It’s all very well saying you’re committed to site safety. You might also have all the procedures in place. But the information still needs to reach the people who need it.
In a nutshell:
- Communicating the right information is the first step towards safer construction sites
- Inductions should cover risk assessment and standard operating procedures, as well as site-specific basics such as fire escapes and first-aid points
- Many main contractors require site workers to complete an online annual induction
- It’s mandatory for sub-contractors to set aside time each week to talk to workers on safety topics
So, what needs to happen? Here are the essentials.
Before anyone starts working for you, they should be made aware of all company-level risk assessments, method statements, standard operating procedures... everything they need to do their job safely.
Not surprisingly, this needs to take place on site before every job begins. It should include information about fire escapes, first aid points (and first aiders) and basics such as location of toilets and canteen facilities.
Many main contractors require site workers to complete an annual induction. These involve online modules and multiple-choice questions covering topics such as first aid, incident reporting, control of waste, safe operation of tools and equipment, working at height and mandatory health & safety. Not only do these detailed inductions reinforce a safety culture, they also clear the way for shorter, more focused inductions when attending a new site for the first time.
In a connected world of websites and apps, don’t forget the humble noticeboard. It’s the best place to display information for everyone to see.
It’s now mandatory for sub-contractors to set aside 10 or 15 minutes each week to talk to colleagues and team members about safety topics, such as working at height, ‘slips, trips and falls’, and winter driving. These ‘toolbox talks’ are often developed by main contractors and shared with sub-contractors to deliver.
Risk assessments and method statements (RAMS)
RAMS relate to how a specific task should be completed safely. Every façade project will have a RAMS assessment as part of the delivery programme. There should be a full briefing session before starting work on site, plus daily briefings about tasks to be completed that day.
Standard operating procedures (SOP)
SOPs deal with the safe operation of machinery, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). More important, of course, is to check that the operator has the right qualifications and has completed the appropriate competencies.