Each year, two or three children alone die after gaining access to construction sites when they shouldn’t have been able to enter them in the first place. Take action today to ensure that your premises are secure.
6 Tips to Help Ensure Safe Construction Sites and Premises
- Walk the perimeter of your site and work out how someone could get in, for example, by jumping over a fence or hedge, or by squeezing through any gaps or holes. Ensure that you have a continuous perimeter fence in place, which marks out a clear boundary from adjoining land. It depends on the type of site but, typically, a perimeter fence for a construction site would need to be 2 metres high, and consist of mesh fence or boarding.
- Put up adequate signage which warns members of the public about the dangers of the site, and informs them they are not to enter or access the site for any reason.
- Remove all keys from workplace vehicles and machinery when the site is closed. Lock away all tools and hazardous substances.
- Prevent any items from falling outside of the site boundary, such as tools or building supplies. Use toe boards and nets on scaffolding to prevent this.
- Remove any ladders and access equipment from plain sight when the site is closed. Secure them somewhere safely so they cannot be moved or stolen.
- Prevent access to excavations and pits by covering them and putting barriers around them.
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Risk assessment forms the basis of good health and safety management in the workplace. Make sure you take the time to ensure that your assessments are effective and that the necessary measures are taken to protect your employees and any others on the premises.
Tips to Consider When Undertaking Risk Assessments:
- When starting to do a risk assessment, first identify the hazards involved in the work. Walk around and look at how anyone could be injured or harmed by machinery, vehicles, the local environmental factors or hazardous substances, for example. Record your findings (unless you have fewer than five employees).
- Identify who and what could be harmed, in terms of employees, contractors, members of the public and visitors. Consider those with special requirements such as young workers and new and expectant mothers.
- Work out the risk in terms of how likely it is that the identified harm will occur. This will help to prioritise the actions needed to be taken to prevent an accident or ill health occurring.
- Determine the actions you need to take to remove or at least reduce the hazards identified. This might include providing safety equipment, installing barriers or changing the system of work, for example.
- Monitor your controls to ensure they are suitable and sufficient, and that they do the job they are intended to do – for example, check that guarding is working properly. Check that all identified actions have been taken, and ensure that the timeline for implementation is adhered to. Review your assessments regularly, and update them as necessary if things should change.
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If you have ever had the pleasure of the HSE visiting you and leaving saying great job, well done!
The Health and Safety Executive or Local Authority can visit and leave an improvement notice or a prohibition notice.
The HSE or LA may issue an improvement notice if they believe you’re breaking health and safety law. This will usually be where the law is being broken in a relatively serious way, or in a way that poses a risk to people.
Health and safety prohibition notices. If inspectors believe that your work activities give rise to a risk of serious personal injury, they may issue you with a prohibition notice. The prohibition notice normally requires you to stop that activity immediately.
Remember to always comply with the requirements of a notice, and ask for clarification on any matters that you are unsure of – otherwise you could find yourself in court and in receipt of a large fine.
Tips to Ensure Compliance with Improvement and Prohibition Notices
- Check that the notice has been served on the correct legal entity – for example you might be a partnership or limited company – to avoid any confusion or future legal complications.
- Remember that any non-compliance will be noted by the HSE. An Inspector may refer to the same issue on any future visit, therefore, it’s important to take the correct action straight away. Failure to comply with a notice often leads to prosecution.
- Do contact the Inspector who issued you the notice if you think you may have difficulty in complying with its requirements. In certain circumstances, they may be able to offer you a time extension. An Inspector will usually ask for proof of action taken – even if they don’t pay a visit – so be sure to keep a written record of what you have done, and any related purchase receipts and service records, for example.
- There is often a schedule attached to the notice – make sure you read this as it will give clear directions on how best to achieve compliance.
- Give clear responsibility for ensuring compliance with the notice to a senior member of staff, to ensure that the necessary personnel and funds can be put forward to enable the necessary action to take place.
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