In the construction industry today, both health and safety are of paramount importance. Health and safety assessments must be carried out in the work environment, rigorous safety checks must be undertaken before using equipment or machinery, and employees must also complete various relevant safety qualifications such as our IPAF training courses in Newcastle.
However, things haven’t always been this way. In the past, health and safety were little more than an afterthought, and as a result, catastrophic accidents resulting in injury and even death were commonplace.
It’s easy to take health and safety for granted, yet it is a vital component of our industry that ensures both us and the people around us stay safe whilst at work. Join us as we take a look back over the years and take stock of just how far health and safety have come.
The Early Years
It wasn’t until comparatively recently that health and safety regulations came into force. Only a hundred or so years ago, injuries and fatalities among construction workers were commonplace – even expected.
One of the earliest examples of health and safety campaigners making change happen was back in Victorian times, after the construction of the Woodhead Tunnel between Manchester and Sheffield. A complete disregard for the safety of the workers constructing the tunnel led to a shocking 32 deaths and many more workers had suffered serious injuries by the time the project was completed. Social reformers highlighted the issue, resulting in an enquiry and a subsequent change to the law, stating that rail companies must take responsibility for the welfare of their workforce.
However, this small victory was only the beginning and larger changes would soon be afoot…
Making the Move Towards Health and Safety
In 1974, the government passed the long-awaited Health and Safety at Work Act. While this did start to move health and safety towards the forefront of the public’s minds, there was still a long way to go. Towards the end of the 1980s, wearing a hardhat became a necessity, and the Noise at Work Regulations were also implemented in 1989.
Perhaps surprisingly, it wasn’t until the 1990s that safety regulations for working at height really started to be considered. The use of safety nets became more commonplace, and as newer, more modernised equipment and machinery entered the industry, safety became much easier to manage.
Health and Safety Today
In 2005, the Work at Height Regulations were introduced – a pivotal moment for those working at height and the construction industry as a whole. Proper training became a necessity and a shift towards taking a more careful, considered approach to working at height began as awareness around the importance of health and safety continued to rise.
Of course, there is still a long way to go, but those early health and safety campaigners paved the way for a more secure, safe environment for the construction workers of today.
North East Access Training Courses
Looking back at just how much has changed in a relatively short period of time, it’s clear to see how fortunate we are today. In addition, this is the perfect opportunity to consider how you can ensure your own health and safety – and that of your employees – is up to scratch.
Our harness training, PASMA training, and IPAF training in Newcastle and Tyne and Wear are all courses designed to give your employees the qualifications they need to safely work at height. Safety is imperative in the construction industry, which is why it’s important to ensure that your employees are all fully trained and qualified to complete the tasks they encounter on a daily basis.
For more information or to book onto one of our training courses, please contact us today or give our team a call on 01914 421 989.