Construction sites can be dangerous places. You could easily get injured if you are not paying attention. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the basic safety features at any construction site. Knowing what to look out for can help keep everyone at the site safe while on the job. Let’s take a closer look at some of these features and how they can help keep the workplace safe.
What is Construction Safety?
Construction safety is the process of protecting workers and property from hazards during construction. It includes both on-site safety, which encompasses measures taken to protect workers while they are working, and off-site safety, which contains measures taken to protect the public from hazards that may be present on or near the construction site. Construction safety is a joint effort between employers, workers, and the government.
Because of many possible hazards on building sites, construction site safety is a complicated subject. Some of these hazards are present during all construction phases, while others are specific to certain phases. Hazards can include:
- electrical hazards
- falling hazards
- ground instability hazards
- chemical hazards, and more
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What is the Main Objective of Southport Construction Site Safety?
Construction site safety is essential in Australia for many reasons. First, construction sites are often located in remote or difficult-to-access areas. This means that it can be challenging for emergency services to get to the location quickly if there is an accident or incident.
Second, construction sites often have a lot of heavy machinery and equipment. It can pose a serious risk to workers if they are not adequately trained to use it safely.
Third, work often involves work at heights. This can, again, be very dangerous for workers if they do not have the proper safety equipment and training.
Finally, the location can be extremely dusty and dirty. This can lead to respiratory problems for workers if they are not properly protected from dust and dirt.
Due to the inherent risks, Australia places a high priority on construction site safety. Minimize these risks by ensuring that workers are appropriately trained and have the proper safety equipment.
What Does a Worker in Construction Do?
Work settings and locations in the construction sector are constantly changing. This profile covers workers in general construction. Among the others working on a construction site are plumbers, carpenters, and electricians.
Some general construction worker’s primary responsibilities are to:
- Install a range of industrial, commercial, or residential systems.
- Making sure that projects adhere to the rules and standards for construction.
- Utilise, care for, and maintain a variety of equipment.
- Oversee or train other workers.
Injuries and Fatalities
According to Safe Work Australia, from the 2012–2013 financial year, construction workers experience the most significant rate of major injuries of any profession. Falls from height (from buildings, ladders, and scaffolding) were the most fatal during the five years before 2011–12. Vehicle-related fatalities come in second, followed by deaths from being struck by falling objects. For this reason, management is working with the government to install standards to keep the workplace a safe place to work in.
Occupational Health and Safety by Safe Work Australia (SWA)
A vital component of the construction safety process is the involvement of SWA and private occupational safety experts. Safe Work Australia establishes and enforces standards, offers training, outreach, and information, and ensures that workers have a safe and healthy working environment.
With the aid of previously obtained information, reports, and current observations, they frequently create, modify, and implement construction safety regulations. Additionally, occupational safety experts endeavor to eradicate any dangers connected to construction. By employing safer technology, chemicals, and instruments, they can remove the chance of environmental harm or worse.
Along with minimising and eradicating workplace safety concerns, they also inform the public about construction safety.
Precautions to Take at the Construction Site
To eliminate risks and foster a safe work environment, SafetyCulture listed 10 construction site safety rules.
Wearing PPE is a must
To reduce exposure to the multiple risks inherent on the job site, all employees and visitors must wear the appropriate PPE. PPEs commonly used include goggles, helmets, gloves, earplugs or muffs, boots, high-visibility vests, and suits.
Protective gear is essential due to the many construction-related risks that could cause head injuries. Engineers, architects, and occupational safety experts construct buildings as safely as possible to maximise safety and effectiveness. Unfortunately, risks are more common before a building project is complete. There is a chance of suffering a head injury on any building site due to falling debris, low-hanging dangers, exposed cables, and trip risks.
Follow safety signs
Safety signs enable management to inform and advise visitors and staff about health and safety. If necessary, strategically place them across the space. Workers should know construction site safety norms and signs, such as warnings, prohibitions, safe conditions, and fire fighting equipment signs. Do not enter an area marked as “off limits” or “dangerous.” These are sample safety signs to be followed.
Construction signs are a requirement to ensure that the business complies with workplace occupational health and safety laws. There are many signs on Australian building sites, each with a distinct design and function. They cover any risk, hazard, or other information that workers and guests at the workplace need to be aware of.
Give precise instructions
It is possible to work faster, more efficiently, and with less confusion if instructions are followed. Not to mention that it makes the construction process generally safer.
A contractor or site induction should be present. As a result, new staff will be able to become acquainted with site operations. The workers can receive health and safety instructions effectively by using toolbox lectures. It should be done either every day or more frequently before work starts.
Clean up the area
Make sure there aren’t any unattended piles of waste, dust, nails, or stagnant water around the construction site. The building site must be tidy and clear of clutter to avoid slips and trips.
Organise and safely store your tools
Also, ensure no tools are lying around, and unplug any lights and power tools. Following safety rules on construction sites will help to prevent equipment damage and worker injuries. Placing them in their suitable placements will make navigation easier, saving time and effort.
Use the appropriate tools for the task at hand
The misuse of a tool or piece of equipment is a common cause of accidents. Do not use improvised tools. Instead, use the proper instrument to complete the task to make it faster and safer.
Prepare an emergency response plan.
An emergency response plan instructs the workforce on what to do in a disaster such as a fire, explosion, hazardous material leak, or other forms of occurrence. Establish a specialised team to handle emergencies, respond to inquiries, and report potential dangers, quality problems, or near-misses.
Installing engineering controls, such as barriers, fences, and safeguards ensures site safety. These will aid in separating people from dangerous environments such as high-voltage electricity or substances that emit toxic fumes.
Pre-inspect tools and equipment
Before you begin working, ensure the tools and equipment are in good order. The inspection technique strives to guarantee that all the tools needed for hand tool production are free from damage, defects, and loose joints before the operation starts to ensure proper and reliable output. There is a high probability that tools, equipment, and other items won’t work, there will be mishaps, or people won’t know how to use or operate them if we don’t inspect them.
Report problems and concerns right away
Instruct workers to report errors and near-misses on the spot as soon as they happen. Only when problems are brought to management’s attention can they be resolved. The sooner problems are detected, the less likely they will worsen and result in mishaps or additional damage. If you see something unsafe, report it to a supervisor immediately.
Common Construction Site Injuries
Construction workers in Australia are susceptible to various injuries, some of which are more common than others. The most frequent accidents on construction sites include:
- slips, trips, and falls
- being hit by falling objects
- being crushed or pinned by heavy machinery or equipment
- being electrocuted
- coming into contact with harmful chemicals or substances
These injuries can often be prevented by following safety guidelines and taking proper precautions while working on a construction site. However, even with the best safety measures in place, accidents can still happen. If you get injured while working on a construction site, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
What is PPE?
Every workplace has risks, from falling objects and sharp edges to hazardous chemicals and loud noise.
Injuries to the head, eyes, hands, and feet account for more than a quarter of the approximately two million debilitating injuries that occur to employees annually. Workers must be provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment to keep them safe and aid in preventing these incapacitating injuries. When working on construction or renovation projects, required personnel protection equipment must be worn at all times.
Personal protective equipment, by definition
PPE is clothing and gear used to reduce exposure to dangers that might result in life-threatening illnesses and injuries at work. Here are 10 must-haves to safeguard every worker at the construction site:
These should feature slip-resistant soles to reduce the risk of falls and slips. A steel cap toe is strongly advised to protect against dropping or falling objects, and the sole should also be in good functioning order to reduce the chance of puncture.
Burns, wounds, fractures, and chemical absorption are all possible injuries to the hands. Gloves should be well-fitting and devoid of rips, burns, chemical stains, or other damage that could diminish their protective capabilities.
They are an essential item to safeguard against falling objects, and they also help to protect against electric shock.
Chemical substances, material fragments, smoke, and flying objects can cause eye injuries. Work that poses a danger of eye or face injury, such as cutting, welding, and concreting, should be done while wearing goggles or a face shield.
High visibility clothing
Worn in areas where getting struck by oncoming traffic is a possibility. It may comprise vests, jackets, pants, or jumpsuits and is typically made of bright colors with contrasting reflective embellishments to increase visibility.
Due to the noisy equipment and tools employees must use, aural harm is a severe concern at work. Always check to see if earplugs are clean before inserting them and that they fit evenly. Formable earplugs are advised to best fit in ear canals of all sizes.
Vital when performing jobs that could cause the body to inhale dangerous substances.
A respirator is a safety mask or hood used to breathe clean air.
Fall protection equipment
Includes safety lanyards and harnesses for work at height.
Sunscreen is crucial for protecting against skin cancer on Australian construction sites but is frequently disregarded as PPE.
Employer Roles in Making the Construction Site a Safe Working Place
Selecting an appropriate control measure involves conducting a risk assessment. It is the responsibility of management to adhere to the hierarchy of hazard controls.
Management is in charge of designing tasks safely or redesigning them when a hazard is found.
Therefore, management must be thoroughly aware of the 9 to choose the most suitable risk reduction strategies.
A risk assessment is necessary to rank the hazards and risks to choose the most effective control measure. Assess and prioritize the hazards and risks.
First Aid at the Construction Site
Recognising potential risks and learning to avoid mishaps if you work on a construction site is critical. If someone is injured, a plan must be put in place so that workers and visitors can receive proper medical treatment. Here are some tips for first aid at the construction site:
- If someone is injured, call for help immediately. Do not try to move them unless it is necessary.
- Stop the bleeding by applying pressure to the wound with a clean cloth.
- Elevate the injured person’s legs if possible to reduce swelling.
- If the person is unconscious, check for signs of breathing and pulse. If they are not breathing, start CPR.
- Keep the injured person warm and comfortable until help arrives.
First aid is essential to construction site safety and can mean the difference between life and death.
Who are the First Aiders at the Construction Site?
In Southport QLD and major states in Australia, the first aiders at a construction site are typically the site manager or supervisor, as well as any other employees who have been trained in first aid. The number of first aiders present will depend on the size and complexity of the construction project.
It is vital to have a minimum of two trained first aiders on site at all times in case one is needed to provide aid to an injured person while the other calls for emergency assistance. First aiders are responsible for providing initial care to injured or ill people until more advanced medical help arrives.
First-aiders receive training in basic life support and first-aid procedures, including properly using an automated external defibrillator (AED). AEDs are portable devices that deliver an electric shock to the heart to restore normal rhythm.
If you are working on a construction site, knowing who the first aiders are is crucial to get help quickly in an emergency.
Send your enquiries to CPR First Aid to learn more about CPR and first aid courses in Southport for workplace compliance and staff qualifications.