Jersey Health and Safety Inspectorate Annual Report

The Jersey Health and Safety Inspectorate’s annual report for 2020 was recently released. Despite the effect that the pandemic, it still makes for some interesting reading.

Unsurprisingly, COVID heavily impacted the Inspectorate’s work, which added another layer to their workload even though the construction industry was still operating for most of 2020. As well as planned inspections on COVID precautions, the Inspectorate also followed up 227 formal complaints about a lack of compliance with workplace COVID-19 legislation or public health guidance between May and December last year. A fuller evaluation of COVID’s impact on the Inspectorate and the Island’s workplace health and safety is likely to appear in the 2021 Annual Report.

In this report, working at height was a cause for concern, accounting for 27 of the 35 prohibition notices issued. Statistics on claims after a work-related accident indicated an increase in falls from height claims from the previous year.

Regarding occupational health, predictably, stress and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for the vast majority of all work-related ill-health claims. These injuries made up 94 per cent of the total social security sickness benefit claims submitted. Construction workers experienced more musculoskeletal disorders, most likely due to the physical nature of the work. Still, stress was the most significant component in other industry sectors. Perhaps not surprisingly, with the concerns that COVID-19 brought on job security, income, and possible infection.

The construction sector makes up around 10 per cent of the Island’s workforce yet accounted for almost a quarter of all accidents in 2020. Whilst this could reflect the high-risk nature of the construction environment, this ratio has remained primarily unchanged for more than a decade. As a result, the Inspectorate has put out a quiet warning calling for the industry to make more effort to lessen the number of work-related injuries.

It’s clear that construction-related health and safety issues are a big concern for the Inspectorate as they’ve outlined construction occupational health figures separately from other industry sectors. The report also shows that the Inspectorate received 164 formal health and safety complaints from the construction sector, almost 60 per cent of all reports.

In summary, fewer accident and ill-health claims were reported in 2020, which was expected due to a large portion of the Island’s workforce working from home for a significant period during the year. However, stress continues to be a major concern and the construction sector should probably consider itself ‘on notice’. It will be interesting to see next year’s report as the Island opened slowly for business in 2021.

[tmm name=”paddy-guyomard”]

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