Health and safety is imperative in any workplace but especially when working on construction sites. These environments pose a range of risks so steps should be taken to minimise or mitigate potential hazards.
Some of the common risks include:
- Working at height: this can increase the risk of falling and subsequent injuries.
- Vehicles and plant equipment: moving machinery, vehicles and plant equipment can pose a risk of getting trapped or struck, causing serious injuries.
- Hazardous substances: dust and chemicals can lead to illness, leaving workers at risk of respiratory problems.
- Noise: it’s important to protect staff from loud noises to prevent hearing loss.
A risk assessment should be carried out on all construction sites so that management, employees and contractors know what to do to reduce the chances of suffering an accident or ill health. But there are also other steps that should be taken to ensure a safe working environment:
Encourage a safety culture
It’s important to put health and safety first and ensure that everyone present on site understands the dangers. It’s wise to have official training and documents in place that outline the hazards and actions that should be taken.
Many companies employ a dedicated health and safety officer to work on specific projects. This person is usually responsible for the overall safety of the workplace as well as training and logging of any accidents. Risks and actions should be monitored by this person and protocols frequently updated to reflect the hazards.
Have the right tools for the job
As well as suitable personal protective equipment for all staff, it’s imperative that the correct tools are used for each specific task. Common construction tools include power tools, concrete mixers and safety tools such as harnesses and scaffolding. Shackles, such as those from RS, are vital for lifting heavy equipment safely and securely.
Safety ladders should be used when working at height with the correct harnesses. Machinery should be used according to manufacturer instructions and only by those who have been fully trained to do so.
Service equipment on a regular basis
Old or faulty tools and equipment can pose a risk to users so it’s important to make sure items are properly maintained. Faults should be reported immediately and regular services should be carried out to identify any issues before they cause an accident.
Constant evaluation and adjustment
Construction sites should be inspected on a daily basis with new risk assessments created should any new hazards be identified. Staff should have regular health and safety refresher training and be updated on how to use any new equipment.
While it’s impossible to prevent all risks on a construction site, following these steps will help to minimise hazards and help keep workers safe.