Construction site safety fundamentals

There’s no doubt construction is one of the most hazardous work environments. HSE figures consistently show that the industry has some of the highest levels of workplace injury, up there with the likes of agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Construction site safety must be a key consideration for managers and workers alike. Below we discuss the key factors needed to manage the level of risk onsite, to always protect workers and the public.

Risk assessments

The first step in any safety and security procedure is thorough risk assessments. These are a legal necessity and should be carried out to identify hazards onsite that pose a threat to staff or members of the public.

Once risks have been identified, a plan should be put in place to mitigate them as far as possible, including safety precautions, site protocols and training sessions. It’s not a one-time process, these should be carried out regularly and new ones completed for any new hazards that arise.

Comprehensive training

Training is a significant aspect of site safety because the people in and around danger need to know how to do things correctly. Sessions should be carried out around general site protocols, expectations and methods, as well as in relation to specific tools and equipment.

Regularly updated training can help to keep lessons fresh in the mind and ensure standards don’t start to slip. Creating engaging sessions is best to maximise the impact of training.

Personal protective equipment

Workers need the right personal protective equipment (PPE) to stay safe in dangerous work environments such as construction sites. The need for these items should be outlined in risk assessments and supplied readily wherever and whenever it’s necessary.

Failing to stock adequate supplies or not replacing old, damaged PPE can put workers at extreme risk, and doing so is a violation of your duties as an employer. Common pieces of PPE for construction sites include hard hats, work boots, hi-vis clothing and safety glasses, but it can also refer to items such as these.

Tool and equipment safety

Workers must know how to use tools correctly, but the equipment itself requires servicing and maintenance. This is to ensure that a breakdown or malfunction doesn’t put staff or members of the public in harm’s way.

Tools and equipment of all kinds should follow a proactive servicing schedule, as outlined by the manufacturer. Any issues should be reported immediately to avoid more damage being inflicted.

Site precautions and protocols

The management of a site has a significant influence on its safety and the safety of its workforce. Precautions such as clear signage, pedestrian routes and site boundaries are essential to alert both workers and the public to hazards. These should be implemented and maintained throughout the perimeter to uphold safety standards on site.

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