construction site, safety

A Guide to Construction Site Safety Essentials

Ed Barker
Authored by Ed Barker
Posted: Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:45

Ensuring that your construction site operates safely is of critical importance and that means following certain procedures and ensuring you use relevant equipment designed to make the areas and buildings safe as you build.

Workplace safety places an onus on management and workers to ensure that safe practices are followed rigorously. and no corners are cut. The temptation to cut corners and save money can and will backfire, and potentially injure or even cause death at its worst, and at best cause a costly time delay with potential for the site to be shut down whilst issues are investigated and corrected.

The Health and Safety Executive release figures on the fatalities caused in working environments and sadly the construction industry tops the list when it comes to deaths through work related accidents.  It is essential that site managers consider the matter of construction site safety as an important and integral part of any site set up and planning appropriately.

It can be seen that the reasons for accidents, whilst not always possible to avoid, show the main reasons such as a fall from height, being struck by a moving vehicle or being hit by moving objects can be greatly reduced by taking a few safety measures and using additional equipment or more time.

Personal Safety

Wearing suitable protective equipment, such as hard hats, safety footwear and high visibility clothing should be compulsory for all site users.  Where the site extends to areas with public access, suitable barriers and shielding protection should be in place.

Adequate training should be provided for all site workers, contractors and visitors and access only given after appropriate advice and safety equipment is provided. Awareness should be raised with signs and ongoing training as a constant reminder of the need to be aware that large machinery and working at height requires vigilance and the use of appropriate safety measures.  Compliance with safety rules should be compulsory and good practice demonstrated by all.

Keeping equipment and workwear clean is also necessary to ensure that they work as intended and the provision of rest areas to ensure worker safety during breaks is good practice.

Ensuring that a well-stocked first aid kits are available, and that sufficient trained staff are on the premises during working time is a minimum requirement and certainly not something to be overlooked.

Building Safety

Always use and erect scaffolding or work platforms in line with good building practice, avoid the use of standalone ladders when working at height.  Where necessary harnesses should be provided and relevant training in fall protection given. 

Using equipment such as acrow props to provide safe support when you are repairing and restoring buildings or to support falsework is a must to ensure safety. The provision of the correct load bearing acrow prop support when creating archways, windows or doorways or any area where there is a risk of collapse if the load above is not properly supported should never be circumvented.

Site safety requires all users to be clear on procedures.  There should be sufficient room to manoeuvre all large mechanical equipment safely and where necessary clear areas that are only for pedestrian use.  All site users should be constantly reminded that machinery and equipment is on the move and presents a danger. They should also be regularly reminded of what steps you expect them to take to ensure that risks are reduced.

Training and Documentation

Ensure that your workforce are all suitably trained to perform the tasks expected of them, maintain registers of certificates and licenses and ensure that equipment is maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

While it is not possible to avoid every potential accident, ensuring a robust construction safety plan will reduce common risks and make your site as safe as it could be.

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