Opinion

Construction safety stats show why our #PPEthatfits campaign matters

#PPEthatfits campaign
The #PPEthatfits campaign aims to improve provision of properly fitting PPE for all

Despite the progress achieved in wellbeing and safety in the industry, more needs to be done to ensure that all workers go back home safely, says Caroline Gumble.

In most of my communications so far this year, I’ve been mindful to look forward and to strike a positive note. There is much to be proud of in this important industry and so many of our members are achieving great things which deserve to be recognised and shared.

Having said that, at the end of last year the Health and Safety Executive’s new data on workplace injuries and ill health showed a distressing rise in the number of construction fatalities: there were 45 fatalities in construction in 2022/2023, compared with 29 in 2021/2022.

I did note at the time that there has been progress over the years when it comes to health and safety in construction. However, it should concern us all that the number of fatalities in the sector has risen – and risen by 55% since the previous year.

The reality of those figures is that 45 people never made it home from work. We owe it to them, to their loved ones and their colleagues to continue putting health, safety and wellbeing at the forefront of our work.

In practical terms, this means several things – but chief among them needs to be providing workers with the relevant and up-to-date training, equipment and PPE to safely carry out their jobs.

#PPEthatfits campaign

Our #PPEthatfits campaign, launched last year, has safety at its heart and aims to improve the provision of properly fitting PPE for everyone in the sector regardless of their size, gender or religion.

While writing about wellbeing, it’s also important to remember that mental health is a part of this. CIOB has been producing resources to support good mental health among the workforce, including the free online course to help people understand what mental health is and how to identify signs and symptoms of poor mental health. You can access this via the CIOB Academy website.

As a sector, we have put a great deal of work into improving worker wellbeing and while some of that work appears to be paying off, there is more that can be done and we must ensure we do not become complacent.

For CIOB’s part, we will continue to keep the subject of safety and wellbeing high on the industry’s agenda through our engagement with our members, the wider sector and policymakers.

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