A construction site is not just a place of work it is also a potentially dangerous environment and one where health and safety standards have to be strictly observed and maintained at all times. Here is a look at some essential steps that should be taken to ensure that your construction site is as safe as possible.
The first step required when construction is due to begin is to perform a walk-through of the site with all the appointed supervisors and safety officers. The purpose of this exercise is to assess whether the workplace presents and obvious or potential hazards and record in writing anything that is considered to be unsafe or needs further safety action. There are minimum legal standards that need to be met and the HSE offers guidance and outlines the site-owners responsibilities relating to running a safety conscious construction site.
Make sure that all workers who are going to be entering the site and operating equipment have been fully briefed and provided with adequate training in relation to work-site safety. You should also provide guidance on safe lifting techniques as back injuries are commonplace on construction sites.
It is important that any hazardous materials are clearly identified and marked so that anyone coming into contact with them can determine the risk they present. Good policy would be to label and store any materials that are deemed to be hazardous in proper containers and secure them in a safe location.
A material safety data sheet is an important component of occupational health and safety policy and should be used to keep an inventory of any hazardous materials on the site.
Any construction equipment being used should be regularly checked and maintained for any faults or damage and any machinery suspected of being faulty should not be used again until the necessary repairs have been made or it has been check by a suitably qualified professional.
It is essential that harnesses and other relevant safety equipment are used when someone is working at heights on a roof or on scaffolding.
All site workers should have personal protective clothing, which you can source from specialist workwear suppliers like http://www.engelbert-strauss.co.uk/ and the equipment should include not just the appropriate clothing but also hard hats, safety goggles, protective boots, gloves and any other suitable protection such as ear plugs and face masks where required.
Health and safety at work is of paramount importance especially on a construction site where there are numerous potential dangers and hazards. Appoint a suitably qualified person to take charge of meeting and exceeding all the current legislation and minimum legal standards and keep safety records.
Always be prepared for emergencies and have a plan of action prepared beforehand. All site workers should be fully aware of what to do in the event of an emergency such as an injury or an electrical or mechanical failure which presents a danger.
Keeping the public out
You are not just protecting the safety of workers during the daytime but you also have a responsibility to protect the public as well as keeping the equipment and property left on site safe and secure. After work has finished each day the site should be locked and secured using barricades where required and by posting warning notices and contact information out of hours.
Follow these essential steps and your construction site should be able to comply with current safety standards and you will also be much better equipped to deal with any subsequent health and safety issues that arise.
Max Slater is a passionate architect whose work spans decades. From his extensive experience, he often writes about how to create a smoothly-run project from initial conception to completion.