Last edited 22 Feb 2021

5 construction site safety practices


[edit] Introduction

Some jobs are more perilous than others and working on an active construction site is definitely one of them. Heavy loads, working at height, and heavy-duty machinery all make a typical construction site a dangerous place.

Because of such a high risk of injury, there are safety practices that the employer introduces to keep their workforce safe at all times. These practices include more than simply making the workers put on protective goggles of a hard hat. We have singled out 5 construction site safety practices and procedures that can help ensure safety.

[edit] The importance of personal protective equipment

In order for individual workers to feel safe at the construction site, they should be issued proper personal protective equipment (PPE). The parts of the body that are most prone to injury are the extremities and the head, with the face being especially vulnerable.

Workers should wear safety goggles to protect their eyes from sparks, toxic chemicals, wood chips, dust, and other hazards commonly found on a typical construction site. Hard hats are mandatory and should be equipped with shock-absorption pads. The helmet should cover the ear and possibly the neck, depending on the type of hazard a particular worker is exposed to.

On the worker’s part, they should maintain the gear clean and operational.

For more information see: Personal protective equipment.

[edit] The danger of falling

Working at height might come with a great view, but the dangers multiply the higher the structure gets. The Work at Height Regulations (2005) came into force on 6 April 2005. They are intended to prevent deaths and injuries caused by falls at work.

For more information see: Work at height regulations.

[edit] Making the job less risky

Apart from using the standard protection measures, another strategy is to eliminate most of the possible risks.

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM Regulations) are intended to ensure that health and safety issues are properly considered during a project’s development so that the risk of harm to those who build, use and maintain structures is reduced.

They require that as the design progresses, risks are identified and eliminated and residual risks are reduced and managed and that designers, principal designers, principal contractors and contractors take account of the 'principles of prevention' in carrying out their duties.

For more information see: CDM regulations.

[edit] Education and protection

You can equip a worker with protective gear from head to toe but you as the employer shouldn’t skip the most important step in construction work safety: education. How are the workers going to know what the potential risks are if no one has briefed them about all the perils?

Frequent staff meetings that will involve an expert, for instance about fire safety, should be a regular occurrence. The more construction workers are instructed on how to safely operate equipment the more protected will they be at their respective jobs.

For more information see:

[edit] Dealing with hazardous materials

Many workplaces include hazardous substances (solids, liquids or gases) exposure to which can have negative affects on the body through contact with the skin, inhalation or ingestion. Exposure to hazardous substances can result in short or long term health effects. This includes serious health problems such as cancer, asthma and dermatitis.

There is a common law duty placed on all employers to protect employees and members of the public as well as general health and safety legislation that is applicable to employers and workplaces. There is also the specific legislation of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH).

For more information see: Hazardous materials.

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