Thursday, 12 April 2012

Danger, men at work

Apologies for the sexist headline, but it is still mostly men who work at the dirty end of the construction industry, and that is where the danger lies. I was reminded of this by the latest story I saw on Construction Enquirer. This website, aimed firmly at the contracting community, only runs about five stories a day, and most days one of them is about an accident or injury. The latest headline seems like good news - 'Workers survive 250 tonne concrete collapse' - until you read on and find out that the 'lucky' workers who fell 10 metres into wet concrete 'only' suffered cement burns and broken bones.

A few years ago I remember an architect telling me that what he found most worrying about his job was that he was designing buildings whose construction could result in a worker dying on site. This is not the way that most architects think about their work, but it was refreshing. For most, the idea of offsite construction is appealing because of accuracy, lack of errors and elimination of waste. It is worth remembering though that cutting down on the amount of site work should mean reducing the risks in what is still a very dangerous area of work.

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