This is the most important reason to invest in health and safety equipment and training on construction sites – because people could be injured or even die as a result of a construction accident. As an employer, you have a responsibility to, other than your workers, look after the welfare of all your persons who enter the confines of a construction site or could be injured by construction activities.
The Department of Labour has established that the construction industry has a less than 50 percent rate of compliance to health and safety.
Department of Labour Chief Director: Occupational Health and Safety (OSH), Tibor Szana, addressing the Department of Labour Construction Sector Seminar held at the Emperor's Palace in Boksburg said the construction industry has been beset with incidents of fatalities for the past 15 years. Szana said, "The level of incidents seemed to be repeating themselves over and over again". Szana said the construction sector is surpassed by iron and steel sector in terms of large volumes of claims lodged with the Compensation Fund, a workers injury and diseases claim fund.
He asked why the construction industry seemed to be failing to reverse the high levels of fatalities.
Some of the recent incidents that have put a black mark in the construction industry include the collapse of the Tongaat Mall, which left two dead and 29 workers injured and the collapse of a house in Meyersdal, which led to the death of seven workers and hospitalisation of seven workers.
Globally every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease. Every 15 seconds, 153 workers have a work-related accident.
Every day, 6,300 people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases – more than 2.3 million deaths per year. 317 million accidents occur on the job annually; many of these resulting in extended absences from work. The human cost of this daily adversity is vast and the economic burden of poor occupational safety and health practices is estimated at 4 percent of global Gross Domestic Product each year as reported by the ILO (International Labour Organization).
Should the Department of Labour find that unsafe working practices are being carried out on a construction site, it may issue fines and prohibition notices and may even prosecute. Similarly, workers who are injured are entitled to file compensation lawsuits against the offender which is financially detrimental to the business.
Should a serious accident occur on your site, progress on the project may be halted, aggravating the client and potentially losing the construction company the contract.