A safety reminder

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell reflects on the latest health and safety news.

Safety comes first this week, as it is reported that working at height safety breaches on construction sites have increased by 13%.

Falls through fibre cement roofs and rooflights make up the majority of fatalities, so I imagine that roofers are more at risk than window installers.

However, the story is worth highlighting because with the shift from traditional conservatories to lightweight extensions, increasing numbers of Glass Times readers will find themselves on flat roofs.

Furthermore, I’ve seen a spate of health and safety stories cross my desk recently, covering workplace fatalities (which the construction industry tops) and mental health illness which, despite the increased media focus, is not something that it easily approached on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, one wonders if we are taking our eye off the ball when it comes to safety.

While the UK is the safest place to work in Europe (according to HSE’s figures from 2014), there are 2.8 million workplace-related deaths a year globally. Quite astounding really.

Of course, one death is too many. Personally speaking, I’m always grateful when my wellbeing is taken into consideration when visiting factories (although I imagine the paperwork associated with losing a trade magazine editor alone isn’t worth the risk). In the photo (taken during a trip to Mackenzie Glass in Bristol earlier in the year), I am wearing: a hard hat, safety glasses, ear protectors (obscured), a safety jacket, wrist guards, safety gloves, and the ubiquitous high vis jacket. I felt a bit of a berk, but I was confident that I would emerge unscathed.