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Why Health And Safety Guidance Is So Important In The Construction Industry  
  • Why Health And Safety Guidance Is So Important In The Construction Industry

Many jobs carry risks, but few carry the same health and safety risks as the construction sector.

Ensuring construction sites operate as safely as possible is essential. Construction sites are often busy environments where people, equipment and vehicles have to work alongside each other as safely as possible. Construction site managers must understand the importance of safely providing for working at height, using heavy machinery and moving materials and personnel around the site to reduce the risk of injury or death. Construction site safety measures must include clear guidelines and working practices for how people, vehicles and machinery interact, and equipment must be safe and suitable.

Health Risks You May Not Have Considered

Alongside the risk of injury or death from falling from a height or being crushed by falling or moving objects, there are environmental issues, including dust inhalation, to consider as part of an effective health and safety policy.

Health and safety guidelines identify the risks and expected measures to reduce these risks. Construction site managers must show that they understand and comply with the relevant laws and guidance, have adopted safe working practices, and provide the equipment and machinery to ensure that workers are as safe on site.

Sadly, the construction industry is responsible for around a quarter of fatal injuries to workers in 2022. RIDDOR quotes figures for construction industry deaths over double the closest agricultural, forestry and fishing fatal accidents and injury, industries also considered high-risk. Statistics on the HSE website show causes of construction site accidents as falls from height, struck by moving objects, or trapped by a collapsing or overturning object.

Whilst safety measures have improved significantly over the years, construction site safety is still an area that must accept the need to observe high safety measures if the number of injuries and deaths is to be reduced. With this in mind, we list some measures that you might consider appropriate to ensure the safety and health of all on your site.

Preventive measures to reduce the risk of construction site accidents and injuries

● Working at height – ensure that only appropriate and fully functioning equipment is used. Ensure ladders and platforms are fully fixed, and guard rails and edge protection is used to reduce falls from height. Ensure work does not start until the scaffolding is correctly completed and kept in order throughout the build.

● Adequate lighting – construction site safety is improved when lighting is good.

● Define vehicle and pedestrian areas – acceptable routes should always be clearly marked and observed.

● Safety fencing – ensure that public access is restricted and only authorised personnel can enter. 

● Provide suitable welfare facilities – Looking after the health and well-being of construction site personnel is not only a legal requirement, it is a pivotal contributor to safer worker practices.Having suitable rest, canteen and washing facilities on site will ensure the workforce are cared for and able to complete their jobs at their best.

● Equipment – Safety helmets, tool belts, hand lines, protective boots and clothing can limit the seriousness of some accidents, such as materials falling from a height or adverse weather making the site difficult to negotiate.

● Training – Ensure staff understand the importance of safety and have the equipment and time to observe safe working practices.

Regularly Assess Your Site

The risks on your site will change, not just as the project progresses, but for other reasons. It has been identified that most accidents happen:

• During the first few days on a new site or when a new site crew joins.

• Towards the end of the working day.

• During intense periods of vehicle activity.

As a construction site manager, ensure you regularly review site safety measures to protect your team’s safety, health and wellbeing, including providing season-suitable welfare facilities.

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