When you run a construction site, ensuring the safety of your staff and the public is essential. Failing to implement the appropriate safety measures will put both yourself and anyone on your site in danger. In the construction industry, there are many safety requirements to ensure that those working on-site, and even those just passing by, are kept safe from any potential danger.
As providers of safety signs and equipment, we know all about the steps that go into on-site safety. We have put together a step by step guide to help you ensure your construction site is safe and that you have the right measures in place to prevent any accidents.
Step 1 - Assess The Risks
To have a safe construction site you need to start with risk assessment. Risk assessment is required by law, and you can read more about the legal requirements here. To have any chance of reducing the possibility of accidents, you need to have a thorough understanding of what risks there are on your site. To do this, begin by analysing your site to point out any potential hazards, anything that could cause harm to both physical and mental health. Following this, you then assess the level of risk, high or low, that somebody could be harmed by this hazard, and how serious this harm could be.
An example of a hazard is the excessive noise on a construction site, with loud, repetitive sounds often causing long term hearing problems for workers. You should highlight this as a potential hazard, and then assess how you can prevent this. In this case, it would be to provide appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Step 2 - Keep Your Workers Aware
Although your workers are probably already aware of some of the risks working on-site has, it is still important to have mandatory signs in areas where there is a specific risk. You should also include signs of required equipment in certain areas to remind your workers of the PPE they should be wearing. For example, if you are entering an area where there is a risk of falling debris, it is important that all staff know that helmets must be worn here.
Risk assessment will help you to know where these signs are required. During your risk assessment when you assess what will reduce the chance of risk, you should implement the necessary signs.
Step 3 - Keep Your Workers Safe
Keeping your workers safe includes providing them with instructions, procedures, training, and supervision to ensure everyone is working safely and responsibly. Even where there may already be controls in place for a safer environment, there will be some hazards that require personal protective equipment. This includes hazards to:
- Lungs from breathing in contaminated air
- Head and feet from falling debris
- Eyes from excessive dust or corrosive liquids
- Skin from contact with corrosive materials
To help prevent damage to your workers, they need to be provided with the appropriate safety clothing and equipment.
Step 4 - Inform The Public
To ensure the safety of the public who are not aware of the risks your site has, it is important to appropriately signpost the area with warning signs. Hazard signs provide the information needed for the general public to understand that your site is a dangerous area, and they should therefore stay out unless obligated to enter with the appropriate safety equipment.
Step 5 - Be Ready For Anything
The final step in this guide to on-site health and safety is to be prepared. If you are prepared for the worst-case scenario, you are much more likely to know what to do if something does go wrong, and therefore prepared to handle it as best as you can. You should make sure you have the appropriate equipment available, as well as a phone on hand to call for emergency services if needed. There are some instances where you should be able to handle the situation yourself before emergency attention is needed.
In case of a fire, it is important that you have enough fire extinguishers as well as signs that clearly show where these are located. You should also have smoke alarms installed so that if a fire occurs unattended someone is notified.
First aid kits should be kept on-site in case of any minor injuries, or situations where immediate basic treatment could help reduce the severity of the injury. Eyewash, for example, should be available in case of an emergency where somebody gets something potentially damaging in their eyes. By having eyewash on hand you are more likely to get the debris out before it can cause severe damage.
Read more about health and safety in the construction industry, including the legal regulations of running a site. If you are in need of safety signs and protective clothing, we have an extensive range for you to choose from. Get in touch for help and advice on what equipment you need.