Storms are top disruption to work in last year, say construction workers

Storms, icy weather, floods and extreme heat caused significant disruption to work, according to construction workers surveyed ahead of World Day for Safety and Health at Work

Extreme and unpredictable weather is the top cause of disruptions at work, frontline construction workers have said in a survey by SafetyCulture.

Four of the top five disruptions to UK construction workers in the last 12 months are weather-related, with travel disruption on the roads, heat, icy weather, and floods also being identified.

The findings come ahead of the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on Sunday 28th April, which is run annually by the UN’s International Labour Organisation.

6 out of 10 construction workers admit cutting corners at work

Storms and other external sources of disruption have had a marked impact on productivity, with more than half (55%) of workers unable to leave home due to disruptions at some point last year.

Another half (49%) have had to leave site early at some point due to factors like bad weather.

This frequent disruption contributes to the UK’s construction operatives feeling stretched and stressed. Six out of ten (59%) admit cutting corners on health and safety at work, potentially creating risk to themselves or colleagues. Respondents to SafetyCulture’s survey said they cut corners because they were under pressure to meet deadlines, understaffed, and poorly equipped.

Alex Brooks-Sykes, SafetyCulture’s lead for UK & Ireland, said: “The British have a reputation for grumbling about the weather, but for construction workers, it can stop a good day’s work and even impact their safety.

“Clearly on-site workers are heavily impacted by weather conditions, and storms are a particular drain on productivity and cause of downtime. Staff absences and disruption are also bad for businesses forced to continually juggle resources and fluctuating costs. It all adds up to another drag on the sector’s productivity.”

Clear communication is vital to minimise the impact of extreme weather

With the Met Office forecasting an increase in the number and intensity of storms in Britain, SafetyCulture suggests employers can do more to support construction workers.

Alex added: “Communication is key. Accepting that we can’t change the weather, employers should maintain an open dialogue with frontline workers and ensure reports from the ground are taken seriously. Managers with office comforts can be hundreds of miles from site, but the technology exists to react in real-time, minimise disruption and keep workers safe by ensuring they’ve got the right equipment and training to handle every climate. They’re simple principles, but they can make a big impact.”

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