Construction sites can be dangerous places for workers, visitors and even the passing public, so it is vital for larger scale construction sites such as building developments to be diligently assessed and for health and safety measures to be followed and in place at all times. Here are eight safety rules that are vital to follow while working on building development sites.
1. Make sure you are fully trained
An induction and thorough training are both essential before beginning work on any building site, as no two environments are ever the same. Site inductions are a legal requirement and are in place to ensure that employees are educated around site-specific health and safety rules and potential hazards, as well as keeping others around the site safe.
2. Always wear PPE
It is vital to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) whilst on construction premises to help protect against hazards such heavy equipment and falling debris. PPE such as hard hats, steel toe boots and body protection should be worn. A PPE strategy should be put in place for each building site, following a full documented risk assessment, so that workers have increased protection and both the likelihood and severity of workplace injury is reduced.
3. Report defects and site issues
If you notice a problem on site, it is important to report it to your manager or supervisor immediately. If an issue is ignored, no matter how minor it may seem, it could become a danger, causing harm to others. Reporting issues immediately could potentially save others on site from injury; in 2018/19 there were 4,872 non-fatal injuries to employees reported by employers, this could see a decrease if health and safety procedures such as reporting are followed diligently.
4. Never tamper with equipment
Construction equipment can be dangerous and powerful, which is why machinery should be left alone if you are not trained and unauthorised to use specific equipment. However, do not try and force or tamper with equipment if it is defective – even if you are trained in using it. Instead, report to a supervisor who will ensure the equipment is fixed by the appropriate authorised employee.
5. Take care when working at height
Building development projects involve multi-level working, so working at height safely is a major consideration. As well as following health and safety training, ensure that you are preventing hazards wherever you can. It is important to use scafftag from Reece Safety to highlight potential hazards and efficiently manage any working at height related equipment inspection procedures. Scafftag should be fitted to all scaffolding and ladders from the beginning of a project and remain on the structure until dismantling as this communicated the critical inspection status.
6. Follow safety signs and procedures
Some safety signs that may be seen around construction sites include, yellow ‘danger construction work in progress’ and red ‘no unauthorised access’ signs to protect and warn workers as well as those who are unfamiliar with the site like visitors. It is important that visitors and staff on site are aware of the meaning of all signs to ensure safety.
7. Lift objects properly
With the fatal injury rate in construction being three times the All Industry rate in the UK, it is key to handle equipment correctly. The NHS outlines the stages of lifting objects currently to avoid injury:
- Think before you lift – plan the lift and where the load is going to be placed
- Keep the load close to the waist – this reduces pressure on your back
- Adopt a stable position – your feet should be apart with one leg forward to maintain balance
- Ensure a good hold on the load and hug close to the body
- Do not bend your back before lifting
- Do not twist your back or lean when lifting
- Know your limits and do not lift more than you feel comfortable – the general guidelines for men is 25kg and women is 16kg.
8. Keep the work area and site tidy
Ensure that the workplace is always tidy, and the site is cleared after each shift to avoid trips and falls to workers leaving and beginning work. However, in the case that hazardous objects are left around the site, ensure that the correct footwear is always worn. Debris and equipment should never be left on the floor or blocking walkways, particularly at height, as this could cause potential accidents and injury.