Construction sites are full of hazards. Whether you’re a site manager, a veteran worker, or a new employee, knowing the importance of health and safety is key to a smooth project operation.
Working with large machinery and equipment, one small mistake can be detrimental to the project, and devastating to the people involved. In this article, we’ll be listing 10 essential safety practices in the construction industry, which will help minimize workplace injuries and safety hazards.
As a cardinal rule of construction site safety, always wear protective gear and Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, when in and around the construction site. Construction sites hold many hazards, and protective gear was made to safeguard you should you come in contact with these hazards.
Even if you’re not working, you will need to be in full PPE within the vicinity of the construction site at all times. That hard hat is meant to shield you from falling objects, and those working boots help you stabilize yourself on soft ground.
Every construction site must have a clear set of rules and procedures in the interest of everyone’s safety. All protocols must be laid out during employee training, ensuring no employee enters the construction site without knowledge of safety protocols.
Communicate proper safety protocols with all employees, keeping in mind accessibility via language and format. As the construction site manager, your job is to ensure the construction goes smoothly, which includes minimizing and preventing construction site-related accidents.
As a worker, place your safety first. A construction site is no place to be daydreaming, so keep aware of any dangers that may arise. Heavy machinery, hazardous materials, and the overall layout of a construction site poses perils that may jeopardize the safety of everyone involved.
An ignorant worker not only poses a danger to themselves, but also to the entire construction site as a whole. Common construction mistakes can be avoided with awareness of possible hazards.
Working in an unsafe area may seem like an obvious safety hazard, but do you know what constitutes an “unsafe area” in sites? For instance, machinery that is turned off but plugged in may seem safe, but is liable for malfunction, electrical outbursts, or unintentional activation which can be difficult to control.
Dropzones, where objects are dumped by forklifts and cranes, must be clearly labelled to prevent employees from staying in the area, particularly during drop off times. Apply fall protection and avoidance protocols whenever possible, and keep constant reminders of dropsite dangers.
While we know to report big accidents, or accidents that may delay or disrupt the construction process, minor accidents and near misses must also be reported. Accident reports tell the safety manager where improvements can be made.
Alternatively, incidents of near misses are pure luck in an otherwise dangerous location or practice. Reporting these incidents before an accident occurs can prevent any unfortunate mishaps.
Machinery and equipment are not one-size-fits-all. Make sure to use the correct equipment needed for the job, as different equipment are specially designed to make specific jobs easier and safer. Ensure your equipment is in good working order before you start.
Check the voltage of your equipment too. Construction sites only allow 110V equipment, and 220V on occasion with proper authorization.
This goes without saying, but never tamper with equipment or machinery. If the equipment is faulty or defective, report it immediately to your supervisor. Do not make attempts to fix the machinery yourself, or force the equipment to work while faulty.
Similarly, do not alter any layout, scaffolding, or equipment settings not assigned to you, and not relevant to your task.
Proper training is at the forefront of safety in construction sites. As site manager and safety director, you must ensure that all your employees have undergone safety training before they step foot on the job site. An ignorant worker can cost thousands of dollars in damages, and can pose a danger to everyone involved.
As a worker, your training and induction serves as your guide around the construction site and its protocols. Training is especially important for construction workers who will be operating equipment or machinery, and handling caustic materials. Do not skip out on your training as this may ensure your safety while in construction sites.
Sites can get messy. With all the tools and equipment lying around, and the building materials scattered throughout the construction site, it’s easy for accidents to occur when the construction site is kept untidy.
Keep your working site organized. All unused tools and materials should be stored in their proper places to avoid losses and tripping. Electrical wiring should not be kept live, especially when idle. Scaffolding and other fixtures should be firmly fastened to prevent accidental drops.
Above all else, communicate! Effective communication is key to ensuring safety. Communicate all concerns with your supervisor, and cooperate with your coworkers on proper site operations to see to it that everyone is on the same page.
Create efficient communication channels that can distribute important information to all construction workers onsite. Rules and regulations must be highlighted throughout construction sites in forms of signages and tarpaulins for everyone to see. Any confusion should be addressed immediately to avoid misunderstandings.
Simply put, the majority of common construction mishaps can be avoided with proper training and communication throughout those working onsite.
Onsite safety and health starts during induction where formal training is a must for all construction workers in order to make sure everyone knows the standard health and safety procedures and protocol in the construction industry. Laying all information out transparently and clearly helps to avoid unintended incidents in the workplace.
Always stay alert of the hazards around the building site, and keep your safety as the number one priority. When in doubt, ask a senior site officer or your supervisor on the proper procedures.
For all your building and construction needs, we at ColeBuild offer services with trained professionals so you know our work is safe and efficient. Book a free consultation with us or check out our blog for more construction news and tips.