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Avoiding deaths and accidents in the workplace

ECL Site-Wide Stand Down Initiative – Accident and Death Prevention Campaign

Avoiding deaths and accidents in the workplace

According to the HSE, in 2019/20, there were 40 deaths to workers in the UK, 81,000 workers suffering from work-related ill-health, and 61,000 accidents. Most of these injuries could have been prevented if proper safety procedures had been in place.

Avoiding deaths and accidents

Safety Stand Downs are events used for employers to talk directly to employees about safety and other job hazards that they face, including protective methods and the company’s safety policies and goals.

They can be conducted by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or doing other safety activities such as conducting safety equipment inspections and discussing job-specific hazards. These activities encourage workers to stop for an hour or so to discuss common issues such as falls and best practices for preventing accidents and injuries on-site and keep them alert to the risks around them.

Stand Downs are used to tackle key health and safety challenges, ensuring that common issues are not getting missed and that standards remain high across a site, along with continuing education for all workers. They are a powerful new weapon in the battle against workplace accidents, engaging a workforce – whether it be direct employees or contractors – on critical safety issues and generating valuable feedback to help improve an organisation’s safe practices.

Stand Downs also highlight opportunities to prevent workplace incidents, educate workers on best practices, and review potential hazards on-site, amongst other things.

ECL carries out monthly Stand Downs, where all 90 sites will stop work simultaneously for an hour. Supervisors and the team at hand will all work as a collective to check the site to ensure any potential hazards are highlighted and dealt with. Any hazards foreseen will be discussed with site workers to help instil the importance of good health and safety practices on site.

There will be a focus on different hazards every month, with the topic determined by areas of concern identified in the preceding month. For example, the Stand Down on April 7th focussed on:


Excavations were checked to ensure that suitable barriers and warnings were in place and that access to and from these was suitable and clear of obstructions.


Walkways were checked to make sure that they were clear and that there was no risk of plant and pedestrians crossing paths. In addition, workers were reminded of the procedures in place surrounding movement around the site.


Workers were educated on the need for a permit to be in place before digging starts on-site and that the site manager needs to assess the area first to avoid any potential service strikes.


Site Managers checked the lifting plan in place and made sure that operatives were briefed on its contents, and made sure that workers knew that only trained and competent people were to use lifting accessories on site.


As a result of our April stand-downs we have already seen a significant decrease in incidents across all actions discussed during May and June. Further proof that by educating and reminding people on a regular basis about the key safety areas on-site, the risks are dramatically reduced. Our ultimate goal is to have no accidents on-site, and this initiative brings the business one step closer to achieving our target. 


Read more on how ECL is Avoiding deaths and accidents in the workplace

How To Check Your Hard Hat

ECL Civil Engineering Accident Prevention Campaign

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