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What are the UK’s most common health and safety complaints?

By Kevin Rowe 2 months ago No comments

Every responsible business will be well aware of how important it is to set high standards of health and safety in order to avoid falling foul of industry regulations. However, it’s worth remembering that it isn’t only regulators who will be prepared to point out safety failings when they see them - the same is true for your employees.

Bunkabin works to provide safe and secure on-site accommodation solutions for businesses across the UK, and has conducted research to find out exactly what concerns British workers currently have about the safety standards in their workplaces. The studies carried out in recent months revealed that employees are much more willing to air their grievances about on-site safety than you might realise.

Almost one-in-five workers have made a health and safety complaint

The survey from December 2019 asked 900 UK workers about their employers’ policies towards health and safety complaints, and found that 17% of respondents have made complaints about their workplace at some point during their careers.

The most common complaints raised focused on the air quality and temperature in the workplace, with 42% of complainants having focused on this area, while a further 24% had raised issues about the physical workplace and 20% had made a complaint about cleanliness.

The survey also asked respondents to rank the importance of certain physical factors in their work environment, and once again professionals ranked comfortable temperatures as their area of greatest concern, followed by air quality, comfortable acoustics and lighting.

One finding that should be seen as a warning sign by employers was the fact that the majority of workers do not feel their health and safety complaints are generally being taken seriously. Of those who had made a complaint, 38% feel it was not taken seriously enough, while a further 15% said it was ignored entirely. Only 18% said that their complaint was listened to carefully and treated with the right amount of gravity.

Moreover, 31% said the subject of their complaint was ultimately not addressed very well, while 20% said no action was taken as a result - suggesting a large number of British workplaces are ignoring their staff’s safety concerns, and failing to make the most of opportunities to do better.

You can review the full findings of this survey here, or watch this short video on the key figures below.

Subpar toilet facilities are the most common source of unhappiness

In a separate study, Bunkabin got in touch with the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) to gather data on complaints it has received in relation to working conditions between May 2016 and May 2019. This was to gain further insights into the safety and welfare failings that are making British workers most unhappy.

The results revealed that toilet facilities are the most common cause of complaints to the HSE, with the regulator receiving a total of 2,987 complaints on this issue over the three-year period. This aligned with the findings of a previous Bunkabin survey into the state of staff facilities from 2019, which suggested that 47% of workers think their employers could do more to improve their on-site toilet and shower facilities, many of which currently lack basic features like separate and lockable stalls.

The complete ranking of the most common complaints made to the HSE is as follows:

  1. Toilet facilities - 2,987 complaints
  2. Excessive noise - 898 complaints
  3. A lack of proper on-site dining facilities - 471 complaints
  4. Damp - 463 complaints
  5. Unhygienic conditions - 72 complaints
  6. Lack of safety signs - 62 complaints
  7. Unsanitary conditions - 36 complaints
  8. Excessive heat - 2 complaints
  9. Cramped conditions - 1 complaint

The immediate takeaway for businesses should be that there is considerable room for improvement. In many cases, the frequency of these complaints suggests that many employers are failing to meet basic legal standards of on-site safety and welfare, which could land them in hot water with regulators like the HSE if they do not take corrective action.

What should businesses learn from this?

Of course, as mentioned earlier, workplace health and safety should not be viewed as simply a matter of regulatory compliance. As these survey findings show, your staff members will certainly notice if you are failing to look after their safety and wellbeing - and whether they choose to speak up or not, it will absolutely have an impact on their morale, loyalty and productivity.

This is why it is so important to make sure you are paying close attention to your workplace safety responsibilities, and to invest properly in the safety products, facilities and accommodation that your employees require. By doing so, you can benefit from a safer, happier, more efficient and risk-free working environment - a true win-win proposition.

Many thanks to the team at Bunkabin for providing this information! Check out their range of portable cabins for hire for a flexible way of providing your workers with high-quality on-site accommodation and facilities.

If you’re looking for more ways to keep your workforce safe, browse the wide selection of safety signs, first aid equipment and workwear that SafetyBuyer has to offer. For further assistance and information, call us on 0800 043 0161, or email the team at sales@safetybuyer.com.