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Construction Site Safety

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 2 Jan 2015 | comments*Discuss
Construction Site Safety Construction

With over 2 million people working in the construction industry in the UK alone and, with over 2,800 people having been killed whilst at work in the industry over the last 25 years, there are always improvements which can be made with regards to health and safety and, despite the fact that many improvements have been introduced during that period and continue to be made, there are so many hazards and risks to consider when working on a construction project that health and safety needs are paramount.

There are numerous pieces of health and safety legislation which construction sites must adhere to and specific legislation relating to the industry itself – those being the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 (CHSW) and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 (CDM).

Carrying Out a Risk Assessment

Risk assessment of a construction site is a pain staking process with so many things to consider and so many pieces of legislation to comply with but here is just a range of some of the more important things to consider, based on some of the areas which have probably contributed to the most injuries and deaths within the industry over the past quarter of a century. The contents of this article, however, are by no means exhaustive and companies and workers who operate within the construction sector need to be aware of the different legislation which applies to them and further information can be obtained from the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) own website.

Falls and Trips

Falls and trips continue to make up the largest proportion of workers who suffer a fatality on a construction site. Falling from height is still a major risk factor which is why concerns such as the safety of scaffolding, walkways, use of ladders and mobile lifting platforms etc is still of such importance. Areas which have been excavated, untidy sites where building materials have been left out where people can trip over them and the removal of waste have all contributed to slips and trips which can result in serious injury and, in some cases, far worse.

Adequate Training

There is so much plant and machinery contained within a construction site that all operators of this type of equipment should be fully trained and competent in using the various equipment and that also goes for those who operate vehicles both on and off site and those who use mechanical diggers, cranes and any fork lift trucks etc.

Fire Risks

Fire risks are always a concern on construction sites and there should be a proper provision for fire prevention, what to do in the event of a fire and any storage and use of hazardous or flammable materials must also be taken into consideration.

Electrically Operated Equipment

Electrically operated equipment is always heavily used on construction sites and, given that the nature of the work often exposes this type of equipment to the elements of the weather, all proper precautions need to be taken with regards to this as well as ensuring that the supply voltage is as low as possible and that residual current devices (RCDs) are checked daily and are in full working order.


Noise can be excessive with all the various machinery in operation but site managers can often reduce this by sequencing the order of machinery operations to minimise the number of workers exposed to noise simultaneously and, of course, proper ear defenders in the form of ear muffs or plugs should be worn.

The list of potential dangers on a construction site is almost endless. Other areas which need to be risk assessed and have proper provisions put in place are likely to include checking for asbestos and checking for any locations of underground cables so that any digging is safe. Making sure that proper safety procedures are in place when undertaking roof work is also a must, there will be many more and it’s crucial that site managers and safety officers ensure that no health and safety issue has been overlooked before any work commences and this also needs to incorporate contractors who may also be working on the site.

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@Chalkie - you could either complain directly to the client, as they are are liable to ensure such protective measures. You could mention it to building control. Or if you would like to take it further then you can take it to the NHBC for advice as it is the is the UK's leading standard-setting body and provider of warranty and insurance for new homes. Link here. Whatever you do it is wise that you make sure this is addressed as it could be extremely dangerous. I hope this helps.
WorkplaceSafetyAdvice - 7-Jan-15 @ 2:25 PM
i worked for a sub-contracter painter on new build flats.He was supposed to supply us with fire resistant paint to coat the exterior steelwork but instead used a cheap undercoat thinned with turps.We were instructed not to tell anyone what we were doing and he even supplied us with empty tins of the fire retardant paint and told us to fill it with the cheap undercoat.there ae 5 blocks of flats that have been built and none of them has any of the stipulated fire retardant paint on the steelwork.To whom do ireport this serious matter to as I now realise that lives could be at risk.
chalkie - 2-Jan-15 @ 12:58 AM
Please send me the latest safety guides to help with my plastering and rendering company. Thank you!
Kimberley Plastering - 26-Jul-14 @ 10:46 AM
I am a safety advisor in construction company. Can you send safety notes & news through mail. Regards
ali - 10-Jan-14 @ 4:01 AM
Please kindly update me with Health,safety and Environment on a construction site. Am a First aider and a safety officer in a construction company.Regards
Safety - 7-Feb-13 @ 7:19 AM
Forward me safety notes update
Romy - 5-Dec-12 @ 5:32 PM
I am a health & safety officer & would like to keep abreast with latest safety guides through seminars,workshops,magazines & journals.Please kindly guide me.Regards
safety - 24-Jul-12 @ 7:54 AM
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