Healthy handling 2005
Work-related ill health affects significant numbers of construction workers. For example, musculoskeletal disorders are more common in construction than in any other industry.
Back problems, cement dermatitis and vibration white finger can ruin lives and force people out of work. Setting aside strong moral and legal implications this does not make business sense in an industry with an ageing workforce facing skills shortages.
During March 2005, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Construction Division will carry out a GB-wide initiative entitled Healthy Handling 2005
Inspectors will then focus on:
- Order and organisation - fundamental to occupational health management;
- Lifting and carrying - manual handling of materials and equipment can cause back injury and muscle strain;
- Wet cement skin - contact may lead to dermatitis and burns;
- Hand-held vibrating tools - power tools can cause hand-arm vibration syndrome eg white finger, and/or hearing loss.
This initiative is intended to assist the industry in addressing these problems.
Four pages of advice on key, sensible precautions that inspectors will expect to find where hazards are present are available . These matters should be considered by designers, assessed by contractors, and suitable control measures agreed and specified, before work starts
Enforcement action, including prohibition of work and prosecution, may be taken where effective precautions are not in place. Inspectors may also intervene where clients, designers or planning supervisors have not complied with their CDM duties.
However, by giving this advice we hope to find that such action is unnecessary. Please review what you are currently doing in the light of the advice in these pages. With a concerted effort we can, working together, make long-term improvements to the health of construction workers.