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Tips to Make Your Construction Site Safer

By: Grant King - IndustrySearch Writer
15 June, 2015

Construction sites are notoriously dangerous places, not just for those who work there; even passers-by are occasionally in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Every year far too many Australians are killed in construction site mishaps. Far more are injured, some seriously with far reaching consequences. This is no real surprise; with so many people flitting about on scaffolding and partially built structures – often at great heights – and with so much heavy material dangling about from cranes, the chance of incident is high.

Yet there are ways to minimise the dangers and get all your workers safely home to their families each day.

Be hardline about safety equipment

It should go without saying, but so many workers go without safety equipment that it has to be said again here. Hard hats, safety glasses, boots, gloves, they're standard issue on every site, but the other standard issue is getting people to wear them. Workers can be strangely indifferent about their own safety, so make it non-negotiable. If you have to, make them feel obligated to their co-workers and family. By ignoring their own safety they compromise others professionally and emotionally.

Put safety on 'repeat'

Train, train and train again until safety procedures become second nature. Make sure your training includes correct lifting procedures. The old expression 'Don't use your back as a crane,' should be fairly easy to get across on a construction site. And make sure you focus on correct techniques for getting on and off machinery and ladders. Workers may scoff at such mollycoddling, but a ridiculously high number of accidents happen climbing on or off things. Anything from muddy boots to plain old leaping off rather than stepping off is to blame, but it's easily fixed.

Strip search your site daily

Construction sites are an ever-evolving, moving mass of organised chaos. So something that seems safe one day may not be safe the next. Do a daily walk through looking for any accidents waiting to happen and report them to managers so they don't. Spend a bit of time just watching workers go about their business and note any potentially dangerous work practices. This walkthrough is also a good time to keep an eye out for anyone flouting the safety gear edict.

Harness everything on site

Much like life jackets on boats, a lot of your workers will think safety harnesses are a waste of time. They're not. Unharnessed people fall off rooftops and scaffolding. Harnessed people don't. So if you have workers operating anywhere above ground level without adequate screens, supply harnesses and make sure they use them.

Build a fortress

Your site should be inaccessible to all but authorised personnel, so barricade all its boundaries with high fences and lockable gates. Also barricade open ditches and excavations. Lock all points of entry at night so adventurous kids don't become after-hours black marks on your site safety record.