With a lot of heavy machinery and perilous tools being used, construction sites are naturally very dangerous places to be. The good news is that there are plenty of things that site managers and workers can do to improve safety measures and reduce the chances of accidents occurring.
Getting on and off equipment
Believe it or not, getting on and off equipment is the number one cause of injury to equipment operators and forklift and truck drivers.
To reduce the chances of this happening, ensure that all mud is cleared off gloves, boots and equipment. You’re far less likely to slip and hurt yourself if you have done this. Also think about using high grip gloves because this will help you to hoist yourself up without the risk of your hand slipping.
When using equipment that is particularly high up, use a step ladder for safer access and when dismounting, always do so in a controlled manner and never jump.
The Health and Safety Executive stipulates that in the vast majority of cases, the law requires construction workers to wear protective headwear. It’s important to ensure that all head protection:
- Is in good condition – if it is damaged it should be thrown away immediately
- Fits the person wearing it
- Is worn according to the correct instructions
- Is only obtained from a reputable supplier. Unfortunately, there are plenty of fake hard hats on the market and these do not offer suitable protection
Other protective clothing includes:
- Safety spectacles, goggles, face screens, face shields and visors to protect the eyes
- Industrial safety helmets and bump caps to protect the head and neck
- Earplugs, earmuffs and semi-insert/canal caps for the ears in noisy environments
- Gloves, gauntlets and sleeving that covers part or all of the arm to prevent cuts, exposure to radiation and electric shocks
- Safety boots and shoes
- Respiratory protective equipment should be used in atmospheres where there is a lot of dust, gases and vapours and a limited supply of oxygen
- Overalls, boiler suits, aprons and chemical suits
One thing that construction sites are never short of is debris. Debris netting should therefore be a staple on any building site. Made from heavy-duty plastic netting, it’s used on scaffolding to protect workers, pedestrians and any passing traffic from falling debris. The added benefit of this product over similar variations is that the net allows air circulation which considerably reduces rain and wind penetration, thus improving working conditions.
Loading and unloading equipment
There’s always a risk of machine roll-over during loading or unloading so ensure you’re centred on ramps and stay straight. It’s always advisable to have more than one person involved with this process and keep everyone away from the sides of the machine.
Fall protection is the most cited standard in construction which is understandable considering that falls are one of the leading causes of death in the industry.
Workers should familiarise themselves with any potential fall hazards and never work in an area where protection systems haven’t been installed. Any fall protection equipment should be thoroughly inspected before use and crucially, the lanyard or lifeline should always be short enough to prevent any contact with the ground in the event of a fall.