Industry leaders, including over 120 CEOs within the construction industry, met at a summit in January to explore ways of eradicating health issues in the construction sector.
The summit was Chaired by Heather Bryant representing Balfour Beatty, and Steve Hails of Crossrail. Leaders within the room were encouraged to take a big step forward in treating health like safety.
It was acknowledged that it is time to address, among others, the shocking statistic that deaths as a result of occupational disease are 100 times more likely than deaths by accidents.
The summit explored what can be done to address other causes of ill health, including breathing and lung problems caused by exposure to dust and diesel emissions; dermatitis caused by hazardous substances; ill health caused by noise and vibration as well as back injuries and upper limb disorders.
Every year, the construction sector loses 1.2 million working days due to work-related ill health and the demand for construction workers is greater than ever. Construction leaders are seeking ways to ensure this demand is met by maintaining a healthy, productive workforce.
The Construction Health Summit wants to replicate the cultural shift seen in the construction industry that led to the dramatic reduction in on-site injuries and fatalities and to treat health like safety.
The summit was hosted by the recently-established collaborative Health in Construction Leadership Group, comprising contractors, clients, HSE, professional bodies (including iosh), trade associations and trade unions.
Andrew Wolstenholme OBE, the Crossrail Chief Exec and co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council called the summit; “…the industry’s lightbulb moment.”