If you are an employer, construction labour, construction project manager, or site manager, it is important to take the right precautions and safeguard your workplace from safety risks. At Origin Institute we've put some ways to keep your construction site safe.
In accordance with WorkSafe Victoria's March 2023 incident report, the construction industry reported 290 incidents and 405 claimed injuries to WorkSafe in March 2023. 60% of those claimed injuries were from small employers. The top-ranked injuries were due to falling from a height predominantly resulting in fractures. Therefore, if you are a construction labour or business, especially a small business owner, you need to implement preventative construction site safety measures.
12 ways to keep your construction site safe
1. Develop and Implement a Site-Specific Safety Plan
Create a comprehensive safety plan that addresses the specific hazards and risks associated with the construction project. This plan should outline safety procedures, responsibilities, and emergency protocols.
2. Conduct Regular Safety Training
Provide thorough safety training to all workers on the construction site. This should cover topics such as hazard identification, safe work practices, proper equipment usage, and emergency response procedures. Keep records of training sessions. An example could be like attending construction induction (white card) training before allowing anyone to work on the construction site. It is also a good idea to allow your workers to attend refresher white card training for every 2-3 years to ensure they always have updated safety knowledge. The employer may also develop their own regular safety training program.
3. Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Enforce the use of appropriate PPE, including hard hats, safety goggles, high-visibility clothing, steel-toed boots, gloves, and respiratory protection as required. Ensure an adequate supply of PPE and regularly inspect and replace damaged equipment.
4. Implement Hazard Identification and Control Measures
Regularly inspect the site to identify potential hazards, and take steps to control and mitigate them. This includes maintaining clear walkways, providing proper signage, guarding exposed edges, and securing loose materials.
5. Establish Fall Protection Systems
Install and use fall protection systems to prevent falls from heights. This may involve guardrails, safety harnesses, safety nets, and proper scaffolding or ladder usage. Regularly inspect fall protection equipment for defects or damage. In accordance with the WorkSafe VIC's March 2023 incident report, the top incident was caused by falling from a height.
6. Ensure Electrical Safety
Comply with electrical safety regulations and standards. Conduct regular inspections of electrical installations and equipment, and train workers on electrical safety practices. Promptly address any electrical hazards or faults. In Victoria, Electricians were the second-top-ranked group in the March 2023's incident report.
7. Promote Fire Safety
Establish and communicate fire safety procedures, including the placement of fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and evacuation routes. Conduct regular fire drills and maintain well-maintained firefighting equipment on-site.
8. Manage Traffic and Vehicles
Develop traffic management plans to control the movement of vehicles and pedestrians on the construction site. Use clear signage, barriers, speed limits, and designated entry/exit points. Regularly review and update the traffic management plan.
9. Store and Handle Materials Safely
Properly store and handle construction materials to prevent accidents and injuries. Ensure heavy items are stacked securely, and use appropriate lifting equipment and techniques to avoid object falling risks. Train workers in safe material handling practices.
10. Maintain Adequate Lighting
Ensure that the construction site has sufficient lighting for safe and clear visibility, both during the day and at night. Illuminate walkways, work areas, and traffic routes to reduce the risk of accidents and hazards.
11. Encourage Open Communication and Reporting
Foster a culture of open communication and encourage workers to report any safety concerns, hazards, or incidents promptly. Establish procedures for reporting and addressing safety issues, and take appropriate corrective actions.
12. First Aid and Emergency Response
Maintain a well-stocked first aid kit on-site and ensure that designated personnel are trained in first aid and CPR. Establish clear protocols for reporting and responding to accidents, injuries, and emergencies.
It's essential to note that these measures are general guidelines, and specific regulations and requirements in Victoria may vary. Always refer to the relevant regulations, codes of practice, and guidelines provided by the authorities in Victoria to ensure compliance and promote a safe construction site.