A Comprehensive Guide to Safety During Your Construction Project

Even if this is your first time overseeing a construction project, you will already be aware of the importance of proper safety measures. This is not only for the sake of a successful project but also for the wellbeing of contractors and employees. There is no point in preparing the plans for a building without combining adequate safety checks along the way. This guide will outline the key aspects of medium- to large-scale construction projects and how you can ensure safety for everyone involved.

Assess the Risks

Every construction project should begin with a detailed risk assessment. Examine each step of the process for potential dangers and flag areas that need addressing. For example, will anyone need to operate dangerous machinery or handle volatile chemicals? Bring in a risk expert to go over your plans with you. They will have the necessary experience to point out the hazards and make suggestions for how to limit the risk. It is best to keep your risk assessment updated as the project progresses so that everyone remains protected.

Hire Trained Contractors

For a construction project to be completed to an acceptable level, you must hire contractors with plenty of experience and skill. Ask to see their portfolio of work, and don’t be afraid to shop around. Find out about the safety training that your contractors undergo and make sure it is up to standard for your particular project. If in doubt, discuss your needs with people who have already been in charge of large construction projects and ask how they found the right contractors for the job.

Only Source from Reputable Manufacturers

Spend time researching suppliers and manufacturers before committing to using their goods for your construction. It is never a good idea to cut corners or try to save money on materials and goods that need to be as safe as possible. Items such as exterior cladding, internal structures, and moving parts need to be reliable. For example, be thorough and invest in elevator manufacturing innovations rather than opting for cheaper and less trustworthy elevator suppliers. You want the best in the industry. Talk to your contractors about which companies they recommend, and do your own reading too. It doesn’t hurt to learn more about these details, even if you won’t be directly involved in the construction phase itself.

Focus On Training

High-quality training for anyone entering the construction site will significantly reduce the risks to health and safety. Put together detailed training packs specific to the project so that even your experienced contractors have a clear idea of the hazards and the required safety measures. This training should include protocols for emergencies such as fire or medical problems. Teach everyone involved on the site that any concerns they have about safety will be taken seriously and encourage them to bring anything worrying to your attention as soon as they notice it. For longer projects, consider returning to training at regular intervals to keep everyone’s minds fresh and focused on safety.

Provide PPE

Using your risk assessment and your knowledge of the plans for construction, create a list of necessary personal protective equipment that your contractors must wear when working on the site, as well as any visitors. Provide this equipment and keep it in good condition so that it stays functional, replacing any damaged equipment immediately. This means having it inspected regularly. Make it clear how each item of equipment is meant to be worn for maximum safety, such as securing helmets properly. This is even more important if you have visitors, such as media representatives, family members, inspectors, or students, coming onto the site.

Check Equipment

Just as it is important to regularly inspect the PPE for faults and damage, it is also essential that other equipment on the site is checked. At the beginning of the project, have the equipment tested ahead of time and make sure those tasked with using it have the necessary skills to keep themselves protected. In some instances, contractors will require certification to use certain equipment. Do not permit anyone without the right qualifications and experience to use potentially dangerous tools, such as forklifts or cranes.

Set Up Appropriate Safety Procedures

The best way to avoid risk is to follow simple procedures that address each point of friction directly. Have your contractors learn specific rituals for operating equipment, lifting heavy objects, or working at potentially dangerous heights. Consider how each individual interacts with the project and what safety procedures are relevant to them. For example, electricians will need plans in place for their part of the work, just as scaffolders need information particular to their area of expertise. Think about overall site safety as well as procedures for each section and sub-project.

Maintain High Levels of Security

The security of your site also plays into the safety of the project. If it is possible for unknown individuals to enter the site without permission, there is a chance for equipment to be stolen, damaged, or tampered with. Aside from the liability of having a member of the public hurt themselves on your construction site, you also risk potentially irreversible damage to the project. To mitigate this, invest in security measures such as CCTV, perimeter barriers, and security guards. Put up highly visible signs that make it clear that your construction site is unsafe for the public and that any trespassers will be prosecuted. Assign identification to those permitted on the site, including visitors, and keep track of everyone who enters and exits.

Dispose of Waste Properly

Construction projects involve many materials and some amount of waste. Get in touch with your local authority to find out what the regulations around safe disposal are for your area. Manufacturers often label their goods with instructions for safe disposal, especially when it comes to hazardous chemicals that are toxic or flammable. Prevent spills not only to avoid wasted money but also to protect the site and people from danger.

Conduct Safety Inspections

Recruit specially trained and qualified personnel to inspect the site for hazards. Check their reports and make changes as necessary. Taking the time to do this on a regular basis means you can rest assured that your construction site is well-maintained and your contractors have a safe environment to work within. Invite the site crew to offer their own insights alongside the inspectors to obtain a well-rounded view of the project’s safety.

Plan for Emergencies

While you can try to reduce the chances of an emergency occurring, they are, by definition, unexpected and difficult to plan for. However, you can do your best to set up safety procedures that encompass the possibility of an emergency. Consider escape routes and designated first aiders, as well as meeting points and special PPE. It may feel like a waste of time to spend so much effort on plans you don’t expect to use, but it is much better to have an emergency plan you don’t need rather than need a plan but not have one.

Whether you have been part of a construction project before or not, you will need to bear in mind the importance of safety at every stage throughout the process. There is no such thing as too safe when it comes to construction projects, especially large-scale ones. Safety must be a priority in every aspect, from planning to implementation to the future purpose of the construction. Build safety into your plans, encourage a culture of communication, and implement necessary protocols to keep your construction project as safe as possible. Use this guide as a way to clarify each area of health and safety to ensure that your project goes ahead without any issues.