It is not always easy to be a company or a person responsible for a construction project. Indeed, the occupational risks existing in all sectors of activity, that of the construction industry is one of the most prone to work accidents. And to ensure the safety and health of workers and visitors on site, certain rules should be imposed which must not be violated. Why is safety on a construction site so delicate? What are the safety measures or rules to put in place on a construction site to limit the risks? And who are the actors?
Why is the risk high on a construction site?
There are various reasons for the high risk rate on a construction site. Among these, we can mention:
- The large number of workers present simultaneously on the site;
- The nature of the equipment, construction machinery and other machines used: mechanical, electrical, thermal, chemical, corrosive, sound, cutting …
- The difference in level of the land;
- Working at altitude;
- The presence of numerous small metal debris;
- Direct exposure to strong heat or extreme cold …
All of these factors together make a construction site a highly sensitive , high risk environment. And to preserve the physical integrity of site users, appropriate safety measures must be observed .
Safety on a construction site: who is responsible for it ?
The safety of building trades professionals on a construction site is the most important responsibility of the head of the company or the manager (project manager, architect, design office, etc.) in charge of the construction site. Legally, he is the first to be implicated in the event of an accident. For this, he has the obligation to take the appropriate security measures and to ensure their strict compliance. And for this to be effective, he can regularly organize information sessions and staff training, but also produce printed materials illustrating all the safety measures to be observed on the site that must systematically be read by any new person entering on the construction site. This means that he will have to be in a state of permanent watch as to the implementation and compliance with safety rules and standards. On large construction sites, safety measures are so fundamental that an Safety and Environment Engineer is hired for this management.
Safety rules or measures to be established
Among the safety measures to be implemented on a site, we note the wearing or installation of protective equipment.
Personal protective equipment (PPE)
These pieces of equipment are used to personally protect the wearer against dangers as benign as they are irremediable on a construction site. This category includes:
- Helmets : They generally protect the wearer from injuries or shocks caused by falling objects, collisions with objects, projections of caustic material, and even flames.
- Glasses : they protect the eyes from radiation or projections.
- Shoes and boots : to protect the feet against risks of all kinds. They must comply with the standards in force and well maintained.
- Protective clothing : they prevent mechanical aggression (cuts, scratches), chemical (burns by chemical agents) and thermal (cold, heat, fire).
- Gloves : Hands are in high demand on a construction site and are more prone to the risk of puncture, burning, cutting, and tearing. It is therefore important to protect them with gloves, cuffs and other accessories.
- Hearing protection : these are the plugs and shells that protect the ears from noise pollution.
- Masks : these are devices that protect the airways from harmful particles and pathogens.
- Fall arrest devices : ropes, reels, harnesses, carabiners and others protect workers from the risk of falling.
Safety devices on a construction site: collective protection equipment (CPE)
They protect not only people but also construction equipment by isolating them from dangers such as bumps, falls, damage, etc. For this, they must have a higher priority than personal protective equipment. Their functions can be varied:
- Avoid access to a risk area on the site: barriers , cones , traffic signs and others.
- Reducing emissions include hoods, acoustic casings and suction systems.
- Shelter people and equipment: tents, hangars, containers …
- Eliminate the danger: for example, nets, scaffolding and railings.
Other preventive safety measures on a construction site
In addition to wearing or installing personal and collective protective equipment, it is up to the employer to take other preventive safety measures to considerably reduce the risk on the construction site . Among these rules, we can note:
- Educating workers about the risks associated with the profession;
- The cleanliness of the site;
- The renewal of work teams;
- Scheduling the timetable to avoid working in hot or too cold hours;
- The layout of the break rooms;
- Banning the presence of children on the site;
- The fencing facility around the site;
- The establishment of a system of remote communication between workers;
- Monitoring the site through electronic security devices.
Lanier Law Firm’s Construction Worker Safety Guide is an excellent information source for construction sites users to provide them with a safe and healthy work environment.
What to remember about safety on a construction site?
On a construction site, all the protagonists must ensure that they respect the established safety rules. Most of these measures relate to the wearing or installation of protective equipment. In addition, the employer being the first to be implicated in the event of an accident, he must ensure the implementation of additional measures relating to the hygiene, information and health of site users.