Recent research findings suggest construction workers require more specialist safety advice in their jobs, as 35% reveal they have never received training or guidance on specialist personal protective equipment (PPE) from their employer. New research commissioned by Arco, the UK’s leading safety company, highlights a growing area of concern for the industry.
According to the research, more than one in four construction workers (28%) feel that employee safety and well-being is not a priority for their employer. Construction remains one of the most dangerous industries to work in, with 80,000 workers suffering from work related ill health each year in Great Britain. With health risks such as asbestos, construction dust, lifting and carrying, noise, and vibration, construction workers need to ensure they are fully protected against potential dangers, both short and long-term.
Specialist PPE protects against the dangers that are inherent in a worker’s job. For example, on a construction site, equipment that offers respiratory, hearing, and eye protection are normally essential. However, according to the research, 65% of respondents have never been face fitted for respiratory protective equipment.
Furthermore, the research found that of the workers affected by long-term illness, most suffer from respiratory or hearing problems (tinnitus), clearly demonstrating the consequences of ill-fitting PPE.
The results highlight a huge concern, and one not to be taken lightly by employers. Under the law, employers are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of their employees, including provision and use of PPE at work.
Ian Martin, Regional Sales Director at Arco, says: “It is somewhat alarming to see the number of respondents that have not been trained to use specialist equipment, especially since construction workers are at high-risk of lung diseases and noise-induced hearing loss. This aligns with the fact that 28% of construction workers feel that their employers are not concerned about health and safety. This has to change.”
Despite unearthing the need for specialist training, the research emphasised that construction workers themselves consider PPE to be an integral part of keeping them safe at work (95%), and feel a personal responsibility for their own safety at work.
Ian Martin at Arco concludes: “It’s promising to see that workers value the PPE they are provided with. Hopefully, with support from safety experts such as Arco, this can be further improved to ensure employers are also providing much needed specialist protection.
“When your business depends upon full health, safety and environmental compliance, it can be reassuring to know that there is a team of specialists dedicated to helping you fulfil your obligations. Our experienced safety, health and environmental advisors are available to offer clear, pragmatic advice and training, leaving you free to concentrate on running your business. Amongst many services this includes respiratory training, face fit testing as well as running training courses in construction safety.
“We also have comprehensive range of products available that are designed specifically to help protect construction workers. We want what’s best for our customers and their staff, and are on hand to advise how best to protect against the risks and recommend the right PPE for the job.”
For more information about Arco products, services or expert guides, visit www.arco.co.uk.
 LFS: Labour Force Survey (annual average estimates in 2014/15-2016/17). Illness estimates include both new and longstanding cases