Safety in the workplace, especially in the world of heavy machinery, is an important and ever-shifting element. Due to the nature of the work, construction workers are exposed to a range of health and safety hazards, which means individuals put themselves at risk every time they set foot on site. These risks can include falls from height, slips or trips, machinery malfunctions, injury from handling, lifting and carrying objects, falling objects, and even structural collapses.
Alarmingly, the construction industry can be considered one of the UK’s most dangerous job sectors. In 2019/20, the HSE reported the deaths of 40 construction workers, with 81,000 others suffering work-related ill health. With these statistics in mind, it is important for construction workers and companies involved in the construction industry to understand the procedures that can be put in place to prioritise health and safety in the workplace:
Wear Personal Protective Equipment
Wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) could mean the difference between a minor injury and a long-term injury.
It’s important to ensure you are wearing the appropriate PPE for the work you are carrying out. It is your last line of defence should you encounter a hazard on site. Personal Protective Equipment includes hard hats or helmets, ear protection, safety goggles, knee pads and hi-vis jackets. It is important to ensure that your PPE is in good condition, and if they are becoming worn, that they are replaced as soon as possible.
Health & Safety Training
It’s crucial for workers and anyone else on site, such as contractors and visitors, to receive suitable health and safety training following the measures on site. Each site is unique and will have different measures dependent on the works and machinery that are used. To minimise incidents, ensure that risk assessments are conducted and all those on site receive full training so that they are aware of the risks associated with their actions. It is also advised that basic first aid training is provided should a situation arise.
Display Clear Signs
With hazards lurking around every corner, construction sites are full of potential dangers, not just for workers, but for members of the public who may be visiting the site too. Ensuring that you display clear signs and posters highlighting any potential hazards and measures to take ensures that everyone is aware to take precautions. Signs are a simple way of reducing accidents, allowing those on site to identify dangers as well as pointing employees or visitors to designated first aid points and emergency equipment should an accident occur.
Use of Technology
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many sites have had to find alternative methods of carrying out certain jobs, turning to technology to get the job done.
Working at height presents numerous risks. In this instance, drones have been found to be a suitable replacement and a solution to safety issues that present themselves when working at height, such as falling. Drones quickly observe projects at all angles and heights and assess sites, rather than using an individual employee to assess the situation from height.
Inspect Tools and Equipment Regularly
Construction workers rely on their tools to work efficiently and to carry out tasks and complete jobs. If tools are unsafe or broken, there are higher risks of serious accidents including the loss of limbs, particularly if the piece of equipment is heavy machinery.
To minimise risks with construction equipment, ensuring that your employees are using the correct that the equipment used on site is regularly inspected to ensure there are no accidental malfunctions. Not only will you find the job will be completed quicker, but also safer.
If you are unsure on how to operate something or if you encounter a problem, don’t ignore it! Communication is key in keeping your workplace a safe environment. If you encounter an issue, report it to your supervisor immediately. Employees should feel safe in their working environment and therefore having the opportunity to express their thoughts on how to make their job safer is important to any site.
In the world of the construction industry and heavy machinery, it is better to be safe than sorry!