Construction sites are dangerous places to work. Every year, thousands of people are injured at work on construction sites. So, if you work in construction, it's even more important that you put health and safety into everything you do.
Follow these 10 simple construction site safety rules to keep yourself, and others, safe.
When you enter the site, make sure you have the PPE you need. PPE is important, it's your last line of defence should you come into contact with a hazard on site. Hi-viz helps make sure you are seen. Safety boots give you grip and protect your feet. Hard hats are easily replaced, but your skull isn't.
It can't protect you if you don't wear it. Wear your hard hat, safety boots and hi-viz vest as a minimum, along with any additional PPE required for the task being carried out.
Each site has its unique hazards and work operations. No two sites are exactly the same. Make sure you know what is happening so that you can work safely. Inductions are a legal requirement on every construction site you work on.
Your induction is important. It tells you where to sign in, where to go, what to do, and what to avoid. Don’t start work without one.
Construction work is messy. Slips and trips might not seem like a major problem compared to other high-risk work happening on the site, but don't be fooled. According to HSE statistics, slips and trips accounted for 30% of specified major injuries on construction sites (2016/17 – 2018/19).
Remember to keep your work area tidy throughout your shift to reduce the number of slip and trip hazards. Pay particular attention to areas such as access and escape routes.
Actions speak louder than words. Especially on construction sites where one wrong move could put you in harm's way. Set a good example, think safe and act safely on site.
You are responsible for your own behaviour. Construction sites are dangerous places to work. Make sure you remain safety aware throughout your shift.
Follow construction safety signs and procedures. These should be explained to you in your induction (rule number 2). Your employer should ensure a risk assessment is carried out for your activities. Make sure you read and understand it.
Control measures are put in place for your safety. Make sure they are in place and working before you start.
Make sure your work area is safe. Know what is happening around you. Be aware. According to HSE statistics, 14% of fatalities in construction were caused by something collapsing or overturning, and 11% by being struck by a moving vehicle (2014/15-2018/19).
Don’t work at height without suitable guard rails or other fall prevention. Don’t enter unsupported trenches. Make sure you have safe access. Don’t work below crane loads or other dangerous operations.
If you notice a problem, don’t ignore it, report it to your supervisor immediately. Fill out a near-miss report, an incident report, or simply tell your supervisor. Whatever the procedure in place on your site for reporting issues, use it.
Action can only be taken quickly if the management has been made aware of the problem. The sooner problems are resolved the less chance for an accident to occur.
If somethings not working, or doesn't look right, follow rule number 7 and report it. Don't try and force something, or alter something, if you're trained to or supposed to.
Never remove guard rails or scaffold ties. Do not remove machine guards. Do not attempt to fix defective equipment unless you are competent to do so. Do not ever tamper with equipment without authorisation.
One tool does not fit all. Using the correct tool for the job will get it done quicker, and most importantly, safer. Visually check equipment is in good condition and safe to use before you start.
Only use 110v equipment on the site. 240v equipment is strictly prohibited without prior authorisation from management and will only be used if no 110v alternative available and additional safety precautions are taken.
Unsure what to do? Or how to do something safely? Or you think something is wrong? Stop work, and ask. It takes 5 minutes to check, but it might not be so easy to put things right if things go wrong. It's better to be safe than sorry. Mistakes on construction sites can cost lives, don’t let it be yours.
If you need help or further information speak to your supervisor.
Raise awareness with our construction site rules toolbox talk, to use as part of the induction process, as a 5-minute awareness talk, or to display on site.