With the holiday period almost on us, thoughts turn to enjoying family time together and being able to relax throughout our precious holiday period. It’s also a time when we’re constantly being reminded about being safe on the roads and taking more time to ensure a safe and happy annual break.
Safety consciousness doesn’t only apply to the roads; worksite safety is as important. The last thing you or your workers want is an injury that may impact not only your holiday enjoyment, but may affect someone’s future working life.
Cost of work injury
Worksite injuries represent a huge cost in terms of personal health, loss of income, negative impact on the lives of whole families, increased cost to your business in higher insurance premiums, delayed construction deadlines, potential litigation and more … you get the picture!
You would be familiar with the safety signage on large building sites. Apart from the instructions that visitors need to register at the site office, there are the mandatory requirements for personal protection equipment (PPE) that must be worn. There are rules for hard hats, safety boots, gloves, goggles, dust masks and hearing. There are also instructions for what you need to do in the event of emergencies: assembly points, evacuation routes, corrosive wash-down procedures and other site-specific instructions.
Let’s face it, every construction site has a potential for accidental personal injury and those responsible for the safe operation of equipment and machinery must have a risk assessment process in place that identifies and addresses site hazards.
Vehicle and pedestrian movement
Even if you are working on a small job, time taken to undertake a site risk assessment is a valuable investment in accident prevention. For a start, is have a look to determine whether pedestrian and vehicle access is separated and clearly marked. Also, have you given proper instructions to drivers regarding compliance on the site vehicle movement plan?
As well as these obvious hazards, you need to consider whether all working areas are level and free from trip hazards and obstacles such material and construction supplies stored on site. Check to see if waste has been collected and disposed of in a proper manner and if appropriate bins have been provided for storing waste?
Protruding scaffolds, formwork and temporary fixtures need to have visual alerts to avoid these bump hazards. You also need to ensure that precautions are taken to prevent injuries caused by workers being hit by moving platforms or material being moved by cranes or loaders.
Poor lighting in dark places or during night work can adversely affect the safe movement of your people around the work site. Consider whether visibility is adequate for safety and install additional lighting where needed.
It’s worth have an electrical specialist to check out and remedy any hazard risks from wiring and connections on a site. For example, where mains voltage is connected, ensure trip devices such as earth leakage circuit breakers are fitted to circuits.
There are usually numerous cables and leads running everywhere, so these need to be protected from damage by sheathing, protective enclosures or by positioning out of reach from any potential cause of damage. Poor attention to system connections can result in injury, so have connections checked and the power supply isolated and equipment secured at the end of each day.
Avoiding load injuries
It’s amazing how many people sustain debilitating back sprain or related injuries. Many of these may be avoided through redesigning the task or by using mechanical lifting equipment
Check to see if everyone on the site can reach their place of work safely via passageways and observe if doors, windows, staircases and gangways are in good condition There may be other hazards, such as projections from the building or danger from falling materials that should have been fenced or contained for safety by a barrier or fence.
While it may appear unnecessary, anyone responsible for site safety should have some basic emergency procedures in place. For example, evacuating the site in case of fire or other emergencies and having a first aid kit handy and knowing where extinguishers are located.
Plan for site risks
Worksite safety needs to be regarded as the highest priority. There can be no thought of cutting corners or disregarding the need to carry out a risk assessment on every worksite.
If you are aware of the risks posed by your worksite and take the right precautions, you will feel secure in knowing you have done your best to ensure you and your people will have a safe and happy holiday season.