Construction Site Safety - the Basics
If you’ve never worked on a construction site before, the chances are it might seem like a bit of an intimidating environment. Whilst anyone who is sensible and takes their own safety and the safety of others seriously should be fine, there isn’t any point denying that construction sites can be hazardous. So we’ve put together this essential construction site safety guide to ensure that you, and all others working around you, stay safe whenever you’re on site:
Firstly, it’s worth noting that the number one cause of injuries within any construction site is actually getting on and off equipment such as forklifts, trucks, cranes, etc. Because of its nature, construction sites are often caked with mud, leading to extremely slippery conditions in the event of rain. This means that it’s important to check both gloves and boots for dirt before getting on any machine, and to scrape it all off if there is any. Also, if the machine has additional hand holds designed to help you get on or off, then use them: the manufacturer has deemed them necessary for a reason. Finally, always lower yourself in a controlled manner when leaving a vehicle – never jump.
Secondly, ensure that you observe safe practises when loading or unloading any construction equipment rentalmachinery, as machine roll-over is another common cause of injury. Always allow yourself enough room to manoeuvre both the machine and the trailer, which isn’t always easy on sites that aren’t space-heavy. Double check that the machine is in a state of absolute zero energy – ie, there is no risk of it starting. Always use proper tie-down procedures.
Most large construction equipment requires the use of counterweights, and yet some people don’t take them into account despite the fact that they can cause fatal accidents. Ensure that the swing radius of the counterweight is roped off and monitored. When the machine is being used, make sure that there’s a spotter nearby to help keep the area clear.
It’s important to minimise crowds. Almost anyone who regularly uses heavy-duty equipment will tell you that the biggest issue they encounter is people standing a bit too close to the machine. This leads to a potential exposure to injury that just isn’t needed. If you’re using heavy-duty machinery then use the horn (if there is one) to make sure that anyone nearby is aware of the machine being fired up. If you don’t think that people surrounding are sufficiently aware of any risks, then stop the machine and warn them yourself. Never start a machine up if you think people in the immediate vicinity could be in danger.
Finally, you should make sure that you protect yourself against both buried and overhead obstructions, such as electrical lines, water, sewer, gas and the like. A great many construction sites will be based within close proximity to these kinds of hazards, so it’s important to be consistently vigilant. If you’re about to dig in an area then you should contact the agency that has jurisdiction to make sure that there aren’t any hazards, or to obtain detailed plans so that if there are any, you can work safely. Always ensure that you use barrier tapes, signs and the like to indicate the hazards to those in the area. As with all aspects of construction site safety, you should take no chances.