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News & Press: Health & Safety

General Safe Guarding of Construction Sites

Thursday, 07 September 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ernest Roper
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Construction Regulation 27 - "construction sites in built areas, adjacent to a public way, are suitably and sufficiently fenced off and provided with controlled access points to prevent the entry of unauthorized persons".

As you can see from the above extract taken from the Construction Regulations, the Principle Contractor is required to conduct his business without putting members of the public at risk. This also extends to other workers who may be affected by it.

The client should provide information about the boundaries, adjacent land usage, access and measures to exclude unauthorized persons in the H&S Specification (Environmental) and on site plans/surveys.  This will influence the measures contractors take. All this information must also be made available to the sub-contractors that will be part of the project.

The Key Issues are:

Managing site Access

Construction sites must manage access through defined boundaries and ensure steps are in place to include unauthorized people from entering the site. While injuries concerning members of the public have reduced over years, there are still cases where children or members of the public have gained access and sustained serious injuries.

Determining the boundary is an important aspect of managing public risk. The contractor must

  • Plan what form the perimeter will take
  • Provide the fencing
  • Maintain the fencing

The Contractor must also ask himself these questions

  • What is the nature and type of the construction work?
  • How heavily populated is the area? (near schools/shopping centers)
  • Who will need to visit the site during work hours?
  • Will the site attract children?
  • What are the site characteristics? ( existing site boundaries, location, proximity to other buildings)

Hazards causing risk to the public

Members of the public can be injured by materials or tools falling outside the site boundary, falling into excavations or struck by moving plant and vehicles. Consideration must be given to these hazards on the project and the contractor must decide how they will manage them.

Vulnerable groups

Vulnerable groups refer to the elderly, children and people with certain disabilities. Work in premises such as schools and hospitals need careful thought and planning.

Some children are drawn to construction sites as exciting places to play. The following specific steps are particularly relevant to child safety:

  • Secure sites adequately when finishing work for the day
  • Barrier off or cover over excavations and pits
  • Isolate and immobilize vehicles and plant and if possible lock them in a compound
  • Store building materials (pipes, manhole rings, cement bags) so that they cannot topple or roll over
  • Remove access ladders from excavations and scaffolds
  • Lock away hazardous substances.

For a comprehensive look at thorough House Keeping and Site Safe Guarding, watch the Safe Build DVD, topic 3 and 5.

Elishya Abbu

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