The construction industry is a very high risk work environment, with a high potential for serious accidents and injuries. Although construction workers are only 5% of the employees in the UK, they account for 27% of the fatal injuries and 10% of major injuries. Construction workers are exposed to a lot of hazards in their job, including falls from height, electrocution, exposure to dangerous substances, musculoskeletal injuries and loss of hearing. Many construction site accidents can result in serious injury or can even be fatal.
With so many potential hazards on a construction site and a great risk of injury, it is very important to do everything that you can to reduce accidents on your construction site. Reducing accidents has a number of benefits. It is not only a moral responsibility to protect the lives of your employees, but it will also reduce your insurance premiums and result in less downtime. Your employees will be more productive and have higher morale because they will know their safety is being taken care of. Also, having excellent health and safety and minimising accidents at your company will improve your reputation, making your business more desirable to work for.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for bringing down the risk for your employees:
Be Aware of the Risks First!
It is difficult to avoid risks if you don’t know what they are, so you should conduct a risk assessment before beginning work. A risk assessment is a detailed look at the workplace in order to spot any potential causes of harm. If you have a company of more than five people, a risk assessment is required by law and it must be recorded in writing.
Once the hazards have been identified by the risk assessment, the next step is to figure out how best to manage them. From here, you will be able to develop a plan for the health and safety of your workers that will protect them from the hazards that you have outlined.
Keep Tools and Equipment Well Maintained
It is very important to make sure that your machinery and equipment is in working order. All tools and machinery should be kept on a regular inspection schedule and there should be a written record of when they were last checked or repaired. It is unfortunate, but many accidents in the workplace have occurred because tools and equipment were not well maintained.
You should also encourage your employees to do a quick check of the equipment or machinery before they use it, in order to make sure that it is functioning correctly. Any maintenance issues should be reported to management as soon as possible if not immediately.
Keep The Workplace Clean
Another common cause of construction site accidents is when workers trip over debris and injure themselves with a fall or a slip. It is very important to keep all of the walkways free of debris in order to avoid unnecessary injuries. All employees need to be on board with this and there should be an accepted and enforced standard of cleanliness throughout the workplace.
Put all tools and materials away in the correct place when you are finished working with them. Also, if there is a spill it should be cleaned up right away, with the area marked off as “Wet” until it is safe to walk on again.
Have More Frequent Safety Meetings
Your safety meetings should be as frequent as possible – perhaps even daily if you are performing high risk work such as construction on a highway. These safety meetings shouldn’t just consist of reading boring and generic safety tips from a manual. Instead, you should ask your crew to offer feedback about the potential risks that they see in their particular working environment. You can then brainstorm together as a group to come up with the best way to avoid these risks. Applied real life job specific safety information will always be more valuable.
Wear the Right Safety Gear
Do your employees wear the appropriate safety gear for the job that they are carrying out? Make sure that you are educating employees on what personal protective equipment to wear, providing this equipment free of charge and enforcing the wearing of the equipment. If PPE is uncomfortable or broken your employees will be less likely to wear it, so make sure that it fits them well and is in good condition. Create a culture of health and safety in the workplace by rewarding the employees who wear their protective gear and reprimanding those who don’t.
Receive Health and Safety Training
Another very important step to reducing accidents on a construction site is to ensure that all contractors, employees, managers and supervisors have completed the correct health and safety training. There are many different courses available that will benefit your company.
For example, the CCNSG Safety Passport course is a nationally recognised site safety qualification that offers a basic introduction to health and safety in the workplace. It will be valid for three years and can then be renewed with a one day course. The course is accredited by the Client Contractors National Safety Group.
The course contains a lot of important health and safety information, including how to work safely on scaffolding, outline safe working procedures for exiting and access, how to manage fire risks and precautions, how to use personal protective equipment and how to carry out accident and first aid procedures. Each of the training modules are assessed via a multiple choice question paper, with the examination mark for each paper set at 80%.
These are just a few of the ways that you can reduce the number of accidents on a construction site. With the right training, effort and care it is possible to ensure that your workplace is as safe as possible and kept free of accidents and incidents. This will not only bring down your insurance premiums and reduce downtime, but will also improve the morale and productivity of your employees.