What better time to address construction site hazards than during Health and Safety Week? Construction is a high risk industry – it accounted for 32% of employee fatalities in the British workplace throughout 2013/2014, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Many of you probably know the general dos and don’ts of working on a construction site, but do you know the best ways to avoid some of the most common hazards? Unsure? Then read on.
A mammoth 27% of construction injuries across Britain in 2013/14 were caused by slips, trips and falls – that’s almost a third of all injuries in the nation’s construction industry! So what can be done to prevent such accidents? A tidy, orderly site is key to ensuring workers can move around safely. If you see a risk, report it! Chris Watcham – Mobile Mini’s Health and Safety Director – suggests those working on a construction site should “clear up waste as you go – don’t let rubbish accumulate”.
Slippery surfaces should be clearly marked to warn others. If the ground is uneven, it could be worth constructing walkways for workers, or pathways to aid mobile machinery. Remove objects which could be a trip hazard – and don’t forget to always wear the correct footwear.
From overhead powerlines to underground cables, accidents due to contact with electricity causes fatalities every year – in 2013/14 alone there were three fatalities in the industry. Building refurbishment is the source of most electricity-related incidents, so be sure that your workers are clued up about the electrical system in question – don’t use equipment manufactured for DIY purposes, and ensure electrics are well-maintained and regularly inspected.
Finally, remember that you must be officially permitted to work with live electrical systems!
In 2013/14, workers struck by an object caused 7% of fatal injuries in Britain’s construction industry. Falling objects such as building equipment, or a collision with heavy machinery, are typical causes of accident and injury. It pays to be vigilant of those working around you, ensure that equipment is secure and wear the necessary protective safety gear.
Chris advises having “an effective system for the reporting of hazards in the workplace”, to improve health and safety standards on your construction site.
Excavation and trenching
Trench collapses, or cave-ins, present one of the greatest risks to construction workers. If your project requires a trench to be dug, consider what kind of temporary support is best suited to that trench, and take the necessary measures to ensure it’s fully secure. Don’t forget – the trench will need to be regularly inspected, both before and during the work shift.
Interested in finding out more about construction site health and safety procedures? See the HSE website for further information.