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The top 7 health and safety issues by industry

The top 7 health and safety issues by industry

Health and safety is a key concern for every industry sector, from the obvious dangers of the work undertaken by those in the construction and utilities sectors, through to the less heavy industry sectors of facilities management and contract cleaning. While the same health and safety issues can occur across all or many sectors, each sector has a primary factor at the top of its list of risks to the health and safety of its workers.

Here we look at the main health and safety issues faced by different sectors.

  1. Aviation: adverse weatherWhether too hot, too cold or too wet, adverse weather brings its own set of risks that can complicate the existing health and safety challenges of the airside environment. Those working in the aviation sector, including ground services staff and baggage handlers, are often working outside and are regularly exposed to the natural elements. In summer, workers can be susceptible to overheating, so safety clothing must be chosen carefully to ensure it is breathable and lightweight, while still offering the correct protective measures. Summer also poses the risk of sunburn, dehydration and glare, making caps, such as the WEARMASTER® Aviation Bump Cap, sun cream and appropriate safety sunglasses essential wear. Conversely, winter weather calls for adequate gloves, boots and hi-vis waterproof coats.
  2. Contract cleaning: substance hazards 

    Contract cleaning staff are vulnerable to myriad health and safety issues, from slips on freshly mopped floors, working at heights when cleaning hard-to-reach places, and back injuries from working in confined spaces or repetitive positions. But handling chemicals is one of the top issues faced by cleaning staff, and care should be taken when handling drain-cleaning products, disinfectants, bleach, sanitisers and toilet cleaners. Such products can be corrosive and can cause skin and eye burns, or even breathing difficulties. The proper protective clothing should be provided after risk assessments, determining whether and which gloves or face masks are appropriate for the tasks.

  3. Logistics: falls, trips and slips 

    The Health and Safety Executive acknowledges that falls, trips and slips are the most common type of accidents in the logistics industry, whether workers are hauliers on the road and falling from their cabs, or working in a busy warehouse and slipping on the floor or down steps. In addition to providing steps and handrails and looking for safety features on new vehicles to help reduce these incidents, the HSE recommends that workers wear slip-resistant footwear.

  4. Ground maintenance: hearing damage 

    Keeping gardens and outdoor spaces neat and tidy involves the use of heavy equipment, such as lawn mowers and strimmers, which can be noisy to a damaging extent. Providing grounds maintenance staff with the right hearing protection is imperative. Contego Safety Solutions has a Hearing Protection Guide, helping to identify the correct hearing protection for the job, whether that is earmuffs, earplugs or a hard hat combi kit.

  5. Refuse services: musculoskeletal disorders 

    Injuries in the waste and recycling sector are estimated to be over four times greater than most other industries, according to the HSE, and waste collectors commonly report musculoskeletal disorders. As well as ensuring refuse collection workers are equipped and wearing appropriate PPE, the Waste Industry Health and Safety Forum (WISH) has produced robust recommendations on health and safety best practice for the waste collection sector.

  6. Utilities: falls from height 

    Workers in the utility industry face a range of hazards relating to the substances they work with, whether that’s gas, electricity or water. Many workers often find themselves working at height, which presents a fall risk that needs protecting against. The right harnesses, buckles and winches are essential to protect workers at height from the dangers of the work they undertake.

  7. Construction: suicide 

    Construction workers face health and safety challenges from multiple sources. Falls from working at height is one of the industry’s major causes of fatalities. Construction workers can also find themselves vulnerable to the effects of dust, asbestos and biological hazards. But the construction information body NBS, informed by data from Public Health England, reported that the number one risk in the construction industry is actually suicide. The risk of suicide among low-skilled male labourers, particularly those working in construction roles, was three times higher than the male national average. Hard hats, ear defenders and face masks may all be vital protection on site but other measures need to be taken to take care of workers’ overall wellbeing too.Construction employers are urged to treat mental health with the same level of concern physical health, by encouraging frank discussions and conversations, and being proactive in providing ways for workers to talk to colleagues or managers. Raising awareness of support groups, such as The Samaritans, can also help.

Contego Safety Solutions stocks a vast range of protective clothing, PPE and corporate wear, including our very own WEARMASTER® range. The friendly and expert team at Contego Safety Solutions is always on hand to give advice and guidance on the right PPE and protective clothing for your needs. Contact us now on 0800 122 3323 or sales@contegosafety.co.uk to discuss your requirements.

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