- Health and safety hazards in construction
- Construction safety statistics
- The importance of health and safety training
- Benefits of using VR for construction safety training
Health and safety hazards in construction
In an industry with a fatality rate double the sector average, it’s unarguable that more needs to be done to protect employees from the well-known hazards that lurk on construction sites.
Despite the method statements and risk assessments put in place to protect workers and members of the public, thousands of fatal and non-fatal incidents are reported to the HSE year after year. In most instances, these are caused by:
Depending on the scale of the site, and subsequently the amount of moving machinery, workers are at danger from hazards such as supply vehicles, dumper trucks and overhead equipment shifting heavy loads.
Working at height
Many construction or demolition projects will require trades to work from height. Quite often, the risk of working at height is increased by added access and mobility restrictions which make for a more challenging environment.
Slips, trips and falls
With the amount of activity from various trades operating on a construction site, it’s no surprise fatal and non-fatal injuries are caused by slips, trips and falls on a daily basis. Remaining vigilant at all times goes without saying.
Although the use of asbestos pre-dates recent generations of plumbers, electricians and builders, its risk to health is still very much present.
It’s estimated over 500,000 public buildings in the UK still contain asbestos, which, if disturbed without the correct health and safety measures, can cause life-threatening harm.
Usually subject to workers who attempt electrical work without the appropriate qualifications, an average of three electrocutions are caused every year on domestic and commercial building sites across the UK.
Construction safety statistics
Fatality rates within the construction industry are more than double those of the sector average. And when you consider the industry accounts for over 6% of the UK workforce, the numbers are hard to ignore.
According to construction and engineering statistics released by the HSE, 39 fatal injuries to workers, and four to members of the public, were reported in 2020/2021.
The leading causes include falling from height (50%), being trapped by something collapsing or overturning (13%), being struck by moving objects (11%), being struck by moving vehicles (10%) and contact with moving machinery (4%).
Although data would suggest health and safety standards are improving, approximately 61,000 non-fatal injuries were reported in 2020/2021, predominantly caused by:
- slips, trips and falls
- lifting heavy equipment
- falls from height
- being struck by moving objects
In 2020, it was estimated the cost of workplace injury and new cases of work-related illness was the result of over 2.1 million working days lost within the construction industry. That equates to a lot of time and money!
The importance of health and safety training
Preventing injury, illness and death on a construction site should be a priority for anyone involved with the industry.
As a manager or owner of a construction firm, having health and safety compliant workers on site not only saves lives, but contributes to the smooth running of projects.
What’s more, having the appropriate health and safety standards in place for employees will also:
- develop a positive health and safety culture
- provide opportunities to review current standards for improvement
- meet your legal duty to protect the health and safety of your employees
To stay up to date with health and safety standards, regular training, information, and instructions must be made readily available for employees. And with the development of virtual reality (VR), meeting such lawful requirements has never been easier.
Benefits of using VR for construction safety training
With construction sites rife with hazards, many business owners are investing in VR safety training to further prevent employee illness, injury, and fatalities.
Whether it’s identifying construction workplace hazards or training to safely operate heavy machinery, VR offers a three-dimensional learning platform based on existing and prospective building sites.
By slipping on a VR headset from anywhere in the world, employees enter a multi-sensory training exercise proven to have higher engagement and higher learning retention than any classroom-based alternative.
This is largely due to VR’s immersive learning environment, where participants can repeat learning exercises without distraction as many times as they require – all without the fear of causing a real-world injury.
For employers, it means work teams who learn through VR are more competent because they’ve already experienced lifelike health and safety procedures and requirements relevant to their role.
Offering health and safety training through VR also saves construction firms time and money on booking external training providers and commuting to dedicated training rooms.
And by making training immediately accessible, construction firms also reduce the disruption to workflow while ensuring all workers remain up to date on the latest health and safety standards.