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Looking at the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) statistics for 2019, there’s still lots more construction companies can do to reduce workplace accidents and reclaim £millions in lost productivity. Here’s a look forward to the big themes for 2020.

Continued focus on wellbeing

Long-term health, stress and wellbeing have a significant impact on people working in the UK construction industry.

According to the HSE in 2019, 79,000 workers suffered from work-related ill health and there were 16,000 work-related cases of stress, depression or anxiety.

Construction companies are now taking a more proactive and holistic approach to physical and mental health.

Kier Construction, for example, won the Construction Week Awards Health and Safety Initiative of the Year for encouraging and supporting employees to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing.

Increasing use of AI and smart tech

The construction industry is slowly catching up with other industries and realising the potential for artificial intelligence, robotics and digital transformation for health and safety.

Whether it’s drones that can monitor safety, smart sensors in workers’ clothing or robots scanning the ground for hazardous detritus, technology and the use of real-time data can transform health and safety processes.

The RiskX app developed by Suffolk Construction in the USA allows workers to enter real-time data about project site safety into an app. After a year long trial, the company saw a 29% decrease in time lost to injury and a 27% decline in recordable injuries.

Fix the basics and save money

 AI and digital technologies may grab headlines but there’s still a huge amount to do to get the basics right. There were 54,000 non-fatal injuries to workers in 2019 and 30% were from slips, trips and falls on the same level.

By focusing on details such as anti-slip flooring or covering up manholes and voids with a smart solution like Voidex, companies could save millions. The HSE estimated in 2017/18 that over £1.2 billion and 2 million working days were lost to avoidable injuries.