Health & Safety in Construction + Preventive Measures

The dangers in the construction industry are higher than others. Neglecting safety measures puts workers at risk, which could otherwise be prevented.
April 10, 2024 by
Health & Safety in Construction + Preventive Measures
SP Group Global Ltd

Every job in every industry comes with some level of risk but the dangers in construction tend to be higher. Health and safety should never be overlooked as both play a huge role in protecting the lives and well-being of workers from numerous hazards.

This article will highlight this importance and discuss the uncertainties it comes with. It will also touch upon preventive actions to keep everyone, as well as the business itself, safe.

The Importance of Health and Safety in Construction

Prioritising health and safety in construction is non-negotiable — both always come first. It’s not just a guideline but also a responsibility. It protects lives, prevents accidents, and keeps projects on track. Neglecting health and safety measures can result in costly delays, legal liabilities, and damage to reputation, all of which could otherwise be prevented.

Construction Hazards and Preventive Measures

The construction industry is one of the most hazardous workplaces due to the work involved. The associated risks pose significant dangers to workers and can be a matter of life and death.

Falls from heights are one of the most common accidents in the construction industry. Workers can suffer severe injuries when they fall from scaffolding, roofs, or other elevated surfaces. The impact of a fall can lead to broken bones, spinal cord or traumatic injuries, or even death.

Next is falling materials from a height. This refers to any objects, tools, equipment, or construction materials that fall from an elevated position. Anyone below is at risk of being struck, which can lead to head trauma, fractures, lacerations, or fatalities. Moreover, it can cause damage to property, equipment, or vehicles.

Preventive measures:

  • Install scaffold protection like debris netting on scaffolding. This safety measure helps catch falling objects, including workers themselves. Ensure proper installation of the netting along the scaffold to maximise its effectiveness.
  • Provide workers with personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hard hats and safety glasses. Hard hats protect the head from impact injuries. Meanwhile, safety glasses shield the eyes from debris, dust, and other hazards.
  • Conduct regular inspections of scaffolding or other platforms to ensure a sturdy framework. This helps guarantee the safety of workers at heights and prevents accidents due to unstable frameworks.
  • Provide safety training. Teach proper use of fall protection equipment, like harnesses and guardrails. Workers must understand how to inspect, fit, and use these safety devices effectively in various work scenarios.

Another hazard is defective machinery or equipment that malfunctions or is poorly maintained. Accidents such as component failures can injure operators or nearby workers. Equipment breakdowns due to defects can also cause work delays, downtime, and loss of productivity.

Preventive measures:

  • Conduct regular inspections and maintenance of machinery. This routine helps you identify and address any defects or potential issues.
  • Provide proper training to equipment operators on safe operation procedures. For instance, train workers to recognise signs of defects.
  • Repair or replace defective equipment as soon as possible to prevent accidents. Implement a system for reporting and addressing malfunctions or defects right away.

Health and Safety Responsibility Assignment

The Construction Design & Management Regulations outlined clear jobs and responsibilities for everyone involved in construction.

The client’s job is to provide information about the project to the construction team. This could include details about the site, any potential hazards, and the desired outcome. They also make sure everyone on the project is qualified.

The principal designer assists the client with health and safety by overseeing risks in the design pre-construction. The principal contractor manages health and safety throughout the project’s duration.

Trade contractors must follow the principal contractor’s safety rules and an agreed-upon system of work. Workers must follow site rules and safe ways of working. They are also responsible for reporting any site hazards to their employer.

Health and safety in construction is a shared responsibility among all involved parties. From the client to trade contractors and workers, each must adhere to safety protocols.

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