There’s nothing more important than the safety of staff and visitors on and around a construction site.
According to the latest figures from the Health and Safety Executive, around 2.6% of workers (53,000 people) in the construction sector suffered from a workplace non-fatal injury in the UK last year – which shows there’s still plenty of progress to be made in the sector. Everyone should have the confidence that they are protected from the inevitable hazards that are present when building work is taking place.
But a comprehensive site safety strategy brings other benefits too.
A business that looks after and protects its workforce will save money as absences related to work-related ill-health will be reduced. A positive health and safety culture builds knowledge and advocacy amongst the workforce. And a hard-earned positive reputation when it comes to looking after staff is a real competitive advantage when recruiting.
No two construction sites are the same. However, there are some simple tips which can guide a project manager to ensure that the necessary steps are being taken:
1. Risk Assessment
Every business needs a health and safety policy by law but it’s the focused risk assessment process that is the foundation of site safety. It needs to be completed by a competent person and address all the health and safety risks applying to anyone on a construction site. There are several resources available online which outline the requisite steps.
There’s a whole range of mandatory training that staff will need to complete before they can work on site – from standard health and safety training through to further modules focused on their specific duties. The benefits of comprehensive training go way beyond simply reducing the risk of accidents and exposure to hazards. It’s good for morale, helps prolong the lifespan of equipment and upskills people and teams.
It may seem obvious that clear and efficient communication between all those present on site is critical, but complacency and mistakes can soon creep in. Language and accessibility considerations should always be front of mind, and messages should be shared in multiple formats so that everyone can understand. Consider using different communication materials (via radio, signage, face-face meetings for example). Staff should feel comfortable to ask questions and report concerns.
4. Protecting the public
Managing site safety also involves considering the immediate area around the construction zone. Members of the public can face hazards such as falling objects, plant vehicle movements and scaffolding in the street. The HSE website has guidance on the steps that construction sites are required to take.
5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
There’s a reason why signage outside construction sites often states that if you don’t have the right kit, then you won’t be granted access. High quality, compliant and comfortable PPE is absolutely fundamental to site safety. Sourcing the right protection is crucial so clearly it’s key to work with a reputable supplier with expert knowledge who can work with you to identify the right solutions.
6. Check your equipment
It’s vital that the right equipment is used for the task at hand. The job will be done quicker with fewer mistakes as a result. Equipment should be checked before use, properly stored and maintained and all staff trained in its use.
7. Keep it clean
A tidy workplace applies to a construction site just as much as any other place of work. It automatically reduces trip and slip hazards and means everyone feels engaged and motivated to maintain a safe and professional environment.
8. Stay ahead
Site safety is a dynamic process: what is working today may not be fit for purpose tomorrow. Ensure there is clear responsibility for updating risk assessments, policies, PPE requirements and staying across any regulatory changes as the project evolves.
9. Weather and climate
Unpredictable weather patterns are now the norm and conditions on site can quickly change and deteriorate as a result. Whether it’s wet and windy, freezing temperatures or stifling heat, the nature of the hazard may shift suddenly when working outdoors – highlighting the importance in having confidence in the resilience of the PPE and workwear that staff are using.
Finally, it’s so important to create and develop a natural safety culture at work. There are several steps that can be taken from holding regular safety talks and setting a good example to encouraging the reporting of accidents and hazards.
At Contego we recognise that every customer site is unique. And that the creation of a strong safety culture doesn’t happen overnight. That’s why our service extends beyond supplying market-leading PPE and workwear. Our experienced and knowledgeable teams will work with you to understand your requirements and identify solutions: from high-tech clothing and equipment through to our in-house branding service and practical training courses.
For help and advice, or more details of our extensive range of safety clothing and PPE – download the Contego Catalogue now, visit our website contegosafety.co.uk or contact our friendly team on 0800 122 3323 or email@example.com