How to Eliminate Health and Safety Risks on Construction Projects

Construction risks/ hazards are present and on-site situations that pose a threat to the health and life of the construction team and the surrounding environment.

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It is of great importance to identify and eliminate these situations, as mentioned in The Most Common Health & Safety Risks during Construction.

This article outlines viable ways to prevent health & safety risks on your site.

Keep detailed records

Maintain clear records of site details like the persons present on site, their health status clearly stating underlying issues, injuries attained while on-site, types and quantities of materials delivered, any repairs on equipment, and any other changes that may be made the equipment.

These records will give you insight into H&S issues and help you address them accordingly.

First Aid

Provisions for first aid should be availed with appropriate training provided to all personnel. Pre-existing medical conditions should be communicated to the relevant supervisors.

Proper hazard communication

 All people present on the site should know and heed the warning calls and alarms and should proceed to the specified safe zones.

Acceptable working conditions

Proper working conditions on-site like not overworking the personnel, working under proper lighting and ventilation conditions, and maintaining correct team numbers should be maintained.

Keep ill or injured workers away from participating in activities on the site

Injured workers should be given time off to heal completely to regain proper working abilities in order not to pose any danger to themselves and other team members.

Provide training

Site personnel should be imparted with essential training skills to safely implement the various tasks present on a construction site. Training made should be focused on the following; 

  • How to operate equipment and tools safely.
  • How to accomplish the construction tasks according to building specifications.
  • How to handle materials correctly.

Eliminate messiness & clutter

This is the main cause of injury when moving materials, equipment or personnel around site. Working in such messy or cluttered places or moving items poses hazards to the team.

Warning labels

These should be put up to keep unwanted people out and to communicate the hazards in each zone. They should be placed on all zones and equipment indicating the danger and training required to execute work.

Personal Protective Equipment

Avail and train your team on the proper use of H&S equipment. These include fire extinguishers, hard hats, body harnesses, ladders, safety boots, and gloves.

Arrangement of the workplace

The placement of tools, materials, and construction zones on the job site can minimize injury by reducing exposure to noise or heat from equipment or reducing the distance materials and tools have to be carried. Exposure, distance to the construction zone, and proximity to other materials, water, and power sources should be considered when setting up a site. Location of waste management systems and food preparation is also a very important aspect and should be considered.

Identify H&S safe zones, exits, and team supervisors

The selection of a safe zone is crucial in creating an area free of any potential harm and where emergency services can access personnel. Routes and exits to these safe zones should be marked. Individuals should be selected to monitor H&S issues and personnel during daily project work and emergency times.

Prepare for bad weather and natural disasters

Set up emergency measures for when a possible disaster occurs. Given the location of your site, predict the possible natural or man-made disasters to appropriately protect the site and team. These would range from flooding (site next to river or lake), earthquakes, and animal attacks (site near animal habitat) to explosions (for example site next to fuel stations) or mudslides.

Use fences (barriers) to control site access

Put up physical barriers with appropriate warning and monitoring to ensure only qualified or accepted persons access the construction site appropriately protected with H&S equipment.

Use appropriate equipment for tasks

Minimize harm to personnel and building by using the correct tools for the specified work. Adjusting the sizing of work versus tools is also important to minimize overload, collapse, or burnout of tools.

It is the responsibility of all individuals present on-site to consider health and safety issues. Protective gear and training must be provided to all and strict adherence to a Health & Safety Policy/ Guideline must be enforced. Non-conformance should not be tolerated and must be addressed with immediate effect.

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