Why are Welfare Units Essential?
November 23, 2021
Mobile Welfare Units, Heavy & Small Plant, Tools & Equipment, Groundhog Cabins, Harlow
The provision of functioning welfare units on site may seem like simply a courtesy and not particularly necessary, but this isn’t the case. A tragic event in Scotland earlier this year demonstrated the importance of ensuring not only comfort but safety for workers. A 74 year old security guard sadly died of hypothermia in a remote area near New Cumnock. It had been agreed by the contractors that two guards were required as mobile phone signals in the area were poor. There was also no landline available, meaning no means of communication apart from the men’s walkie talkies. The weather began to deteriorate around lunchtime, and the men had no way of calling for help.
The subsequent Health & Safety Executive [HSE] investigation found that there were a few failures on the part of the contractors. These included failing to make sure that each of the guards had a functioning back-up generator to provide heat and light. The welfare areas main generator had failed on numerous occasions before, so this should have been a priority.
It was late afternoon when the colleague managed to get a phone signal and alert the control room about their problems. Not only had the main generator failed, but the 4×4 vehicle used to get the men off site had become snowbound. It wasn’t until 9pm that management called emergency services, by which time one of the guards had succumbed to the extreme temperatures.
HSE inspector Gerard Muir said: “This incident could so easily have been avoided had either company ensured that a suitable assessment had been made of the risk to those working at the site in poor weather. That suitable and sufficient means had been provided for the guards to communicate off site. Also that back-up generators had been provided, particularly when they knew how often the main generator had failed. By simply carrying out these correct control measures and ensuring safe working practices at this site, this tragic event could have been avoided”.
This occurrence demonstrates the importance of high quality welfare cabins at all sites where workers may become vulnerable. If you can’t afford to buy a mobile welfare unit for work in places like Harlow, the next best option is hire one from Rhinos Plant Hire.