Keeping workers and visitors safe on a construction site is the responsibility of whoever is in control of the site. Failing to implement effective safety measures can put anyone on or near the site at risk. Here are some important health and safety tips you should consider to maximise construction site safety.
Keeping Staff Safe
Workers face a variety of hazards and dangers each day they work on your construction site. It’s important to have the procedures in place to minimise risk and ensure each member of staff knows how to work safely.
Risk assessments and health and safety plans can help you to determine the potential dangers on site. They also allow you to assign responsibility to trained team members who can ensure that procedures are being adhered to.
The HSE state that employers must “ensure that all persons who work equipment have received adequate training for the purposes of health and safety, including training in the methods which may be adopted when using work equipment.”
It’s your responsibility to ensure that staff receive regular training when it comes to tools and equipment. For some pieces of equipment, workers will need detailed, formal training that might need to be carried out off-site.
When providing training, you’ll need to consider the difficulty of the activity, the existing competence of your team and the circumstances of the work. Different tasks and equipment will need new training each time.
Selecting the right equipment or tool for the task will reduce the risk of accidents and once finished all equipment must be stored correctly. Defective items should be reported to management and repaired or replaced before they are used again.
Working on a construction site can be dangerous, especially if conditions are difficult due to the weather or shortage of staff. You should tour the site, working out areas of particular risk, like scaffolding or small spaces.
Once you’ve determined these potential risks you can find ways of eliminating them or educate staff about the dangers they pose.
Slips, trips and falls take place in every workplace but on a construction site they can be especially hazardous. Ensure that trip hazards like cables and mats are secured so that those nearby don’t fall.
If it’s been raining, surfaces can become slippery. Use anti-slip flooring or a dry area to reduce the chance of slips when it’s wet.
With teams working across the site, there’s always a chance that items can be dropped onto workers. You need to ensure that your workers are wearing the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) like hard hats so they’re protected from falling objects.
Protecting the Public
Your workers may know exactly how to stay safe at the site, but visitors and the general public may be unaware of basic procedures they need to follow. Once they’re on site, their safety is your responsibility.
For individuals that aren’t visiting the site, but might be passing nearby, there are some things you need to do to ensure their safety.
First and foremost, you need to manage site access to prevent pedestrians from accidentally walking into dangerous situations. Implementing clear site boundaries and installing safety signs can ensure pedestrians stay out of the area.
Keeping track of who’s on site at any time is important when it comes to health and safety. Making workers and visitors sign in ensures only authorised personnel have access to the site and lets you know who should be present in the event of an emergency.
Think about key points of entry and how easy it might be for someone to access your construction site. Fences, gates and turnstiles are good methods of preventing unwanted access.
If the site is likely to attract children or other trespassers, you should ensure that high fences are in place to act as a deterrent. Think about how trespassers could access nearby buildings through your site and vice-versa. You can be liable for any person injured on the site, so it’s important to carry out thorough checks.
Construction sites are full of hazards that can cause injuries to visitors and the general public. For example, objects can fall from the site onto pedestrians and vehicles that are outside the boundary below if proper care isn’t taken.
Larger sites can have different vehicles entering and leaving the site throughout the day. It’s your responsibility to ensure that these vehicles don’t hit members of the public. Outlining clear crossing points for drivers to see can reduce the chance of collisions.
Scaffolding, stacks of materials and excavations all present clear risk to visitors to your site and must be approached effectively.
Any visitors to your site, like inspectors, architects and members of the management team, need to wear the right PPE at all times. Hard hats will protect them from falling objects and high-vis jackets and coats make them visible to workers.
Different weather conditions present different risks for your workers so it’s important to reassess your procedures throughout the year. Download our comprehensive guide for detailed information on keeping construction workers safe in the sun this summer.