Ask yourself, as a construction worker, operator or on-site project coordinator, how safe do you feel in your job? Go on, your employer’s not with you, watching over your shoulder, you’re safe to answer the question honestly…
I don’t mean job security or fear of on-site intrusions but whether you regard your workplace as a safe and comfortable environment.
Shockingly, just 5% of employees in Britain are employed in the field of construction, yet it is an industry in which a staggering 27% of all fatal injuries to employees occur, according to ROSPA Workplace Safety.
What’s more, most accidents happen to people who work from height, the most common cases involving people falling from fragile roofs and ladders. The statistics were so worrying that it prompted the ROSPA to use ‘falls from height’ as their theme for #OSHtober- their annual month-long workplace safety campaign delivered throughout October this year.
Taking just a small section of the country, UK Safety Store reported on their blog in 2015 that 1 in 5 construction sites failed safety reviews during the first five days of an inspection initiative in Merseyside and Cheshire at the start of the year.
Reminding construction workers that poor standards are unacceptable, and could result in enforcement action was the motivation that sparked the safety initiative, which was part of a larger month-long campaign across the UK to tighten health and safety in one of the country’s most dangerous industries.
While security companies can ensure no members of the public trespass on construction sites or tampers with equipment, health and safety, as you’ll know, is paramount.
Here are top 5 health and safety tips construction workers should swear by to protect themselves and their colleagues:
- Make sure all construction sites are clean and free from mess. Access routes should always be kept clear to avoid collisions and to make way for emergency exits should they be necessary.
- Always ensure construction equipment used is maintained to a high standard, inspected on a regular basis and suitable for the job it is being used for. The equipment/machine operator should always hold the relevant and up-to-date qualifications to operate the appliance.
- Wherever possible, protective equipment and clothing should be used and always worn when necessary whether that means sporting a hard hat, safety goggles and fluorescent jacket or steel toecaps boots (or other safety footwear equivalents).
The HSE website offers further advice on other safety clothing and equipment that is likely to be required, such as earplugs, gloves and scarves for neck protection during welding.
- From driving a fork-lift truck to operating a chainsaw, everyone on a construction site MUST be fully qualified (and hopefully experienced) enough to carry out their individual role on the site.
Organisations such as City & Guilds provide qualifications for specialist trade occupations and construction management certifications as well as general construction courses.
- With falling from height’ being the most prevalent cause of worker deaths in the construction industry, it’s only fair to include fall protection in the top 5 safety tips on construction sites.
Where workers are walking, and working on surfaces that have unprotected edges and are situated six feet above a lower level, fall protection systems should be put in place by employers.
Guardrails prevents falls from occurring altogether, while safety nets and personal fall arrest systems stop workers falling from great distances.
All aspects of security, from the personal health and safety security of staff, to the protection from trespassers and theft and feeling emotionally comfortable in a working environment should be considered on any construction site.
What construction site safety tips do you and your team swear by? Let me know in the comments below.
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With mental agility to analyse and solve problems and proactively take action born out of extensive experience operating in the security industry, Samatar now leads a team of highly skilled and qualified security personnel at Rapid Action Security. The company provide the strongest location security, offering services from trustworthy keyholding and rapid alarm response, to vigilant CCTV monitoring and fully licensed manned security to offer businesses peace of mind.