It will come as no surprise to hear that the construction industry is one of the most dangerous job sectors in the UK. With risks of slips and trips, falls from height, as well as accidents involving heavy lifting and dangerous machinery there are no shortage of places for accidents and incidents to occur. But there are several ways construction sites can reduce these incidents from happening with just a few simple safety measures.
Correct training is perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective safety measure you can employ. Many pieces of equipment found on construction sites are especially dangerous if people don’t know how to use them. And you should never assume that someone knows how to handle the tools and equipment provided.
It’s important that training shouldn’t be a one-off event either. Continuous training should be given, and records updated to reflect who has done what training.
The most important personal protective equipment are yellow jackets, helmets, safety shoes, not forgetting respirator masks to protect from breathing all the dust on the construction site. For construction workers, these range from bullet-proof jackets to breathing masks and everything in between. On the job site, it is important to specify the minimum PPE requirements that workers must wear.
It’s important that you carry out regular equipment checks to ensure they are fit for purpose and replace any that are no longer functional or are showing signs of being overly worn.
Security and safety protocols
Access to construction sites should be limited to ensure protection of heavy equipment and machine theft and damage. Only authorized visitors should be allowed on site and strict safety protocols should be enforced to protect contractors from liabilities, security breaches, and negligence claims because of safety issues.
You should create a culture of safety by holding monthly team meetings that reward people for working safely and urge team members to contribute to making improvements. With construction having a fatality rate four times greater than any other industry, it’s important that workers are aware of any potential dangers and remain vigilant.
Consider incorporating these best practices into your site safety strategy:
- Develop procedures or guidelines for who is allowed access to the job site and the appropriate means and times to do so.
- Enforce a rule against having children on the job site.
- Allow visits by appointment only.
- Ask visitors to wear any safety equipment that you consider necessary for the activities on the job site, such as a helmet and safety waistcoat.
- Monitor the job site with alarms, motion detectors or fences around the building.
- Eliminate any obvious hazards, if possible, or install additional protective devices in areas where visitors could be injured.
- Holes in the floor or grounds should be covered or fenced off. Make sure they are visible!
- Openings to balconies, upper floors and the roof should be clearly marked, fenced or barricaded.
By installing signs in the construction site, you’re letting individuals know about ongoing or possible risks. Signs can range from instructing workers to wear ear protection before entering a certain area, or to make them aware of moving objects and even potential falling objects.
Signs should be visible and legible from a distance, with easy-to-understand imagery. It’s effective to have a mixture of text-only and picture-based signage. But not have so many that workers become immune to them. And remember to keep signs up to date with current guidelines, especially those surrounding social distancing.