Content Supplied by Engelbert Strauss
When building your home, the space will turn into somewhat of a construction site. Construction sites have high workplace fatality rates making it a number one priority to ensure safety in all ways possible. The first step toward a safe construction site is to make sure the site is safe and clean to begin with-giving the builders the impression that this is a safe and clean place to work. If you start working on a clean site you are more likely to keep the site clean, and a clean working site means less tools and other things laying around- therefore less safety hazards to worry about.
An easy way to emphasize the need for a safe site is to communicate it precisely, either verbally or in paper-form. This can be done by having safety outline sheets with necessary rules as well as by having morning meetings informing everyone on current safety hazards or concerns for that day.
Provide Protective Equipment and Workwear
Enforcing strict rules in regards to safety equipment and clothing is vital to workers’ personal safety as well as giving the overall image of safety on your site-which again encourages the safe mindset of your workers. Personal protective equipment (PPE) includes high-visibility clothing, safety footwear, helmets, gloves, goggles and safety harnesses. While PPE cannot protect fully from every possible injury or hazardous accident, it reduces the risk of injury.
Protective clothing ensures that the worker is appropriately protected for the task they need to do. Shops such as engelbert strauss offer a wide range in all sizes, materials and weight to match the protection your builders would need-even children can be decked out in the appropriate clothing to be safe on a worksite.
Risk assessments must be carried out regularly during the building process. It is important to make sure that the structure(s) being worked on are in good condition and can carry the necessary weight of the builders and the equipment. All parts of the structure need to be secured enough, and if any part seems to be a safety hazard, it is necessary to communicate this and ensure extra care is taken while working on it. Check for any obstructions or fragile surfaces and keep an eye on weather conditions for the time that your builders are on site; as certain weather conditions can cause safety risks that were non-existent beforehand.
Your builders should all be trained for the necessary work that needs to be done. While you generally will specifically choose builders that are certified and experienced in the jobs that you need them to do, you still need to make sure everyone on site is trained appropriately. Some supplies or vendors offer free training, or if applicable-there can be on the job training as well. If any of your builders are not native English speakers, make sure that all materials are available in their native language so that everything is fully understood.
Be Aware of Surroundings/Have signs
If there are any job site hazards, make sure to have appropriate signs and barricades to keep the workers informed even after communicating these to them verbally. With this comes the need for everyone on site to remain aware of their surroundings. Emphasize the importance of always looking out for possible signs or warnings, as well as keeping an eye on possible further hazards that have not yet been communicated or even noticed yet. While simply being aware might not seem like the most important step to take for safety, ignorant workers can be one of the biggest dangers as their ignorance could put everyone else on site at risk.
Ensure Ladders are Used Safely
In many situations it can be safer to use structured scaffolding platforms to work at height, however if you are using ladders it may be important to remember a few safety precautions. Be careful of the surfaces on which you rest your ladder, as surfaces such as plastic gutters can become problematic and risky. Different ladders have different load capacities, and are made of different materials depending on what they are used for. Getting the right ladder is vital to safety. Inspecting ladders and ensuring proper set up is also important before use, and if tools and materials are to be carried up or down the ladder, it is advised to use a tool belt or to get the materials hauled up separately.
Have a Safety/Emergency Plan
Incase of any emergency situation, it is always advised to have an emergency evacuation plan set up. More importantly though, is that this plan is known to the builders and potentially practiced, so that every worker is aware of their role during such a situation to ensure that everyone can get out of the emergency situation as safely as possible. Ensure that any workers that may working alone or further away from other employees will have a way of alerting someone when they have an accident such as a fall.
If you are still unsure about how to approach your self-build, have a look at the different paths you can take to see what works for you.