Amid an industry replete with high-risk machinery and equipment, metal and steel workers are voicing increasing concerns over the lack of emphasis on health and safety within their workplaces. A recent study conducted by power tool and accessories manufacturer FEIN has laid bare the significant apprehensions within the community.
The Disturbing Reality: What The Numbers Say
According to the research, a staggering 33% of metalworking professionals believe that health and safety do not hold a top priority status within their respective companies. More worrying is that over a quarter report feeling insecure about their safety while on the job. While 38% feel confident they can perform their duties safely, 45% believe that tools equipped with safety features would improve their comfort level at work.
The Economic Impact of Negligence
FEIN’s research also highlights the far-reaching economic repercussions of inadequate health and safety measures. It is estimated that work-related injuries and ill-health cost the UK economy a substantial £18.8 billion a year, based on the latest statistics from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).
Size of the Company Matters
Interestingly, the study revealed that metalworkers in larger companies, with 50-99 and 250-500 employees, are most likely to be concerned about safety measures. Conversely, health and safety training appears to be least available in smaller companies with 1-9 employees, where only 13% reported having access to such training.
The Price of Safety
A considerable 39% of the respondents felt that tools incorporating safety features are simply too expensive. This financial deterrent is a significant obstacle in the adoption of safer practices and technologies.
Andy Mills Weighs In
Andy Mills, Managing Director of FEIN UK, emphasized that although the industry on the whole may not worry about safety, there’s an undeniable need for improvements. “Investing in safety-led tools can dramatically improve safety standards, increase confidence, and prevent unwanted expenses in the form of accidents at work,” Mills explained.
Innovation and Public Discourse: The Way Forward
According to Mills, the sector should leverage its innovative capabilities to enhance safety standards. Industry events and group discussions offer promising platforms to explore safety needs and solutions. FEIN, for its part, is leading the way with safety features like non-removable safeguards, abnormal movement protection, and versatile hand-grips, all of which have been well-received.
The Workers Union Says…
“The concerns raised by metal and steel workers serve as a wake-up call for the industry. Adequate health and safety measures are not a luxury but a necessity. Investments in safety should be viewed as a long-term commitment to the workforce and the company’s sustainability. Let us strive to make health and safety not just a policy but a culture within workplaces.”