Construction Site Safety – Don’t Overlook These Important Steps

Regardless of the type of business, employers are responsible to take the necessary measures to ensure safety of the contractors on site. However, construction workers are usually engaged in high-risk activities. It means the labourers working on construction sites are exposed to additional dangers for which construction safety managers must have an effective safety management plan to tackle any hazardous situation.

According to icare NSW, yearly more than ninety thousand workplace injuries are reported and the employers have to pay $2.6 billion in workers’ compensation claims. Around 1/4 of these injuries are recorded on construction sites where a large number of workers either have lost their lives or are permanently disabled. These shocking statistics highlight the significance of preventive safety measures every construction manager must have in place.

It is the responsibility of the safety project manager to take precautionary measures for the protection of people working on the construction site from potential hazards. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the most important steps that you must not overlook while preparing the safety management plan for your construction site.

Safety Training For Construction Workers

Apart from normal routine construction work, there can be situations when workers may be required to respond differently. These workers may have to perform their duties in high-risk and unsafe areas. At times, there may be some emergency situation to handle, therefore it is the duty of the site manager to train their employees to avoid any unfortunate event. 

Most construction fatalities are caused by fall hazards, so you need to ensure that all your workers must be trained to avoid such dangers. Safety managers also need to take measures to prevent electrocution of construction workers. According to a report, the majority of the construction labourers who experienced deadly electrical injuries were not trained how to handle electrical installations and equipment. 

Each worker must be provided with site-specific safety. Site managers are responsible to prepare a Site Specific Safety Plan that basically outlines what, when, why and who of the project. This plan does not only outline the scope of construction work but it ensures how to keep the construction workers safe.

Construction Risk Management

It is almost impossible to eliminate 100% safety risks and it is because of the nature of work that needs to be carried out on construction sites. Therefore, it is essential to conduct safety audits regularly and have procedures in place to assess and avoid potential hazards. Your safety team must be capable of identifying the risks in time and prioritise them in accordance with their importance. Fully understand the underlying reasons and the impact of the risk to develop the quickest response to avoid or minimise the risk.

SWMS

Prepare SWMS (Safe Work Method Statement) before high-risk activities are carried on the construction site. This document defines the hazardous activities related to construction work and suggests the measures to be put in place to handle the risks. Law does not permit initiation of the construction work until the standards outlined in SWMS are met.

Construction Safety Signage

Construction managers need to identify the spot where SWMS must be displayed. All construction site safety rules and protocols must be clearly mentioned for the workers. It must include an emergency plan for 24 hours and contact numbers along with a map of the entire workplace. Construction signage must be used to guide the workers to take the required action or precautions across each work area where there are any potential hazards.

Safety on site

Site safety protocols should be clear and well-enforced, to protect contractors from any security breaches or safety incidents, which could then result in liability or negligence cases.

Within working hours, any authorised visitors on site should be supervised. Outside of these hours, site access should be made as restricted as possible. This will reduce risk of damage or theft onsite and reduce risk of injury to pedestrians.  

Heavy Vehicle Routes 

Plan separate exit and entry points for heavy vehicles or machinery. This should reduce risk in heavy traffic areas for pedestrians.  

Safe Storage Of Chemicals

Carefully consider how and where each of your chemicals are stored, as improper storage has been known to cause explosions, chemical burns, fires and suffocation. By using equipment for example storage cabinets for the explosive to stop chemicals mixing or spilling, you can minimise these risks. 

Emergency Onsite Plans

Since extreme weather, natural disasters or other unforeseen circumstances can pose risk, be sure to have an emergency on site plan. Consider which workers may need to cease work and leave the site. 

First Aid 

Every organisation is responsible to ensure sufficient first aid provisions on their construction site. Basic purpose of first aid is to:

  • keep the workers safe from danger
  • prevent injury or any kind of illness from being worse
  • help reduce pain as much and as safely as possible
  • heal an injury

According to Safe Work Australia, a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) needs to make sure that:

  • Adequate number of kits to provide First Aid are available at the workplace and they are easily accessible by the labourers.
  • Workers can access the facilities without any difficulty where they can perform First Aid.
  • Majority of the labourers can serve as First Aiders in case something goes wrong on the construction site.
  • Labourers who are not trained to perform First Aid, must have access to those who can offer first aid treatment. 

PPE Obligation (Personal Protective Equipment)

Employers are often required to supply workers with PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) such as safety goggles, hi-vis vests or harnesses. Educate your workers that these items will be ineffective if they are not worn correctly.

Aerial Hazards  

Risk of falling objects forms part of the responsibility of the employer. Therefore, items must be safely secured. 

The safety of any construction project remains critical even after construction itself has finished. Therefore, the use of quality materials with the correct equipment is important to fully satisfy the obligations of those involved at each stage of the construction. 

Make safety an assured reality on the construction site to avoid fatality!

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