In a recent Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report, the scaffolding industry is urged to take note of an alarming increase in work-related health issues across Great Britain. The findings, released last week, highlight a staggering two million workers who suffered from work-related ill health in the fiscal year 2022/23, raising concerns about the well-being of the workforce.
According to the report, nearly half of these cases are attributed to stress, depression, or anxiety, representing a significant departure from pre-pandemic trends. Scaffolding contractors need to recognize this shift and implement measures to address the mental health challenges faced by their teams.
The impact on productivity is noteworthy, with an estimated 35.2 million working days lost due to self-reported work-related ill health or injury. This loss underscores the urgency for scaffolding companies to invest in strategies that prioritize employee well-being.
Sarah Albon, HSE’s Chief Executive, emphasizes the crucial need for addressing work-related stress promptly. She notes, “Preventing or tackling work-related stress can provide significant benefits to employees, improving their experience of work and their overall health; and also to employers, including increased productivity, decreased absenteeism, and reduced staff turnover.”
The economic consequences are also laid bare in the report, with estimated annual costs associated with workplace injuries and work-related ill health reaching £20.7 billion in 2021/22. This represents a substantial increase from 2019/20, reinforcing the need for the scaffolding industry to invest in safety measures to mitigate financial risks.
Tragically, the report highlights 135 workers losing their lives in work-related accidents during the 2022/23 period, with an additional 561,000 sustaining self-reported non-fatal injuries. These stark statistics emphasize the critical need for scaffolding contractors to continuously enhance workplace safety standards.
As the industry navigates the lasting effects of the pandemic, prioritizing the well-being and safety of the workforce is paramount. The HSE’s annual report serves as a wake-up call for scaffolding contractors, urging them to implement proactive measures that address rising rates of work-related ill health and injuries, ensuring the continued health, productivity, and prosperity of the scaffolding community in Great Britain.
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