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Fall in the number of accidents and victims on construction sites in Poland

News date: November 6, 2020
Fall in the number of accidents and victims on construction sites in Poland

A report of the Agreement for Construction Safety (Porozumienie dla Bezpieczeństwa w Budownictwie) shows that in the 10 years of this organisation’s activity, the number of people injured in accidents on construction sites in Poland fell almost by half, from 8684 to 4743. Today, four times fewer fatal accidents per 100 thousand employees are reported in the construction industry as compared to a decade ago. It is much to the credit of the association of the largest construction companies in Poland, which work to improve occupational safety.

 

Between the years 2009-2019, the number of people injured in accidents on construction sites fell by 45%. In the same period, the number of accidents in the economy as a whole decreased by only 4%. The biggest fall was observed in serious accidents (which fell by 75%) and fatal accidents (63%). According to Eurostat, Poland is the member state in which the improvement in safety on construction sites was the largest between the years 2009-2018. Poland used to be the country with the highest number of fatal accidents per 100 thousand employees (21.49), but now it is one of the countries with the lowest rate of serious accidents (5.18).

 

“The most important achievement is the decrease in the number of accidents on Polish construction sites, despite a twofold increase in the number of construction companies in the market and a huge increase in the number of construction workers. We managed to achieve this result thanks to cohesion and the introduction of identical requirements for all entities. We have developed and implemented uniform standards and raised the level of supervision culture. OHS training courses are getting better as well. Our subcontractors do not question OHS requirements because they know these requirements will be the same for every signatory. Safety is no longer a taboo in business talks with our subcontractors and service providers,” says Jacek Leczkowski, Vice-President of the Management Board of Erbud S.A., who became President of the Agreement for Construction Safety this year.

 

Safety was improved the most in the largest companies, in which the number of victims fell from 2490 in 2009 to 1311 in 2018. For years, the highest percentage of victims (about 60%) have been workers with up to one year of work experience and those who have worked for 2-3 years. In the years 2009-2018, the largest drop in the number of victims was observed in these two groups of workers. Poorly skilled support workers, partly foreigners, are the most likely to be injured in accidents on construction sites.  According to the National Labour Inspectorate, foreign workers on construction sites often do not have the required experience and qualifications and cannot speak Polish, which negatively affects safety at work.

 

The Agreement for Construction Safety has a key influence on the functioning of the construction industry in Poland. Nine signatories of the Agreement are in the top ten of the largest construction companies in Poland with regard to revenue for 2019. The revenue of companies that belong to this organisation amounts to 56% of the total revenue of 50 largest companies in Poland. The mission of the largest general contractors affiliated with the Agreement is to limit the number of accidents on construction sites by promoting safety culture, making people aware of dangers associated with working on construction sites and preventing risks and accidents.

 

Every business partner who collaborates with the signatories of the Agreement has to meet the same OHS requirements. The Agreement provides for one system of mandatory OHS training courses. An effective tool for the popularisation of OHS culture in the construction industry is the Safety Week organised by the Agreement for Construction Safety. The honorary patronage over this event was taken by the Chief Labour Inspector. It is the biggest initiative promoting OHS culture in Poland, which attracts thousands of participants every year. The report “Polish construction industry between the years 2009-2019. The safety situation and activity of the Agreement for Construction Safety” sums up the operations of the organisation of general contractors, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

 

“The Agreement could not have come into fruition without the involvement of visionaries, such as Mr. Wiktor Piwkowski, President of the Polish Association of Construction Engineers and Technicians. He was the initiator of this undertaking. Mr. Tadeusz Zając, Chief Labour Inspector, actively searched for ways to solve the problem of accidents in the construction industry. He personally visited the presidents of the largest construction companies and invited them to join the initiative. The establishment of the agreement is also much to the credit of Mr. Zbigniew Janowski, the President of the “Budowlani” Trade Union, who is known for his actions to improve safety in the construction industry, mainly through his work in the Labour Protection Council at the Parliament of the Republic of Poland,” sums up Jacek Leczkowski.

 

The whole report is available on the website of the Agreement for Construction Safety.

 


 
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