It is simple. A construction site has many hazards, such is the nature of the job. By following the safety checklist below, you are putting your employees in a much safer position when they are on site.
Conducting a risk assessment will not be enough. It is necessary to conduct a mental one before a single job begins. This should be second nature, as you know the basic hazards to look for. However, there are always other hidden dangers that can crop up. You can do this with the right equipment or safety measures in place. The aspects you need to consider on your construction site safety checklist include:
As a site manager, these checks will be the basic framework for your checklist. However, we brake them into much more depth.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is a necessity. You must remain compliant with the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations Act 1992. Some of the more in-depth PPE checks you need to be making include:
Eye & Face PPE
- Foreign objects can get into your eyes with activities such as welding and cutting. You need to wear safety goggles and/or face shields when working in this environment. The goggles and/or masks are selected based on anticipated hazards.
- When you are exposed to electrical hazards, you need to wear safety glasses and/or face shields. Such as working with energised electrical systems.
- Workers must wear the right gloves for the job. For example, you must wear specialist welding gloves for welding and heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work. Also, you need insulated gloves and sleeves when exposed to electrical hazards.
- Gloves worn by workers must also have a snug fit. If you wear gloves too tight, this can cause hand injury, while loose-fitting gloves can cause workers to lose grip and create further hazards.
- All employees should wear steel-toed footwear.
- Footwear provided to workers should also feature slip-resistant features along with puncture-resistant soles for added safety.
- You need to provide workers with hard hats that are in good condition.
- Ensure the hard hats you provide are maintained in good condition. If one is no longer usable, you need to source a suitable and safe replacement.
- As a site manager, it is important for you to inspect hard hats. You need to look for signs of deterioration, cracks, and dents. By doing this, you will decide if replacements are needed. Also, you can see if your employees are using their safety equipment. It would be a good idea to build an attitude of self-policing too.
- Along with this, PPE signs are also necessary. Check you understand which signs go where on the construction site.
With scaffolding being another major component in construction, the Work at Height Regulations Act 2005 suggests we must also make regular safety checks to ensure the scaffolding equipment is safe to use and regularly maintained. According to the HSE, we need to inspect scaffolds used for construction before we use them for the first time and then every seven days, until this is removed. Along with this, you need to make several other important checks. These include:
- Ensure the scaffolding is set on a sound footing on a firm level foundation.
- If you notice any damaged parts that affect the overall strength of the scaffold, take them out of service.
- Scaffolds your workers are using should not be loaded with more weight than they support.
- Ensure you do not use extra materials to build up on scaffold platforms.
- A regular check you need to make is ensuring no ladders, boxes or other makeshift platforms are ever in use to raise the height.
- Only allow workers trained to use scaffolds to operate on the equipment.
- Make sure you communicate and check that no employee is working on scaffolds in bad weather or high winds.
- Along with this, explain nobody can work on scaffolds when covered with ice or snow.
- You also need to check the access to and from the scaffolding is clear, such as clear staircases and external ladders.
- Ensure that scaffolds are designed, erected, altered, and dismantled only by competent professionals.
The third check you need to take into account are the electrical safety checks. By doing this, you will comply with the Electricity at Work Regulations Act 1989 (PDF). It places legal implications to ensure the safety of electrical devices in the workplace and for those who are using them. Your role as the site manager will include checking the electrical devices being used are safe for your workers do so.
- Locate and identify overhead electrical power lines beforehand.
- You need to identify and replace any frayed, damaged, or worn electrical cords and cables.
- Before decommissioning or inspecting electrical equipment, make sure they are disconnected from all sources of supply and isolated.
- For disused electrical equipment, which are no longer in use, it is your responsibility to check that they are disconnected from all sources of supply and removed from the premises.
- It is also your responsibility to regularly check and maintain any electrical equipment used and remove equipment with defects with suitable and safe replacements.
- You need to check the person using any equipment is trained to use it but also use it while keeping others safe.
- Make sure the users know which PPE they need to wear, how to use it, and make sure they do while operating electrical equipment.
- Make sure that you check the electrical equipment your workforce is using is suitable for the electrical supply you are connecting it to. Also, check the voltage beforehand because this will avoid any potential hazards.
- Organise for a competent person to perform regular tests using suitable equipment and reducing risks by making sure the electrical supply is safe to use.
- For additional safety, consider using a Residual Current Device (RCD) to reduce the likelihood of an electrical injury as a secondary means of reducing injury risk.
Sites can use heavy machinery such as forklifts, cranes and more. It It is important you make these necessary checks to remain compliant with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations Act 1998.
- Check the equipment is constructed or adapted to be suitable for the purpose it is being used for.
- Take into account the working conditions and health and safety risks on the site when selecting machinery.
- Maintain the machinery to an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
- Check only the trained workers are operating the machinery to keep themselves and others on the site safe at all times.
- Check that workers are wearing the correct PPE when operating in or around the heavy machinery.
- Organise for a qualified person to check the condition of heavy machinery regularly to determine whether it is safe to use.
- If you find a defect, you must arrange for the damaged machinery to leave the site and replace with a safe alternative.
- Check the machinery provided comes with identified controls for starting, stopping and controlling the equipment, and that these control systems are safe.
- You need to make sure all of your staff who are or will use or supervising the machinery at work have received training. This includes the correct use of the equipment, identifying risks that could arise, and the precautions your staff will need to take.
- Check you have taken effective measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.
- Where machinery comes with a maintenance log, check you are keeping this up to date or you have a competent person to maintain this log.
With the construction industry responsible for 147 deaths in 2018/2019, it is important that we are all making the effort and necessary checks to make sure that this figure does not increase.
By implementing these checks into your own checklist and following them, you are creating a much safer environment for yourself and the rest of the workforce to operate in.