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Men over twenty times more likely than women to die at work

February 26th, 2015 Comments off

Between the years 2009 and 2014, male workers in the UK were on average 20.75 times more likely than their female counterparts to suffer a fatality at work. This is despite the fact women currently make up 47% of the UK workforce[1].

The most recent data for the years 2013/14 indicate that a total of 85 men died whilst at work, compared to the total female death toll of four. Of these, 42 deaths were related to construction. Fatal falls, which again were most prevalent in the construction industry, accounted for three in every ten worker deaths.

A full illustration of the year on year comparative data between the genders can be found here. This infographic shows the prevalence of male mortality rates in the UK workforce compared to females, per average 100,000 workers.

The large gender divide in fatality rates is thought to be due to occupational segregation, as women are still less likely to be involved in industries where risk of injury and fatalities is high. This is despite pushes from organisations such as The National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) to encourage females to enter construction and other male-dominated trades.

Bryan Richards, of health and safety consultancy Arinite, suggests, “despite the push for equality in risk-heavy industries such as construction, hazardous procedures are still generally undertaken by men.”

Though thankfully fatality rates in the construction industry have continued to fall, it is still the most dangerous industry for UK workers, accounting for more fatalities than manufacturing and agriculture[2].

The high number of industry fatalities may itself be a contributing factor for women failing to enter the industry, along with the atmosphere on site. Previous construction worker Daniel Long suggests “it would be difficult for a woman to enter the industry because it’s a male dominated environment, and she would struggle to gain respect. Other builders wouldn’t want her carrying heavy concrete blocks, for example.”

Richards suggests that the most crucial step for the construction industry in improving fatality rates and creating a more positive public image would be to “provide training so workers appreciate the hazards of falling, provide fall arrest equipment and provide protective measures such as guards and netting.”

 

[1] http://opportunitynow.bitc.org.uk/WomenWorkFactsheet

[2] http://www.hse.gov.uk/Statistics/industry/construction/construction.pdf

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Housing starts growth spurt fizzles out

February 25th, 2015 Comments off

The growth spurt in house building activity enjoyed by much of the industry could be coming to an end.

housingAccording to the latest Government figures housing starts climbed again last year rising by 10% to 137,010.

This growth comes on the back of a 36% rise on 2012 and 59% jump from the trough in 2009.

But the latest quarterly figures also suggest activity may have peaked before getting anywhere near the output levels required.

Seasonally adjusted housing starts in England are estimated at 29,800 in the December quarter 2014, a 10% decrease compared to 33,250 starts in the September quarter, which itself was down 10% on Q2.

Completion figures, which always lag behind starts, are running at only 118,760, well below the 245,000 homes a year target widely accepted by all political parties as the figured required to meet housing need.

Help to Buy has had a very positive effect on private house building as the increased certainty has encouraged companies to invest in land and skills.

Housing starts amongst private sector builders increased by almost 13% in 2014, following an annual rise of 23% in 2013.

This increase in house building activity mirrors figures released last month by NHBC showing new home registrations rose to over 145,000 in 2014.

For the same period, the Home Builders Federation’s Housing Pipeline reports show a steady rise in the number of planning permissions being granted in recent quarters.

But the new quarterly figures support anecdotal evidence that major house builders may be throttling back starts as house price rises show signs of cooling.

According to the industry’s main trade body, the HBF, the recent step change in house building activity has generated over 100,000 extra jobs over the past two years.

Stewart Baseley, executive chairman at the Home Builders Federation said: “We are still way short of building the number of new homes the country needs. As we approach an election, all parties need to focus on how we can increase housing supply still further.”

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Asda to pump £600m into stores this year

February 23rd, 2015 Comments off

Supermarket group Asda has announced plans to inject £600m into its store investment programme this year.

President of Asda, Andy Clarke, said that while the retail market was experiencing “one of its most challenging and changeable periods in history”, the business remained focused on delivering its long term plan, including expanding and improving the Asda store estate.

1317007_ASDA_storeHe said: ”I’m pleased that we can announce our continued investment in the UK with £600m for new and improved stores in 2015.

“With such a powerful force like Walmart behind us that fully supports our strategy, we’re in a unique position in a difficult market – a position of great strength.”

During the year Asda will invest in 17 new store openings, including three supermarkets in London while 62 stores will undergo a major remodel.

More than 150 new remote Click and Collect sites will be created and 36 new petrol stations will also open this year, he said.

The first temperature controlled Intelligent Pods allowing customers to collect their shopping are due to open on a major commuter belt between Manchester and Liverpool in St Helen’s from the second quarter.

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Travelodge to build 150 new hotels

February 20th, 2015 Comments off

Travelodge_introimgTravelodge has revealed plans to build more than 150 new hotels over the next eight years.

The  development programme will see 20 to 25 hotels opening every year.

It is a step-up on the current construction programme which will see nearly £100m spent in 2015 opening 15 new hotels.

Peter Gowers, Travelodge Chief Executive said: “We are well underway with our plans to build new Travelodge.

“We’re investing more than £100m in modernising our hotels for our customers and we now have 87% of guest rooms upgraded to our new look.

“In 2015 we are opening 15 new hotels, creating 400 new jobs and extending our network still further.

“With our modernised hotels and unbeatable value, we are well placed to serve the rapidly growing demand for low-cost travel.

“We see the potential for more than 150 further hotels across the UK and look forward to creating more great places to stay and thousands more jobs over the years ahead.”

Travelodge’s preferred model is to work with developers/contractors who build the hotels which are then leased back to Travelodge over a typical 25-year period.

The firm suffered a blow last month when one of its main construction partners, Anglo Holt, went into administration.

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Nuclear builders want four-day working week

February 18th, 2015 Comments off

Engineering construction workers are lobbying for a four-day week as the country’s new nuclear building programme is set to start.

The call forms part of a pay and conditions claim put forward by the Unite and GMB unions under the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI).

The latest NAECI claim for “2016 and beyond” calls for wide-reaching reforms of the sector following growing unrest among the workforce.

The unions warn of “the threat to stable labour relations in this important industry in delivering the next generation of low-carbon energy projects on which the rest of the UK economy is dependent.”

They are now demanding a “substantial” pay increase and a reduction in the current working week from 38 hours to 34 hours.

The long-term goal is a move to a four-day working week phased in over a ten-year period with “no loss in earnings at the time of the phased reduction”.

The demands have shocked employers – many of whom operate in the petro-chemical sector and are still reeling from the recent fall in oil prices.

Uncertainty also still surrounds the future of new nuclear power projects.

One industry source says “There are huge doubts over the finances of new nuclear builds and the petro-chemical sector is reeling from oil price falls so this is the last thing anyone needs.”

The employers said the combined demands of the claim could add 20% to industry costs.

The Engineering Construction Industry Association said: “Looking into 2016, no upturn is visible in engineering construction.”

Both sides are set to hold further talks next week.

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Site visitor plunges through stairwell

February 16th, 2015 Comments off

An Oldham building firm has been fined £50,000 after a friend of a worker suffered life-changing injuries when he fell from the second floor of a partially built house.

The 53-year-old, from Oldham, who has asked not to be named, suffered brain damage and spinal injuries in the fall, and will require care for the rest of his life.

Global Constructions (Northwest) Ltd was prosecuted by the HSE following an investigation into the incident on Frederick Street in Oldham on 16 September 2013.

Manchester Crown Court heard the company had been building twelve large houses when a friend of one of the workers came onto the site.

He could not find anyone in the site cabin and so went over to a detached house where two workers were laying floorboards on the second floor.

The workers heard him call up to say he would climb up the two ladders inside the building to come and see them.

When he reached the top, he stood on a sheet of plywood covering the stairwell that gave way, sending him crashing to the concrete floor below.

He was taken to Salford Royal Hospital with significant head and spinal injuries. As part of the initial treatment he was put into an induced coma, and is unlikely to ever fully recover from his injuries.

The HSE investigation found there was no security guard or company employee to monitor who came onto the site. The building site itself was also found to be unsafe.

The plywood that was used to cover the staircase void was less than 18cm wider than the void, meaning there was a high risk of it slipping when someone stood on it.

There was also no handrail around the stairwell, and scaffolding on the outside of the building had numerous defects and missing parts.

Global Construction (Northwest) Ltd, of Alexandra Road, Oldham, was fined £50,000 and ordered to pay £8,595 in prosecution costs after pleading guilty to two safety breaches.

Speaking after the hearing, HSE Inspector Grayam Barnes said: “A site visitor has suffered devastating injuries that will affect him for the rest of his life because Global Construction’s working practices were fundamentally unsafe.

“Building sites have the potential to be highly dangerous places so it’s essential that only workers are allowed onto sites, and access is prevented for other individuals.

“It simply should not have been possible for a friend of one of the workers to climb up two ladders through the stairwell of a partially constructed house.

“He suffered severe injuries in the fall, but it could just as easily have been one of the workers who found themselves in hospital as there was a high risk of the plywood resting over the void slipping when someone stood on it.”

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FACELIFT FOR TERMINAL 1 FORECOURT AT FRANKFURT AIRPORT

February 12th, 2015 Comments off
Facelift for Terminal 1 forecourt at Frankfurt Airport

Frankfurt Airport has started work on the redesign of its Terminal 1 forecourt and access roads.

The €36 million construction project is expected to last around 14 months and will focus on the terminal façade and entrances, as well as the pedestrian areas and roadways on the arrivals level of the terminal forecourt.

As part of the makeover, the old perforated brick exterior of the terminal arrival level will be replaced by a contemporary metal and glass façade.

In addition, the walkways and roads in front of Terminal 1 will be resurfaced and the entire area will be made brighter and more welcoming through improved lighting.

Airport operator, Fraport, claims that additional traffic-calming measures on the roadways by the terminal will make the forecourt more attractive to pedestrians.

And in the middle zone of the forecourt, LED walls will be added to create a multi-media experience.

Fraport’s executive board member for controlling and finance (CFO), Dr Matthias Zieschang, enthuses: “We wish to improve the travel experience significantly for our passengers, their meeters and greeters, as well as the environment for airport staff.

“The redesigned forecourt will serve as an attractive reception area, especially for our international guests.

“Because regular terminal operations will continue during the construction phase, we ask passengers for their understanding about temporary traffic restrictions and rerouting.”

Fraport’s will also enhance the traffic flow along the busy access roads to Terminal 1. This includes measures to provide drivers with better guidance and to keep the traffic moving at all times.

FRA2

“Due to the existing high utilisation of Terminal 1, we are well aware of the situation facing drivers during peak hours. Thus, we are taking steps to alleviate traffic congestion, particularly in view of the growing passenger volumes at Frankfurt,” adds Zieschang.

Fraport will be installing barriers (gates) to the access lanes at the arrivals and departures levels of Terminal 1.

Traffic management will be similar to Terminal 2, whereby general traffic may use terminal access roads free of charge for the first 10 minutes. Once this period is exceeded, parking charges apply and must be paid at automatic pay stations.

This measure has successfully addressed the issue of double-parking in front of Terminal 2 – which is the most frequent cause of slow-moving traffic on terminal access roads.

Those who intend to park longer than 10 minutes in front of the terminal can use the spacious multi-level car parks or the open-air car parks – reached by exiting at the front section of the terminal-access road, thus maintaining smooth vehicular flow on the access roads.

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Lack of surveyors could see sites grind to a halt

February 10th, 2015 Comments off

Work may not get underway on thousands of sites during the next five years as the construction skills shortage intensifies.

That’s the alarmist message from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors who are warning that 27,000 projects a year could be hit by 2019.

More than four fifths (85%) of surveyors questioned said that a lack of qualified candidates meant they had problems recruiting.

That is leading to paid work being turned down by many companies.

Around two in five (43%) surveying firms currently turn down new business opportunities due to a lack of skilled workers – with each of them passing up an average of five contracts per year.

The problem looks set to peak in the next five years, with a further 11% of the industry saying that they will also begin turning down work by 2019.

By that time, 54% of the surveying sector’s 10,000 businesses will be turning down around 27,000 projects between them each year.

Alan Muse, Director of Built Environment Professional Groups at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: “Surveyors play a pivotal role in the delivery of every construction project. Simply put, without surveyors, things don’t get built.

“That’s why our research is worrying: if so many firms are turning down work due to a lack of available talent, demand for skills will soon far outstrip the supply.

“For many companies, that time is already here, but the next few years look like a real tipping point – construction as an industry looks set to grow, but at this rate it’s very unlikely that we’ll have the capacity or the capability to fulfill planned projects.”

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Building contractor hits driving performance targets to make £60,000 insurance saving

February 9th, 2015 Comments off

February, 2015 – Breyer Group has revealed how TomTom Telematics technology and its partnership with HDI-Gerling Insurance Company has led to fleet insurance savings of £60,000 in just 12 months.

The building contractor made the savings across its 200-strong fleet by using driver behaviour monitoring tools to underpin a three-year risk management programme with HDI-Gerling.

Breyer Group (Large)“By meeting targets to reduce the frequency and severity of motor claims in the last 12 months, we have benefitted from a 20 per cent premium reduction,” said Breyer Group finance manager Nigel Wood. “We’ll benefit from further savings again next year if we continue to hit our performance targets.”

WEBFLEET, TomTom Telematics’ fleet management platform, allows Breyer to monitor and profile the performance of its van and car drivers with data insights on incidents such as speeding, harsh braking, steering and acceleration. This information is also interpreted by HDI-Gerling that supports the service to improve driver behaviour, resulting in reduced fleet insurance costs and overall fleet operating costs.

In addition, WEBFLEET provides Breyer with fuel efficiency information from the onboard diagnostics device. This combines with the risk management data to score drivers out of 10 in an Optidrive™ indicator, helping fleet managers to benchmark drivers to identify areas for improvement.

“By having the tools to monitor and encourage our employees to drive more carefully, we are also successfully reducing our fuel spend, CO2 emissions, improving driver safety and our duty of care to our workforce,” Nigel added.

Breyer is using the system operationally to allocate the most appropriate contractors to jobs, optimising its business efficiencies and customer response times. The company’s investment and implementation of WEBFLEET was supported by TomTom Telematics’ Gold partner, Auto Electrical Services (AES).

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HSS Hire Group registers six sites with the Considerate Constructors Scheme

February 6th, 2015 Comments off

HSS Hire Group has become the first tool and equipment provider to register its depots with the Considerate Constructors Scheme, demonstrating their commitment to working to the very highest standards of best practice and to improving the image of construction.

Edward Hardy CCS and Chris Davies HSS - image for release (Medium)HSS Hire has registered an initial six depots with the Scheme which are located at Heathrow, Park Royal, Tottenham, Old Kent Road, Mitcham and Beckton.

Historically, the Scheme has focussed on construction sites and construction companies but has widened its focus in recognition of the critical contribution made by those companies supplying goods and materials to construction sites across the UK. HSS has joined under this newly introduced ‘Supplier Registration’ initiative.

All registered sites, companies and suppliers agree to abide by the Scheme’s Code of Considerate Practice which commits those registered to care about their appearance, respect the community, protect the environment, secure everyone’s safety and value their workforce.

HSS Hire is one of the largest providers of tool and equipment hire, related services, temporary power generation and powered access in the United Kingdom* and has been operating across the UK for more than 50 years, primarily focusing on the business to business market as well as the more publicly known trade market.

Commenting on HSS Hire’s registrations, Edward Hardy, Chief Executive of the Scheme said: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome HSS Hire to the Scheme. Supplier Registration is an important step in our development as an organisation that is pushing for ever higher standards across the whole construction industry. HSS Hire provides a key service to the industry and their registrations demonstrate the importance that they place on working with the utmost care and consideration.”

HSS Hire Group provides tool and equipment hire and specialist services in the UK and Ireland through a nationwide network of over 250 locations.

Chris Davies, Chief Executive HSS Hire Group said: “The Considerate Constructors Scheme is an important initiative and we’re proud to be supporting our customers by becoming the first in our industry to register. We look forward to working together for many years to come.”

 

*based on revenue & fleet size.

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