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8 ways to improve construction site safety

  • 26 Jan 2015

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As well as protecting trusted and valued employees and peers, an exemplary safety record is central to growing a construction business. The ability to achieve certain accreditations will be compromised by on-site accidents and injuries, and investors are more likely to trust companies which can demonstrate a consistent ability to guarantee safe construction sites.

Warning signs on internal walls, HR-pleasing training and dedicated hard-hat areas are merely the bare minimum which can be done to ensure the safety of your workforce and anybody who enters the worksite. Here we offer eight considerations which can help to improve construction site safety.

1] Near Miss Documentation

Rather than only reporting and documenting the incidents which resulted in an injury, promote reporting of near misses. If near misses are repeatedly ignored, the cause will likely lead to accidents and injuries in the future. In 1950, H.W. Heinrich explained that for every 10 near misses, there will be one accident. Instigating change after one near miss, can all reduce the likelihood of injury.

2] Daily Meetings

Morning meetings with the construction team can give everyone the opportunity to raise concerns they may have about the safety of specific aspects of the construction sites. An open forum will also present the opportunity for the entire team to consider elegant solutions to the problem/s which will not inhibit the productivity of the site.

3] Full and Efficient Filing

Whilst paperwork can be one of the most frustrating and disliked jobs in the industry, it is incredibly important that full paperwork is correctly stored and filed making it possible to check and cross-reference all documentation. This process can ensure you can access important information and provide documentation as proof of compliance.

4] Regular Safety Inspections

Rather than sprucing the site up for the routine inspections, instigate more regular safety visits to ensure standards never drop below exemplary. Request that a supervisor, site manager or external body visits the site once a week, without fail, to ensure the construction site is safe and fully operational.

5] Frequent Merchandise Reviews

Dedicate a few hours every quarter to test and review all tools and machinery on the construction site to ensure everything is operating safely and at its fullest. This tactic can help remove the risk of a member of the site using a faulty tool which has not been replaced due to lack of use in previous months.

Paul Manchester, Managing Director of Manchester Safety Services, explained: Although high-quality construction tools have a long life expectancy, it is important to be wary and prepared for when their performance starts to drop and when their efficacy is reduced.

6] Healthy Eating

Whilst Jamie Oliver has concentrated his efforts on getting school children to eat healthily, it can be prudent to ensure your workforce receive sufficient nutrition every day helping their mental and physical wellbeing. Where possible, provide sustenance for the workforce to ensure their energy and attention levels are always high.

During the construction of the Olympic Stadium, accidents were found to occur most regularly in the hour before lunch, due to workers skipping breakfast. To remedy this, the site starting offering andpound;1 porridge breakfasts and the number of accidents reduced significantly.

7] Multi-Channel Communication

When implementing changes to construction sites and the safety procedures, it is vital the new information is effectively communicated to all affected parties. To increase the chance that the information will be effectively received and understood by all parties, send the information via multiple channels. Hold a meeting to verbally explain the changes, then hand out flyers and send emails repeating the new information. This will make it three times more likely the information will be absorbed.

If you have workers on the site who have a different first language, seek the help of a translator and send them the information in their maiden tongue. This helps reduce the risk of misunderstanding and can help all members of the workforce feel more valued.

8] Increase Fall Protection

Falls are the most common cause of fatal injury on UK construction sites with nearly half of all worksite deaths caused by falls from large heights. This makes it vital that fall protection is of the highest importance to you, the safety officer and the full team. Ensure that all high places on the construction site are given sufficient protection and meet standard regulations. This can help ensure all workers are made to feel safe when working at potentially dangerous heights.

Manchester Safety Services Ltd is a leading distributor in Road Safety Equipment, Contractors Tools and Site Equipment and Personal Protective Equipment.

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