and many of us are following #HSWeek on twitter. We thought it best to catch up with APS CEO Lesley McLeod who was keen to remind us all that it should be Health and Safety week every week!
Everyone has the right to expect they can go to work and return home safely. The Association for Project Safety [APS] is committed to ensuring its members have the skills and knowledge to improve health and safety by shaping and sharing good practice in design and construction health and safety risk management. But it takes more than education. APS is also determined to raise the awareness of positive health and safety across the construction sector so no-one needs to have their world destroyed by the knock on the door that heralds the news someone they love won’t be coming home.
Good health and safety is not a drag on business efficiency and profitability: it helps cut days lost to injury and ill-health; it keeps businesses out of court. But the effects of health and safety are even more profound for individuals where the appropriate, proportionate management of risk today can prevent injuries and ensure ill-effects do not echo down the years to long-term health problems later in life. The number of deaths on building sites has reduced but still there are around thirty deaths every year and far too many long-term ill-health issues is a result of work in construction.
Make it simple to be safe and easy to speak out
No one should be asked to work in conditions that put their safety or long-term health at risk. But it can be often be hard to speak out particularly when you are new, female, from the LGBT community or from a different ethnic or cultural background to your colleagues. Economic necessity can also put a powerful damper on speaking out when you know something isn’t right. Everyone needs to put health and safety on their agenda and, as an industry, professionals across the construction sector must work to create the environment where it is simple to be safe and easy to speak out.
Mental Health or Physical Health
APS is determined to help its members tackle all health issues effectively. But good health is not just about ensuring construction workers have appropriate training or the right safety clothing or can work on dust-free sites. Health and safety is more than good practice when working at height or in confined spaces. The construction sector needs to look at its attitudes as well as its practices. Construction professionals must work together to find ways to break down barriers making it hard to speak out so we can create an environment where there is no distinction between physical and mental health.
We are all responsible for health and safety and, together, construction professionals can help make that knock on the door a thing of the past.