The importance of construction safety to any construction project, whether it’s residential or commercial, cannot be gainsaid.
Even if it may be an inconvenience, contractors or site managers must accurately identify possible safety risks so as to prepare a safety protocol before any construction work begins.
Commonly known as construction safety plan, the safety protocol is simply a document that is created to inform construction workers, clients and the general public about potential dangers in a site.
The document also helps to educate workers on the ways in which they can minimise the risks to both themselves and their workmates.
To prepare a site safety plan you need to carefully identify all possible risks around the construction site – including the minor ones that most workers often ignore, such as areas where safety gloves must be used.
Once you have identified the risks, define them and then pick out appropriate ways to minimise or combat those risks. For example, if there is an area where workers will be at risk of being hit by falling debris, institute protocol for wearing hard hats.
It is very important for a contractor or site manager to write a safety plan in simple grammar so it can be easily understood by the workers. Remember, the objective of the safety plan document is to get workers informed about safety.
The next step is to educate your workers and anyone who comes to the site about safety procedures. In addition, place clear signs near each possible risk area in order to remind your workers and the general public to adhere to the safety protocol.
These signs should be very brief and visible, preferably containing an image so that they can put across the message in the shortest time possible. They should use cautionary colours such as yellow, orange and red to capture people’s attention.
That said, it is the responsibility of the site manager to ensure that workers adhere to the site rules and regulations at all times. The manager must make it clear that the safety plan is non-negotiable and MUST be followed to the dot. Those who fail to follow the guidelines must be disciplined accordingly to send a strong message to the rest of the team.
In case of changes in the way risks will be managed, the site manager should amend the plan as required, and he should inform all affected workers of the changes.