How to Eliminate Health and Safety Risks on Construction Projects

Construction risks/ hazards are the situations that are present on site which pose a considerable threat to the health and life of the construction team and surroundings.

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

This article will outline solutions so that you are aware of how to prevent health & safety risks on your site.

  • Keep detailed records; Maintain clear records of present personnel, health issues, injuries, materials delivered, repairs to equipment and any other site changes. These records will give you insight into H&S issues and help you address them accordingly.
  • First Aid; Provisions for first aid should be made with appropriate training provided to all personnel. Medical ailments should be communicated to the relevant supervisors.
  • Proper hazard communication; All people present on the site should know and heed to the warning calls and alarms and should proceed to the specified safe zones.
  • Acceptable working conditions; Maintain proper working conditions on the site, these include no over working, working under proper lighting and ventilation conditions, maintaining correct team numbers.
  • Prevent ill or injured workers from participating in activities on the site; These workers should be given time off to regain proper working abilities no to pose any danger to themselves and other team members.
  • Provide training; Essential training skills are required to safely accomplish the various tasks on a construction site. Arrangements should be made to provide thorough training of the following; –
    • Training to operate equipment and tools safely
    • Training to accomplish the construction tasks according to building specifications
    • Training to handle materials correctly
  • Eliminate messiness & clutter; This is a common source of injury since moving materials, working in these places or locating items poses hazards to the team.
  • Warning labels; These should be placed to keep unwanted people out and to communicate the hazards in each zone. Labels 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 the proper use of H&S equipment. This will include fire extinguishers, hard hats, body harnesses, ladders, gloves, etc
  • Arrangement of workplace; the placement of tools, materials and construction zones on the job site can minimise injury by reducing exposure to noise or heat from equipment or reduce the distance materials and tools have to be carried. Exposure, distance to construction zone, proximity to other materials, water and power sources. Location of waste management systems and food preparation is also very important to look into.
  • Identify H&S safe zones, exits, team supervisors; selection of a safe zone is important 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 clearly marked. Individuals should be selected to monitor H&S issues and personnel during regular project work and emergency times.
  • Prepare for bad weather and natural disasters; setup 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) , earth quakes, animal attacks (site near animal habitat) to explosions (for example site next to fuel stations) or mudslides.
  • Fences (barriers) to control site access; erect physical barriers with appropriate warning and monitoring to make sure only qualified or accepted persons access the construction site appropriately protected with H&S equipment.
  • Use appropriate equipment for tasks; minimise harm to personnel and building by using the correct tools for the specified work. Correct sizing of work vs tools is also important to minimise overload, collapse or burnout of tools.

It is the responsibility of all individuals present on site to take health and safety issues into consideration. Protective equipment and training must be provided to all and strick adherence to a Health & Safety Policy/ Guideline must be enforced. Non conformance should be be tolerated and must be addressed immediately.

We hope this article has proved useful in providing solutions to The Most Common Health & Safety Risks during Construction. Listed below are further resources related to construction.

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