Every sector has been hit hard by the pandemic but it is now emerging that it may have also wreaked havoc on health and safety skills in the construction industry.
An article in the highly respected Construction News has revealed that since the pandemic began the number of businesses undertaking their usual levels of refresher training has dropped considerably.
According to the article’s author, Chris Walker who is head of health and safety at Napthens Solicitors, one of the main reasons that has been given for this reduction is the lack of available training courses.
However, even when onsite training was unavailable during the early days of the pandemic many courses quickly moved online.
Chris suspects the more likely cause is the cost and was quick to add that health and safety training should not be seen as a negotiable item within a construction firm’s budget.
Why do firms need to keep their health and safety skills up to date?
The most obvious reason why firms need to keep their health and safety skills up to date is to ensure people stay safe at work
In addition to this, if there is a health and safety breach one of the first things that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will investigate is the competency of those involved.
If workers are found to be incompetent because of a lack of recent training, the employer will be held responsible.
This could lead to firms being prosecuted and facing potentially crippling fines and in some cases individuals, such as company bosses or managers, may also be prosecuted and could end up with custodial sentences.
Many clients are also keen to see proof of recent training before they hire a contractor so firms which don’t keep their health and safety skills up to date may also miss out on lucrative contracts.
How can Acorn help to keep firm’s health and safety skills up to date?
We realise that many firms find it a struggle to keep on top of their health and safety skills and requirements so we offer a wide variety of services to keep their staff safe and to protect them from prosecution.
These include our Construction Health and Safety Inspections and Audits which are designed for all types of construction sites across the UK.
All safety inspection and audits are undertaken by our fully qualified, experienced construction health and safety consultants and are very comprehensive.
They include observations of activities on site so that any issues with staff not following the correct procedures can be addressed.
Our construction health and safety inspection and audit includes a full report with evidential photos issued to our clients within 48 hours.
Any immediate construction health and safety requirements will be advised to the site manager for action immediately.
This is incredibly useful for firms which neither have the time to get on top of their health and safety requirements or who want the hassle of having to retain a full-time employee.
Under the Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations, a company should have access to competent advice be that by appointing a person internally or engaging an external consultant as required by Regulation 7.
Through our Retained Health and Safety Consultant service we help business owners to become health and safety compliant in the shortest time possible, supporting them, their business and their employees on an ongoing basis.
By using services like this, construction firms can demonstrate to the HSE that they take health and safety skills seriously and that they are doing everything they can to stay on top of their health and safety requirements.