Perhaps you are new to the construction industry or you’re an employer looking at health and safety guidelines for a large new project. Whatever the case, remember that managing health and safety doesn’t have to be complex or costly. If you are taking reasonable steps to prevent accidents or harm to workers, then you are doing the right thing. Here are some basic tips and rules on health and safety in construction.
Table of contents:
Choosing A Competent Person
As an employer, you must choose a competent person to help you carry out your health and safety duties. But who is a competent person?
It’s a member of your team who has the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage health and safety.
For example, if you are working at height near a fall hazard which cannot be avoided, then you need a competent person to set up the fall arrest equipment. You would not choose an apprentice or someone who has never used the equipment before to make it safe for everyone else! A lot of this is common sense.
Communicate Health And Safety With Your Team
If you get everyone on board with your health and safety plans, it will be a lot easier and safer to carry out. Start by writing a health and safety policy that everyone can follow. It doesn’t have to be a long essay. Just the main points about how to keep safe while working on site.
For example, perhaps every worker has to come in the same entrance and leave at the same exit. Maybe they must wear helmets and high visibility clothing at all times while on the construction site. Perhaps personal protective equipment should be stored in a specific place.
Communicate your policy with employees and everyone will know what they are meant to be doing safely on site.
Risk Assessment At Construction Planning Stages
When you are planning the job in the first place, you will look at the entire site and make a risk assessment.
According to the health and safety executive, the law doesn’t require you to remove all risks. You can’t predict or anticipate risks that might never happen! However, the law requires you to control risks as far as reasonable practicable.
Therefore, if you are working at height, you need fall protection measures in place. If you are removing heavy debris from the site, you may need debris netting as well as bulk bags and cable ties.
Or perhaps you are using heavy machinery to lift objects or clear sites. You must ensure the machinery is working properly and safe to use.
If you don’t know where to start with a risk assessment, just take a walk around the site and note down any dangers or hazards that you identify. You can then use a risk assessment template from the internet to fill in the rest. Specifically concentrate on risks that may cause harm or serious injury. Then take measures to control these risks.
Don’t forget, that sites can change over time. You may have new personnel or different equipment. It’s essential that you carry out a new risk assessment if there are any significant changes.
Working at Height Health And Safety
Working at height is a high risk activity and something that cannot be avoided on a construction site.
For some tasks there are strict guidelines required by law. Working at height or working with chemicals or dangerous substances are higher risk. Therefore you will need further safety protection equipment.
The health and safety executive website will guide you here as to exactly what you need to do to carry out this work legally.
When it comes to working at height, your team are at risk of falling. As you are responsible for controlling this risk, you need the correct fall protection equipment in place. Some jobs may only require collective equipment such as guard rails to keep workers away from the fall hazard. However, if the job requires a worker to carry out a task on a fragile surface, then you will need a fall arrest system such as a safety bag or net.
What Is A Fall Arrest System in Construction
A fall arrest system is a final safety measure while working at height. Depending on the job, it may not be necessary for your project. Installing a fall arrest system such as a safety bag requires a competent person and a legal fall recovery plan. The fall arrest system protects a person from the worst case scenario. They are already falling from height and heading for the floor. A fall safety bag will absorb the impact of the fall and reduce any serious harm or injury.
Then, there needs to be a fall recovery plan in place to safely retrieve the fallen person from the bag and to safety.
Provide Effective Health And Safety Training
It’s also your duty as an employer to provide ongoing and effective training to your team. You need to ensure that your employees have the skills and knowledge they need for working safely on a construction site.
You might use methods such as the policy mentioned earlier in this article. Or face to face training through regular meetings. Once the site is safe, perhaps you can take your team on a walk through the site looking at areas of risk.
Don’t forget, if it’s a simple job, you don’t need to spend lots of time on technical training. Sometimes simple instructions will work. For the more complex jobs, you may require more explanation. However, when it comes to using fall arrest systems, then legally you need proper training in place for the person who is responsible for setting it up.
Conclusion: Health and Safety In Construction
To conclude, there’s a lot of common sense when it comes to health and safety in construction. But equally, you don’t want to miss an obvious risk or hazard.
Identify the risks of the site and the job and then make sure you communicate these with your team. Consider the public as well who may be walking under or near the site. Choose the appropriate safety equipment and write a health and safety plan for everyone to follow.
Give your team the appropriate level of training to ensure that everyone stays safe while working on site.
If you need safety equipment including debris netting, cable ties or bulk bags, then get in touch with QubeUK.com to buy products for your site.
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