t’s certainly fair to say that every life holds value, in most circles at least. The recent movements of the global pandemic have been a testament to that, proving that people believe firmly in the value of life, every life.
In our world, lives can be lost but also saved through proper preparation and care, which is of course something we are deeply passionate about. Our passion comes from the massive effects that even the smallest incident can have on everyone involved. This does not just mean the workers directly involved, but their families, their friends, and their communities.
We can all be so quick to forget the immense hole that any workplace injury or death can have. It never stops with the immediate family, it’s a missing member of the community, a missing parent, friend, and sibling. While wounds do heal over time, there are some wounds that will never be truly healed, and the loss of a loved one is one of those.
We can never hope to replace a loved one already lost, but we can work together to ensure that no-one else ever has to go through the same pain and loss. It is never surprising to see then that those most passionate about ensuring safety on worksites are those who have seen many others suffer from carelessness, or even have suffered that pain themselves.
This does not change in the slightest when it is a more prolonged effect or illness. Like we have seen in recent years with the silicosis epidemic. Workers are still living with the effects of the poor safety standards and methods of the past, and their families and communities are living through those effects with them.
Silica dust’s potential impact on the lungs of a tradie are not to be taken lightly. Diseases like bronchitis, emphysema, silicosis, and lung cancer can be the results of prolonged exposure. Since the revelations of the silicosis epidemic, we have been pleased to see that much progress has been made in making sure that workers are not exposed to harmful quantities of silica dust.
We have also seen a more general awareness of the risks involved in the construction sector, alongside a more concerted effort to protect workers on any sort of site. Site owners and workers alike have come to recognise the risks involved with working with harmful materials, and they are working to minimise any and all risks posed to workers.
It is “thanks” to the Covid-19 pandemic that we have seen a very strong renewed focus on worksite cleanliness. While it would have been good to have seen efforts being made before the onset of a global pandemic, it may have to be better late than never for these precautions.
We are now seeing site owners put in place more stringent hand washing and tool washing guidelines to ensure that, as things return to “normal”, we are staying vigilant of the massive threat that coronavirus still poses to our health.
The entire episode has forced construction site owners to really re-evaluate the ways in which they deal with the issues surrounding safety and cleanliness on-site. We do hope that this is not going to be a short-term change, and that we end up with some real change on sites across the country.
No site will ever be perfect but working together with site owners and workers we believe that every construction site across Australia can reach a very high level of safety.