Safety at Risk as Construction Sector Struggles for Staff

NEW RESEARCH HAS REVEALED that the UK’s construction sector is at risk of becoming less safe as the industry fails to attract new staff.

The research by the Association for Project Safety (APS), the national body representing 3,500 health and safety risk management professionals, shows job vacancies around the country are being filled by people moving from firm to firm and not because the construction sector is bringing in new blood or attracting fresh talent. The situation is compounded by an ageing workforce thinking of retirement and the pipeline of new staff being closed off due to Brexit.

The report found:

Higher costs: vacancies in construction risk management are being filled but at increased cost and possibly reduced levels of skill and experience.
Consuming itself: the pool of candidates is coming from people already working in the UK industry with little sign on fresh blood; and
Employment time-bomb: people leaving their jobs are often retiring – or have plans to stop work in the next 3 years.

Construction Safety at Risk

APS President, Ray Bone, said: “Construction safety is at risk because fewer new people are coming into the industry. At the moment, people are getting tapped on the shoulder and leaving an existing role in the construction industry to go to new jobs for higher salaries, it can only be assumed employers are accepting alternative qualifications and less experience to get the people they want.

“The construction sector is consuming itself – it’s eating its own tail. This can’t go on indefinitely as the pool of well-qualified and experienced construction safety professionals is drying up. That group is ageing and thinking about retiring and there just isn’t the new blood coming in behind them to make sure the UK’s construction sector stays safe in the future.

“This could have serious consequences for everyone involved in the built environment and will have an impact not just on construction workers but on the wellbeing of people who live and work and maintain everything we build.

“The construction sector needs to take a hard look at itself and work harder to be a job of choice for high calibre people looking for interesting and rewarding careers. It cannot be denied the industry has an image problem but the Association for Project Safety [APS] is also calling on the government to help in the medium term by taking another look at the people we are able to attract from the European Union so the industry can bring in fresh people while it works to develop home grown talent of our own.”

The survey also showed APS members were:

England-based: 84% live and work in England with a concentration based in London and the southeast [32%].
Mature workers: 81% are older workers [45 – 75], with just under half of those saying they are going to retire or planning to do so in the next three years; and
White and male: 80% are both white and male. Only 4% said their roots are in any of the key minority ethnic communities, and just 16% are female.


>> Read more about construction safety in the news

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