Heights of Safety

Safety issues associated with work of a temporary nature Barry Wilkes looks at the importance of health and safety in work of temporary nature andhow work at height in particular needs to be well managed.

As health and safety practitioners we know that some sectors and occupations are more dangerous than others. This is confirmed when we explore a range of global or local safety statistics associated with different sectors, such as those reported by the International Labour Organization (ILO) for construction, for example. According to the ILO at least 60,000 people are killed every year on construction sites worldwide. That is around one death every 10 minutes. Overall the industry accounts for almost one in five of all fatal workplace accidents.

As practitioners we should look behind the headline figures featured in reporting of this kind, to help us establish what makes an industry particularly dangerous. For example, research consistently reveals that deaths in construction are most commonly associated with falls from height, while in the oil and gas industry fatalities are more frequently caused by equipment failures and transportation issues. 

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