Construction and building sites can be dangerous working environments, with a range of hazards present no matter what part of the project or job is being completed. From working at height to hazards associated with equipment and machinery, there are safety measures which should be put in place to help prevent injury to yourself and others. Here are six key tips for working within construction or building environments safely.
Make sure you’ve had training before starting work
An induction and correct thorough training are essential to undertake before working on a construction or building site, as no two environments are ever the same. Site inductions are a legal requirement and are in place to ensure that employees are educated around site-specific health and safety rules and potential hazards.
Always wear the appropriate PPE
It is vital to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) whilst on worksite premises to help protect against hazards such as open flames, corrosives or heavy equipment which can cause harm. A PPE strategy means that workers will have increased protection and the likelihood of workplace injury or short-term/long-term health issues may be reduced.
PPE should reflect hazards that are present in the working environment. On construction and building premises, some hazards include risk of falling debris, dropping heavy objects and tripping. Workers should be therefore be protected with PPE such as hard hats, steel toe boots and body protection.
Lift objects properly
With the fatal injury rate in construction being three times the All Industry rate in the UK, it is even more important to handle equipment and heavy objects correctly. The NHS outlines the stages of lifting objects currently to avoid back injury:
- Think before you lift – plan the lift and where the load is going to be placed
- Keep the load close to the waist – this reduces pressure on your back
- Adopt a stable position – your feet should be apart with one leg forward to maintain balance
- Ensure a good hold on the load and hug close to the body
- Do not bend your back before lifting
- Do not twist your back or lean when lifting
- Know your limits and don’t lift more than you feel comfortable – the general guidelines for men is 25kg and women is 16kg.
Take care when working at height
Many construction jobs involve multi-level working, so working at height safety is then a major consideration. As well as following health and safety training and being equipped with the appropriate PPE, ensure that you are preventing hazards wherever you can. Scafftags from Reece Safety will help highlight potential hazards and efficiently manage any working at height related equipment inspection procedures. Scafftags should be fitted to all scaffolding and ladders from the beginning of a project and remain on the structure until dismantling, to indicate the critical inspection status.
Follow safety signs and procedures
Some safety signs that may be seen around construction sites include, yellow ‘danger construction work in progress’ and red ‘no unauthorised access’ signs to protect and warn workers.
By following all warning signs and correct procedures, there will be a significant increase in safety to yourself and others. 4,872 non-fatal injuries to employees were reported by employers under in 2018/19, with 1,697 (35%) being specified injuries and 3,175 (65%) were over seven-day injuries; these numbers could see a decrease if health and safety procedures are followed diligently.
Keep the work area and site tidy
Ensure that the workplace is always tidy, and the site is cleared after each shift to avoid trips and falls to workers leaving and beginning work. Debris and equipment should never be left on the floor or blocking walkways, particularly at height, as this could cause potential accidents and injury. A clear working environment will ensure less hazardous working conditions for all.
For more information on Reece Safety you can call +44 (0)1422 293065 or visit www.reecesafety.co.uk