Keeping Safe on the Building Site

19th September, 2014

Building site safety is no small matter. In Britain, construction is one of the most dangerous industries; as a matter of fact, the Guardian recently reported that since 2001, more British construction workers have been killed on building sites than British soldiers in Afghanistan.

It is, therefore, imperative that the best; most practical safety precautions be taken to protect those who work on building sites.

Identify Hazards

Companies must be aware of potential hazards on the work site. Even if a hazard contains a necessary risk, being aware of it and training employees in safety measures can literally mean the difference between life and death. Potential risks may include heights/scaffolding; trenches; heavy machinery; electricity; and lack of protective equipment.

Address the Dangers

Protecting builders is a responsibility for construction companies. The following are some ways to reduce risks:

  • Fall protection/proper scaffolding: This is one of the most important areas to consider. From 2012-2013, 39 builders were killed on site in Britain; most of these deaths were attributed to falls. Make sure scaffolds are erected, used and supervised properly. Using preventive measures such as guardrails, safety nets or restraint systems can also cut down on the number of fall-related deaths and injuries. This applies to ladders and stairways as well.
  • Protect against trench collapse: You can help reduce the risk of a trench collapse by using sloping, shoring or shielding systems; providing accessible exits, and ensuring that professionals inspect and/or design protective systems for deeper trenches.
  • Inspect heavy machinery/electrical equipment: If equipment like cranes, forklifts or cords are not inspected and operated correctly, disasters may occur. Similarly, ensure cranes are not operating near power lines.
  • Train employees: Make sure workers are using personal protective equipment, which can apply to the head, eye/face, feet and hands. Employees working with chemicals must be aware of dangers and safety procedures.

Keeping workers aware of any risks on the building site, and what to do if an accident occurs, must be second nature for any building company.