The Most Dangerous Workplace in Europe
As the European Commission has just recently released a framework to address health and safety over the next 6 years, it is once again time to ask ourselves what can be done to make the workplace more safe and what can be done to aid the health of workers on the job. Though the current framework seeks to build on the success of the 2007-12 version, which reduced longer-term workplace accidents (lasting longer than 3 days) by almost 28%, the workplace still remains dangerous: in the EU, there are more than 3 million serious workplace accidents, 4,000 workplace deaths, and 160,000 deaths from workplace-related diseases annually.
As could be expected, all industries are not equally dangerous. Holding the dubious title of most dangerous (land-based) workplace in Europe is the construction industry, with a fatal accident rate that is 2.6 times higher than the overall average among all industries. What makes the construction industry so different and more dangerous than other industries? Essentially there are 2 answers: the nature of the business itself and the nature of the companies that constitute the industry.
A typical construction worker must deal with:
l An extremely physically-demanding job, constantly requiring lifting, bending, walking, and overall movement, which greatly increases the likelihood of falls, strikes, and other ergonomic injuries.
l A work site that is, either partially or wholly, exposed to natural elements, such as wind, rain, and severe temperature variations, as well as man-made factors, like excessive noise.
l Building materials as well as trade-related tools, which, when misused or used without the proper safety precautions, can cause health problems or serious injury.
For the typical construction company that populates the industry, it is:
l Typically a small or medium-sized enterprise (99% of the industry).
l Likely unable to provide the health and safety “superstructure” of a larger company.
l Heavily driven by time and deadlines and, therefore, unable to spend a substantial time dealing with health and safety.
When combining the health and safety risks of a construction worker with the deficiencies that a typical construction company faces, coming up with an individualized plan can be difficult. Adding to this already daunting task is the high possibility that, thanks to worker migration, a percentage of any company’s workforce may not be entirely fluent in the local language. It is vital for a company to best deal with the health and safety issues of a multi-lingual workforce and be ensured of worker understanding in an expedited fashion.
Recently, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion, Laszlo Andor, stated that, “We need safe construction sites and this is what we have to develop. improve the practices and the enforcement. Very often it’s simply the enforcement of the existing rules which is needed of the existing ideas or measures.”1 To achieve existing rule enforcement and build on that foundation, the simplest solution is through contracting with a trusted and experienced translation company, who can adequately meet the needs of translating health and safety information to workers, regardless of language and level of understanding.
Author: Author: Desislava Nikolova – an enthusiastic blogger, social media and online marketing coordinator [EVS Translations] (http://www.evs-translations.com/). Many years experience as a freelance writer – specializing in IT, legal, financial, political art and social and cultural phenomena.