Construction sites: how to ensure the safety of the public
If you are in charge of a construction site, your duty of care extends to the public. Any time that you need to carry out a form of construction work where members of the public could come into contact with workers and areas of higher risk, it is necessary for you to take steps to protect them as best possible. Avoiding accidents can be simple, as long as you take sensible precautions. So let’s take a look at some of the best things you can do to keep everyone safe.
Setting up boundaries
With any kind of construction work, the first step that you need to take in order to best protect the public is to set up boundaries. Excluding the public from high risk areas is the best way to keep them away from any potential danger. There are a number of steps that you need to carry out to have proper boundaries erected.
Start by planning exactly where you need to block off in order to keep people safe – it may be the case that this infringes on public spaces such as pavements, and this would mean your project would need to be approved by the local council. You can look into the fencing options available as well as any other kind of physical boundaries that may be required. South East based civil engineering specialists Maltaward recommend steel palisade fences for boundaries on construction sites.
Working at height – think about below
Remember that it is not always possible to cordon off the area for pedestrians and members of the public, and there are situations where it is simply unavoidable that the public will come into contact with areas of construction. In these situations it becomes important for you to take precautions to protect people.
For example, one of the major dangers for the public on constructions sites is when there are people working at height above them. This sets up the obvious risk that tools, building materials or other debris could fall from height and hit the people below. You would then have to put plans in place to reduce the risk as much as possible by having netting as well as clear signage.
The challenges of site deliveries
One aspect of construction sites that can be overlooked is the fact that deliveries will need to be made to the site, either bringing or removing materials, as well as other vehicles that may have to enter or leave the site at any time. It is essential that during deliveries that pavements should not be obstructed, as this could possibly force pedestrians into the road.
Ensure that if vehicles need to enter the site, they will have space to do so and that the pavement is still accessible. Or alternatively, you could make arrangements with the council to close the footpath and make additional space available for pedestrians.
Any scaffolding or access equipment that is required for construction has not be erected and dismantled, and this can be high-risk time for members of the public. Even though it may be that no construction work is being carried out, the same due care and attention needs to be taken to ensure that no injuries occur.
Storage of materials and tools
It is additionally worth remembering that it is not only the actual construction work that can pose a potential risk to members of the public. Just the tools and the materials that are used in construction can be dangerous if left unattended. That means that anything used on the site should be safely and securely stored when they are not being used.
Make sure that the site has a secure area for storage that can be locked and is not accessible to the public. Aside from the risk of theft, tools and construction materials can present risks to members of the public.
Protecting the vulnerable
It is important to point out that with any kind of safety procedures you should take time to remember more vulnerable members of the public. Children, the elderly and the disabled will have specific needs that you need to consider when correctly protecting them from the risks of construction sites. For example, children might be interested in playing on construction sites and may even be able to get restricted areas due to their smaller size. Consider this when you are setting up your fencing.