It's simple: a construction site is bound to have many hazards, such is the nature of the job. By following the checklist below, you're putting your employees in a much safer position when they're on-site. Here's a construction site safety checklist you can use for your own checks in the future.
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Simply conducting a risk assessment won't be enough. Obviously, conducting a mental one before a single job begins is necessary and second nature, as you know the basic hazards to look out for. But there are always other hidden dangers which can crop up at any time. That can be combatted with the right equipment or safety measures in place. The aspects you need to consider on your construction site safety checklist include:
As a site manager, these checks are going to be the basic framework for your checklist, but they can be broken into much more depth.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is clearly a necessity, so you must remain compliant with the Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations Act 1992. Some of the more in-depth PPE checks you need to be making include:
Eye & Face PPE
- As foreign objects can get into the eye during most activities such as welding, cutting or working with concrete and right down to sanding above eye level, safety goggles or face shields are to be worn during work operations. These are selected based on anticipated hazards.
- Safety glasses and face shields are also to be worn when exposed to any electrical hazards, such as working with energised electrical systems.
- Workers must wear the right type of gloves for the job. For example, specialist welding gloves must be worn for welding, heavy-duty rubber gloves must be worn for concrete work, while insulated gloves and sleeves are needed when exposed to electrical hazards.
- Gloves worn by workers must also fit snugly. Wearing gloves that are too tight can cause hand injury while loose-fitting gloves can cause workers to lose grip and create further hazards.
- Steel-toed footwear should be worn by all employees.
- Footwear provided to workers should also feature slip-resistant features along with puncture-resistant soles for added safety.
- You need to provide workers with hard hats that are in good condition.
- Ensure that the hard hats you provide are maintained in good condition. If one is no longer usable, you need to source a suitable and safe replacement.
- As a site manager, you need to routinely inspect hard hats for deterioration, cracks and dents in order to decide whether replacements are needed and to see whether workers are operating with safe equipment. It would be a good idea to build an attitude of self-policing too. After all, it's their own safety.
With scaffolding being another major component in construction, the Work at Height Regulations Act 2005 suggests that regular safety checks must also be made in order to ensure the scaffolding equipment is safe to use and regularly maintained. According to the HSE, scaffolds used for construction should be inspected before they are used for the first time and then every seven days, until it is removed. Along with this, you need to make several other important checks in 2018. These include:
- Ensure that the scaffolding is set on sound footing on a firm, level foundation.
- If you notice any damaged parts that affect the overall strength of the scaffold, make sure they are taken out of service.
- Scaffolds your workers are using should not be loaded with more weight than they were originally designed to support.
- Ensure that no extra materials are ever used to build up on scaffold platforms.
- A regular check you need to make is ensuring no ladders, boxes or other makeshift platforms are ever in use to raise the height.
- Only allow workers who are fully-trained to use scaffolds to operate on the equipment.
- Make sure that you clearly communicate and check that no employee is working on scaffolds in bad weather or high winds.
- Along with this, clearly explain that nobody can work on scaffolds when covered with ice or snow.
- You also need to check that the access to and from the scaffolding is clear, such as clear staircases, external ladders etc.
- Ensure that scaffolds are designed, erected, altered and dismantled only by competent professionals.
A third vital check you need to take into account in 2018 are electrical safety checks. This is so you're remaining compliant with the Electricity at Work Regulations Act 1989. This legislation places legal implications to ensure the safety of electrical devices in the workplaces and for those using them. In this case, your role as the site manager on site will also include checking that the electrical devices that are being used are safe for the workers to do so.
- Locate and identify overhead electrical power lines beforehand.
- You need to promptly identify and replace any frayed, damaged or worn electrical cords and cables.
- Before decommissioning or inspecting electrical equipment, make sure they are disconnected from all sources of supply and isolated.
- For disused electrical equipment which have been abandoned and are no longer in use, it's your responsibility to check that they have also been disconnected from all sources of supply and removed from the premises.
- It's also your responsibility to regularly check and maintain any electrical equipment used and remove equipment with defects with suitable and safe replacements.
- You need to check that the person using any equipment is not only trained to use it safely, but also use it while keeping others safe.
- Make sure the users know which PPE needs to be worn, how to use it and make sure they do while operating electrical equipment.
- Make sure that the electrical equipment your workforce is using is suitable for the electrical supply to which you are connecting it to. So, check the voltage beforehand to avoid any potential hazards.
- Organise for a competent person to perform regular tests using suitable equipment and reducing risks by making sure the electrical supply is safe to use.
- For additional safety, consider using a Residual Current Device (RCD) to reduce the likelihood of an electrical injury as a secondary means of reducing injury risk.
As sites like yours can feature the use of heavy machineries such as forklifts, cranes, mobile elevating platforms and more, it's important that you're making these necessary and important checks to remain compliant with the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations Act 1998.
- Check that the equipment is constructed or adapted to be suitable for the purpose it's being used for.
- Take into account the working conditions and health and safety risks on the site when selecting machinery.
- Ensure the machinery is maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair.
- Check that only the trained workers are operating the machinery to keep themselves and others on the site safe at all times.
- Check that workers are wearing the correct PPE when operating in or around the heavy machinery.
- Organise for a competent and qualified person to regularly check the condition of heavy machinery to determine whether it's safe to use.
- If a defect is found, you must arrange for the damaged machinery to leave the site and replace with a safe alternative.
- Check that the machinery provided comes with appropriately identified controls for starting, stopping and controlling the equipment, and that these control systems are safe.
- Ensure that all people using, supervising and managing work machinery have received adequate training. This includes the correct use of the equipment, identifying the risks that may arise and the necessary precautions to take.
- Check that you've taken effective measures to prevent access to dangerous parts of machinery.
- Where machinery comes with a maintenance log, check that you are keeping this up to date or you have a competent person to maintain this log.
With the construction industry responsible for 29% of all employment injuries last year, it's important that we're all making the effort and necessary checks to make sure that this figure doesn't increase in 2018.
By implementing these checks into your own checklist and strictly following them, you're creating a much safer environment for yourself and the rest of the workforce to operate in.
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