While health and safety procedures are important within any workplace, following proper protocol is vital within the construction industry.
This is due to the fact that employees are often tasked with handling dangerous equipment or carrying out projects where both their own safety and that of the public could be put at risk. As a result, any business owner who works within the realm of construction must make health and safety their number one priority.
With that in mind, here are some top tips that you can use to improve health and safety within your construction company.
Right now, it’s estimated that workplace accidents cost the UK an estimated £5.6 billion every year - and while some accidents are entirely avoidable, many are the result of insufficient training. As a result, you should ensure that every employee receives thorough health and safety training throughout their time at your company. While onboarding training is a great way to get the ball rolling, you should also ensure that they refresh their knowledge regularly. For example, you could encourage them to participate in health and safety training at least once a year.
While investing in new equipment is a great way to drive your construction business forward, you must ensure that it does not come at the expense of employee safety. As such, you should ensure that employees receive equipment-based training each time a new item is introduced into the workplace.
Install construction site security cameras throughout the workplace, as this enables you to better monitor your current health and safety procedures. Furthermore, should a workplace accident occur, it will help you find and identify the cause so that you can put steps in place to avoid this moving forward. This can also deter crime and theft from your construction sites.
Take some time out of your day to conduct a thorough risk assessment of your construction sites. This will enable you to pick up any health and safety hazards you may have missed previously and ensure that you are taking all of the appropriate security measures. When conducting a risk assessment, the more thorough you can be, the better - so don’t be afraid to write down everything you encounter, even if it seems rather insignificant or ‘obvious’.
Right now, it is a legal requirement to hang up health and safety posters and signage throughout the workplace - particularly in areas where dangerous equipment is in use. Failure to do so could mean that you face fines if the worst does happen. However, you must ensure that you use effective workplace safety posters that include all of the necessary information.
Ensure that employees have easy access to the PPE that is required of them to do their job safely and efficiently. This equipment should be provided to staff when they are appointed into their positions and replaced when necessary.Typically, this will include items such as gloves, hardhats, steel-toed boots and high-visibility clothing. However, this could vary depending on the specific project being carried out or the equipment that is being used. For example, those using heavy machinery should wear noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs to protect their ear health.
Update work equipment on a regular basis, especially if they are showing signs of damage. Even a little wear and tear could lead to disaster if not appropriately managed - so be sure to encourage your employees to inspect their equipment regularly and report any faults to you as soon as possible.
Whenever an accident occurs, it’s perfectly normal to want to pretend it did not happen. However, failure to accept accountability is actually putting your company and employees at risk further down the line, as it promotes avoidance as opposed to resolving the problem at hand. Instead, take the time to conduct a thorough accident report each time something goes wrong, even if you would classify it as a near miss.
Maintaining a tidy and organized workspace or factory is another excellent step you can take towards better workplace safety. This is due to the fact that it removes a lot of safety hazards, such as trip hazards, from the equation. As such, you should make a real effort to keep the space clean and tidy while encouraging your employees to get organized at work.
Keep up to date will all government guidance regarding health and safety in the workplace. While you will likely already be familiar with all of the necessary procedures you should follow, they are updated fairly frequently, and you must ensure that your procedures get updated alongside them.
Put together an easy to read guideline that explores the steps you are taking to keep your employees safe - and ensure that every member of staff has access to this document.You may also want to include this information on your business website or within your business plan. If an independent body carries out a health and safety check on your site - you should have this document to hand so that they can better understand your procedures and plans.
Insurances - for both your overall company and each individual employee - are often the biggest cost that many construction companies must deal with. This, again, is due to the fact that the work is inherently hazardous. However, having the right insurance in place is another way in which you can make the workplace safer for all of those involved.It also provides you with financial guidance and support when things go wrong. While the exact insurance type you will need varies from project to project, a little reading around the topic will let you know exactly what you need.
In short, there are many steps you can take to improve the safety of your construction or factory or site. You simply need to be prepared to take a proactive approach to workplace safety as opposed to letting it drop below your radar.
Furthemore, by tackling safety head-on and making it part of your everyday discussion, you are also encouraging your employees to take the same approach.