White Card Online News Update: Basic Construction Site Safety Tips

Work on a construction is dangerous, with a variety of different trades people working simultaneously at any given time, coordination of tasks and construction site safety is crucial to maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for workers.   

While construction is a rewarding industry, it requires attention to safety In order to maintain the health and safety of the workers on site.

A prioritisation of safety begins with identifying the risks and developing a strategy In which to deal with these risks, by either substituting them with a less dangerous activities or minimising the risk using control measures.

On a construction site there are some dangers that are more prevalent than others and are common to most construction sites, be it residential or commercial sites.

Investigate potential hazards of the construction site before proceeding with your work. These include unstable grounds, power lines and hazardous materials. These are hazards that are unique to the site and vary from site to site.

Some sites may present a hazard of asbestos contamination while another may have unstable ground. These hazards need to be addressed before work can commence on the site and a plan needs to be developed and made available to all workers.

Evaluate the tools and equipment on a regular basis and evaluate their possible hazards, preferably before each day of construction work. Be sure electric tools and cords are stable with no sparks when plugged in and liquids are clear from any power lines as electrocution is a common occurrence on construction sites. Do not use a tool or equipment that feels unsafe or does not seem to be working properly. If tools or equipment are not working properly it should be reported immediately. One of the areas for concern on construction sites is working with tools and equipment. While they may be indispensable on a construction site, equipment and tools can pose a huge threat to the safety of workers if they are not utilised correctly. That is why proper training is necessary as well as adequate supervision for workers using dangerous equipment.  All tools, machinery and equipment must be checked before use and regularly maintained. If tools are kept in good working order they pose less of a threat to workers as they would if they were to malfunction.

Personal Protective Equipment is clothing or equipment designed to control risks to health and safety in the workplace. Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) while at a construction site whether you are working or overseeing the work. This includes hard hats, safety glasses, dust masks, gloves and the proper clothing like thick-soled construction boots. Protect your ears around loud power equipment with earplugs. For night work or where there is poor visibility illuminous vests or protective equipment should be worn. As an employee in the construction industry you have a legal obligation to adhere to your employer’s health and safety requirements, including use of PPE if instructed by your employer. Refusal to cooperate with these safety policies can result in disciplinary action or prosecution. Employers have a responsibility to pay for and provide PPE and employees must utilise it as required.

Beware of the dangers of working in the sun or extreme heat. Avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion by drinking plenty of water during the day and wearing a hat to protect your face from the sun. If you begin to feel faint or dizzy while working in hot weather, take a break in a shaded area and drink plenty of water until you are beginning to feel better. The risk involved with working in hot environments intensifies when high temperatures, high humidity and low air movement combine. Places with bad ventilation or confined areas are particularly susceptible to this. On construction sites work processes and equipment can generate even more heat which can be dangerous for its operator or other workers.

Most importantly ensure that ALL workers are adequately trained. Both site specific and general construction induction training is required for every worker. The good news is that workers can now obtain their general construction site training (White Card) online, which makes it both easy and convenient. It can be done from the privacy of your home or office and is valid nationally. This is a pre requisite to entrance as a worker on any construction site in Oz.

Posted by Steven Asnicar