Despite being one of the most heavily regulated industries, construction sites are some of the most dangerous places to work. With around 81,000 workers suffering from work-related ill health and 40 fatalities last year alone, there’s still a long way to go to ensure the safety of employees on sites.
Ensuring all employees are given on-going training is perhaps the easiest and most cost effective safety measure you can employ. And it’s not just new team members who should undergo training, experienced workers should be expected to refresh their knowledge of standard safety by attending regular training sessions throughout the year.
It’s not just training surrounding machinery, training should also be given on current guidelines surrounding stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Building sites are often busy and noisy places to work, with new contractors arriving all the time, so ensuring there’s clear signage is imperative. 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.
Correct PPE and RPE
Wearing the correct personal protective and respiratory protective equipment is imperative on a building site. From hard hats to safety harnesses, high-vis jackets to masks, ensuring your workers are equipped with the correct equipment will limit the number of injuries. Not only should each piece of equipment on the job site be ideally suited to the task at hand, but construction firms have to make sure that all machinery and materials are well maintained.
Communication is a major factor in keeping employees safe. As an employer it’s your responsibility to ensure that staff feel comfortable in having an open and honest dialogue. Employees should be encouraged to talk with each other and with any alternative party if they identify potential risks. Those working onsite should be aware of existing potential hazards but also have a conscious awareness of other dangers.
Employees should be regularly asked about what they think could make their job safer and have the opportunity to report any accidents or near-misses. These reports should be written down and monitored and actioned-upon. To ensure that you comply with health and safety legislation, you should also ensure that you have completed thorough risk assessments for all your places of work.