As one of the biggest businesses in the UK the construction industry offers many people an opportunity to work in a multitude of different occupations. Construction is a great career to get into but it comes with its own risks and even though site safety has come on in leaps and bounds over recent years it is important to remember that a building site will always be a potentially hazardous place to work. But if you follow health and safety rules and stay vigilant you should be able to avoid any accidents on site.
Site Inductions and Site Rules – when you arrive onsite your employer or the main contractor will induct you. Your induction will cover health and safety practice on site, the site layout and any existing hazards. You will also be informed of the site rules; all construction sites have rules but they differ slightly depending upon the site location, the type of structure and the main contractor. You should not begin work on site before you have had your induction and in many cases you will not be able to access the site without showing the employer or contractor a valid and up to date CSCS card.
PPE – You cannot work on a construction site without the correct personal protective equipment, PPE. To view samples of PPE, visit FallProtectPlus.co.uk. Your employer should provide you with the PPE you need; typically this will consist of high visibility clothing, a hard hat, safety footwear with capped toes, eye protection, gloves and ear protection. It is your responsibility to ensure your PPE is stored safely and kept in good condition.
Training and Tool Box Talks – You need to be confident that you are trained to do the job you are undertaking so that you can work safely and competently. You should take any proof of certification or competence onto site before you begin work. In many cases a CSCS card will be the proof you need. These cards are only attainable by proving your competence, experience and qualifications and therefore are a quick and simple way of providing employers or contractors with proof of your abilities and competency.
Tool Box talks are designed to re-instil the rules of working safely on site for all workers. They are normally short talks that will be given after a break and the subjects they cover will depend on the particular site and the schedule of works being carried out that day or week. Standard tool box talks include; working at height, plant safety, PPE, working in excavations and traffic management.
Other Useful Points:
It is important to familiarise yourself with the site access and egress, this will detail the segregation’s between pedestrians and plant equipment where possible. It will also detail the pedestrian crossover points around the site, assisting you to move around the site and through traffic routes safely.
It is critical that site workers identify the most hazardous areas of site, such as areas around electrical equipment that come with an electric shock hazard. You can find out about the hazardous areas during your site induction and/or by reviewing the site risk assessments.
Be aware of ladders and scaffold; they should always be in good condition with no traces of hazardous material on the rungs (i.e. oil, grease or something equally slippery.) Scaffolds should have fall protection and employees working at height should wear a harness at all times.
Keep the as tidy as possible, debris and equipment left lying around could be a trip or fall hazard.
If you are working inside a closed space or if you are working at night ensure the site and your working area are well lit.
When you arrive at a new site find out who the site first aider is.
When working in a confined or closed space ensure that people know you are there and if possible have a foreman or additional employee present to watch you and your co-workers so that if anything goes wrong they can alert the necessary personnel.
Follow Site Rules
Attend an Induction
Get a CSCS Card
Wear Your PPE
Familiarise Yourself with Access and Egress
Attend Tool Box Talks
Continue Your Training
Read Method Statements and Risk Assessments
Be Vigilant – If someone is working dangerously inform the site manager or necessary personnel immediately