The 6th Safety Week in Construction starts on May 13-19

News date: May 13, 2019
The 6th Safety Week in Construction starts on May 13-19

This is the sixth edition of the national campaign aimed at improving safety at construction sites in Poland. The number of accidents in construction has been systematically decreasing. The VI Safety Week will take place from 13 to 19 May at several hundred construction sites in Poland belonging to the signatories of the Agreement for Safety in Construction.     This is the largest initiative in Poland aimed at improving safety at domestic construction sites. The Main Labour Inspector has assumed auspices over the campaign. This is the sixth consecutive year that the Agreement for Safety in Construction, established by the largest general contractors operating in Poland, is organising the “Safety Week”.  Every year, the scale of the event is enormous - last year alone it involved almost 40,000 employees at several hundred locations.


The number of accidents in construction has been decreasing


The construction sector occupies the 2nd place among industries with the highest incidence of accidents at work.  According to the National Labour Inspection, 540 people were injured and 70 lost their lives in work related accidents that occurred in 2018. This means that at least one person dies at a construction site every week. There were 171 people who suffered serious injuries in accidents investigated by labour inspectors (compared to 215 in 2017). The number of accidents in construction has been regularly decreasing for several years. According to the latest data from the Main Statistical Office, the number of people injured in accidents at work has decreased by 3% compared to last year. The primary and constant objective of the Agreement for Safety in Construction is to achieve zero fatal accidents among its signatories in the coming years.


Never take short cuts


Safety Week is an important project for the construction industry. The motto of this year’s edition is “Never take short cuts”. Regrettably, despite our strenuous efforts and all the hard work, 11 employees of our companies - the Agreement signatories were killed in work related accidents in 2018. We appeal to every employee. Together we make a single team working for our joint success. Everyone contributes to their own safety and the safety of others. Our working conditions are dynamic, often variable and unpredictable.  Someone may neglect something but another person can see the danger. The point is not to take shortcuts to try to make work easier at the expense of your own and other people's safety – says Leszek Gołąbiecki, the President of the Agreement for Safety in Construction. This year, Safety Week will feature such activities as training in first aid at construction sites, workshops and presentations regarding health and safety at construction sites, safeguarding showcases, lectures given by inspectors from the National Labour Inspection. - We have also prepared new manuals for construction site managers to improve safety at the construction site. The OHS Idea Book 2019 suggests over 30 activities that can be carried out with construction employees – adds Gołąbiecki.


New ideas, new activities


One of the suggestions included in the manual is the assembly of boards with photos of employee’s loved ones at the construction site. The purpose of the “Who do I work safely for?” board is to make employees aware that they work safely not only for themselves but also for their family and friends. The board is to remind them that their loved ones are waiting for them, which is another reason why they should take care of own safety - so that they can come back home after work alive and well every day.  This gives them additional motivation and stimulus to work safely – explains Gołąbiecki. For the first time in the history of the Agreement for Safety in Construction, as part of Safety Week, a professional First Aid Contest will be held. It will take place on 14-15 May, and the venue of the competition will be the complex in Sierpc. There will be 12 teams of three people representing the ASC signatories competing for the title.  The teams will not only be fighting for the best team trophy but most of all they will be improving their first aid skills.  The competition will be based on simulated real life situations enabling the participants to prove themselves in maximally realistic conditions. The competition categories include first aid to a person with injuries, in anaphylactic, septic, cardiogenic and neurogenic shock as well as a burn victim. The participants will have to deal with emergency, the need for resuscitation of adults and children as well as automated external defibrillation. The rescue skills and talent will be assessed by referees, who are professional paramedics.


Cooperation and support


For years, the Safety Week organisers have cooperated with many institutions and companies which work for raising the OHS standards at construction sites in Poland.

The Main Labour Inspector assumed auspices over the national campaign. – Each activity that shows the importance of safety at construction sites is close to my heart. Even more so the one that is professionally prepared and involves several dozen thousand construction sector employees - says Wiesław Łyszczek, the Main Labour Inspector. – At the same time, we must keep in mind that Safety Week at construction sites should last... the whole year round. Because we must make sure that safe work principles are followed every day and cooperate to achieve this goal at every stage of the construction process.


Agreement for Safety in Construction


The Agreement for Safety in Construction has existed for nine years. It was established in 2010 on the initiative of the Main Labour Inspector. Initially, the Agreement was signed by seven general contractors. Thanks to the open character of this organisation it soon acquired new members. Currently, the 15 largest general contractors in Poland make up the Agreement as its signatories: Budimex, Erbud, Hochtief Polska, Karmar, Mostostal Warszawa, Mota-Engil, Polimex Mostostal, Porr, Skanska, Strabag, Unibep and Warbud as well as three associated members MCKB, REMBOR General and NDI. This alliance was formed in order to eliminate accidents at construction sites through promotion of safe conduct, improvement of safety standards and working conditions as well as the development of OHS culture. The strength of the Agreement lies in the knowledge and experience gained in the course of execution of large and small construction projects as well as joint analysis of accidents. Within the framework of cooperation, the member companies developed a platform for the exchange of knowledge regarding safety. This is furthered by e.g. fatal accident alerts and cyclical meetings of OHS managers at which, among other issues, reasons and circumstances of fatal events are discussed.  These activities make it possible to formulate conclusions for the future, avoid past mistakes and prevent the occurrence of similar accidents. The Agreement is open to others, inviting all responsible contractors, subcontractors and organisation operating in the construction sector environment.