Working in construction comes with a range of hazards, from falling from heights to coming into regular contact with cancer-causing asbestos. In Europe, construction is considered one of the most dangerous land-based industries, making it important to take precautions to keep your workers safe and avoid any injuries, whether life-threatening or otherwise.
Provide Correct PPE
One of the most obvious ways to keep your workers safe is to provide them with the correct personal protective equipment and tools. All staff should be wearing hard hats and high-visibility vests to prevent accidents.
Hard hats are required by law on the majority of construction sites due to the high risk of head injury and can be the difference between a minor injury and a fatality.
When it comes to high-vis clothing, employers should provide this, particularly on sites where vehicles are operating to improve the likelihood of recognition by vehicle drivers.
When working at heights, providing workers with tool lanyards is a further way to reduce the risk of injury. Tool lanyards prevent accidental drops of heavy tools from above as they allow tools to be secured at the waist or wrist which could otherwise injure workers on the ground.
Ensure Sufficient Training
For construction workers operating in medium and high-risk sites, they must have sufficient health and safety training to reduce the risk of injury and death. Ensuring appropriate training will also protect your firm against legal liability. If an accident occurs on-site and you haven’t taken the precautions to protect your workers and provide them with the necessary training then you will be seen as responsible for what has occurred.
Inspect Tools and Equipment
All equipment and tools that your workers are using should be inspected regularly to ensure that there are no defects or malfunctions. Not only can malfunctions cause significant project delays, but they could also cause injury to your workers. Preventive maintenance routines are essential to ensure that all the tools being used on site are safe and in working order and that defective parts are replaced promptly.
To reduce the likelihood of malfunctions, you should keep your storage area clean and protected from moisture and extreme temperatures which can cause corrosion.
Secure and Maintain Scaffolding
With the HSE finding that 47% of construction worker injuries are due to falls from height, it is imperative that you erect scaffolding correctly. Scaffolding must be built on stable ground with solid footing and it is always a good idea to obtain a log book from the company that you are hiring from so that you are aware of any issues that may arise when erecting or disabling the frame.
You should ensure that you include ladder access and install guards and toe boards to reduce the risk of dropping tools and debris onto any workers below.