While ensuring the health and safety of staff is important in every industry, in the construction industry it is an absolute essential. When working in construction, safety in and around the workplace can be a matter of life and death so making sure you have the appropriate accreditations, knowledge, and safety measures in place is paramount.

Why is Health & Safety important on construction sites?

Health and safety is important in any workplace but even more so on construction sites. There are countless safety risks and hazards on construction sites which make risk assessments and proper safety precautions a necessity in minimizing the risk for workers on the site.

Construction companies should ensure that health and safety is a key factor in their attitude to work. The best way to ensure the safety of everyone involved in a project is provide appropriate safety training and make sure that all contractors have completed accurate health and safety assessments that are associated with any work that they are carrying out.

Common safety hazards on construction sites

There are too many safety hazards associated with construction sites to count. However, there are some that are more common than others and should always be considered as part of a risk assessment that is being carried out for a project.

Common safety hazards in the construction industry include:

  • Working at height – Construction work often requires workers to complete tasks at height, which is an inherently dangerous task with 47% of work-related injuries in the construction industry being attributed to falls from a height.
  • Moving objects – Moving objects and vehicles are a given on any construction site and provide additional hazards to consider such as heavy load and supply vehicles often manoeuvring uneven ground while tradesmen work nearby.
  • Asbestos – While asbestos is seen as a thing of the past there are, in fact, around 500,000 public buildings within the UK that still contain asbestos materials. However, in many of these cases it is harmless, if left undisturbed, it still poses a risk to workers who need to know where it is and how to properly handle the material.
  • Electricity – There is an increasing number of electrocutions that involve workers completing electrical work but are not qualified to do so. It may seem obvious that electricity is a hazard but it should still be assessed as part of a risk assessment.
  • Collapse – More commonly associated with demolition workers, collapse of trenches and other unstable bodies can cause serious injury to those working in them. Precautions need to be taken in order to ensure the safety of those working around these risks.
  • Working in confined spaces – When working in a confined space brings a whole host of new hazards to workers, such as dangerous gasses, low oxygen levels, and loss of consciousness. It is essential that an appropriate risk assessment is completed prior to any work of this nature taking place.

How to improve safety on building sites

It is not possible to remove every risk and hazard associated with construction work but you can, however, minimize the risk of injury. Thorough risk assessment, worker training, and safety precautions all act together to identify and reduce risks that are posed when completing work in the construction industry. So what can you do to reduce the risk of working on a building site?

Be consistent in Health & Safety strategy

No matter the size of a construction project, it is a requirement to complete a risk assessment and have a health and safety plan in place. Ensuring that workers have access to this plan and understand it is the first step to minimizing risk on job. On top of this, ensuring that the information within the plan and its implementation into the project is consistent will also help as everyone should understand and be able to easily identify the risks associated with specific tasks.

Worker Training

Being able to spot and properly report a hazard is just the start of reducing workplace hazards in the construction industry. The next, and arguably most effective, step is to train your workers on how to properly deal with a potential hazards when they arise. Including your workers in the health and safety strategies and plans will not only make them feel more valued but also provides an opportunity to upskill them also.

Providing access to health and safety accreditations is a great way to ensure that your workforce is able to properly identify risks as well as handle them in a safe and effective manner.

Contact Watson and Watson today to learn more about our training, accreditation, and consultancy services. Please call us on 01623 753 654 or send us an email for more information.

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