By Ell Brown
The recent electric shock of an apprentice on a site in Kingston has brought the site to its knees as workers on the site downed their tools in protest of the site’s lack of safety. It has also brought a lot of outside attention, with authorities and unions also expressing their criticism of the incident and the employer’s role in it.
While one does sympathise with the young woman who was injured in the incident, it is the perfect opportunity to shed some light on underlying safety problems in the construction industry, including providing apprentice and amateur workers with a safe working environment and safe system of work.
Other employers should not wait till they are the ones in the news to fix the problems that exist on their sites but should act now before they lose time, money, their reputation and possibly some of their workers.
One of the most important, if not the most crucial consideration for employers is ensuring that all workers are sufficiently trained. Training workers does not mean just providing workers with information about safety.
Firstly every worker that sets foot onto the site must be in possession of their White Card Certificate. The white card training is every construction workers passport into the construction industry. It will equip workers with the knowledge and skills needed to keep them safe on a construction site with the focus on general hazards that they may face.
Employers also need to provide a second type of training to workers in the form of site specific training, this will ensure that workers are aware of the hazards and safety procedures unique to the site and use this information to stay safe, hopefully avoiding incidents like the one that resulted in the electric shock of the young worker on the Kingston site last week.