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Importance of Health and Safety Training in Construction Industry

Updated on April 12, 2017
Ashish Dadgaa profile image

Ashish Dadgaa is a Construction Manager with 10 years of experience in the Industry. He writes about Home Improvement and maintenance.

The construction industry should regard their employee as one of its major resources because it is a labor-intensive industry. When a company improves its quality, it also improves skills and knowledge of their employees, which is very important. The research has been carried out by the health and safety executive, which have been concluded that the main reason behind the accidents at the workplace is due to lack of training of employees.

Training in health and safety is an important part of a management system within any company. Besides giving suitable training, it is also essential to assure that the training has been understood and put into practice. A suitable training helps an employee to gain knowledge and skills, which contribute towards making them qualified in the Health and safety aspect of their work. Such training should be enhanced by the use of knowledge, skills, and understanding of work involved.

It is very important to give health and safety training to sub-contractor, but at the same time, it should be ensured that he should know his responsibility. At the time of contract signing stage, the main contractor should highlight subcontractor's responsibilities such as posting of statutory notice, provision of health and safety welfare and guarding while excavation etc. On other the hand, the main contractor should give health and safety training to sub-contractor before starting any work. So that subcontractor's labors can carry out the task safely and achieve it with good quality.

Training in health and safety is essential for the employees and subcontractors, as it gives detail information about accidents and hazards associated with each work activity and also suggests appropriate action to minimize or reduce it.

By health and safety training employees and subcontractors will get:

1) Understanding various types of an accident occurs at the site and what action should be taken at the time of an accident.

2) Understanding of specific issues such as:-

  • Manual handling of machinery
  • Safe utilisation of scaffolding
  • Protective clothing and equipment
  • First aid provisions

3) Understanding of precaution, while working at the height or working with electric devices.

4) To know health and safety disciplinary measures and personnel responsibilities.

5) Understanding of fire precautions on the construction site and what action should be taken at the time of a fire.

Breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act and Its Consequences

If a civil engineering contractor or a builder is found to be in breach of the health and safety at work act they are usually fined through the courts if the breach is considered to be serious. However, there may be other hidden costs to the contractor associated with the breach. It might impact his business and reputation.

The hidden costs could arise as consequences of the events; however, it doesn’t include the only penalty. They are usually unknown, but it is believed that under the certain situation, they may be very high. The hidden cost of the breach of the health and safety at work act are following:

  • Loss of goodwill from customers
  • Low morale
  • Loss of productivity
  • Business interruption
  • Loss of order
  • Poor health amongst employees
  • Recruitment costs
  • Training costs
  • Cost of time spent on investigation
  • Closure of a business

The following impact contractor could face in his business:

  • The customers may develop a bad opinion about the company. The clients and architects might be unwilling to go to this company again. If company’s director or manager is held responsible for someone’s death, they might lose out financially themselves on the ground of individual. They might lose their job from the company, or they may not work at the level of efficiency as before. If the case is very serious than it could report in the newspaper or in the media, which will affect the company’s reputation very badly.
  • Labour’s morale could be affected if one of their colleagues is injured due to which they may not work at the same productive level. This would affect the project schedule. The labors could leave the job thus affecting its productivity.
  • If the gravity of the case would be more serious with a high penalty, then it could have a serious impact on the viability of the company. They may have to shed their employees, and in that case, they would have to pay severance pay.
  • When company’s health and safety record is affected, they will not be able to recruit the same caliber of employees, which they had done before. This would affect the quality and speed of work. In that way, a company will have a financial effect on it.
  • The health and safety executive would have an undoubtedly keen eye on the company. So it would be good for a company to spend more time and money to polishing up their health and safety management.

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© 2017 Ashish Dadgaa


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