One thing that slips most peoples minds on site is health and safety. We are all guilty of that ‘it won’t happen to me’ attitude. So, what happens when it does?
There have been big improvements over recent years in reducing the number and rate of injuries to construction workers. Despite this, construction remains a high-risk industry and accounts for a high percentage of fatal and major injuries.
These are the 5 main safety points that self-builders need to be aware during their project.
“A clean and tidy site is a safe site”
Make sure you have an allowance at every couple of phases for a skip. Highlight to all your tradesmen to get rid of any rubbish and leave the site clean and tidy at the end of the day. All sites need to have clean welfare facilities also. Somewhere warm, dry and clean to sit and have a tea break, clean toilets and running water to wash hands.
Falls from height, or falling objects are the biggest cause of fatal and serious injuries on site.
Ensure scaffolding is in place and security netting if required. Be aware in wet weather of slippy surfaces when walking on scaffolding boards. Throw waste down a chute to avoid hitting anyone.
Injuries can also occur from heavy objects not being lifted correctly. Use mechanical means where possible, avoid awkward movements and ask for help where necessary.
Moving machinery is another high risk to workers on site. Best practice is to create a designated walkway for pedestrians and tradesmen. Avoid especially going near any moving machinery when it is reversing or working on a slope.
Ensuring you wear all the relevant PPE on site will ensure your safety. A hard hat and hi-vis will make sure you are seen by operators in moving machinery or using dangerous equipment. Steel toe capped boots and gloves must be worn where required.
This checklist highlights some of the hazards most commonly experienced on a building site. Having a first aid kit on site at all times and noting your closest hospital will also be valuable.
Remember, if a person working under your control and direction is treated as self-employed for tax and national insurance purposes, they may nevertheless be your employee for health and safety purposes. Whether employed or self-employed, you need to take action to protect people under your control.