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Written by
on 18 December 2017

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Construction site safety for a safer Christmas break

old and worn hard hatsMany sites shutdown between Christmas and New Year – here’s your checklist for increasing construction site safety over that period.

The gap between Christmas and New Year is the perfect time to shut down a construction site, allowing workers a well-earned break with their family. Poor weather and difficulty arranging deliveries and collections also reduce productivity – so it makes sense not to open a site unless absolutely necessary.

Your site manager needs to carry out some final checks before closing the site for more than a day or two, however. Here are three things you need to before Christmas Eve.

Ensure fences are secure and gates lock correctly

Kids find building sites irresistible – and the fact that there is no one around for a few days means there is even less chance of being caught if they do trespass. It is absolutely essential then that your team carefully checks security fencing, gates and locks, looking for holes or weaknesses that could be used to gain unauthorised access.

You must do everything you can to make it as hard as possible to access your site. Perform your checks now and there is still time to carry out repairs or fit replacement locks before the site is closed.

Secure heavy machinery

Last December, two teenage youths gained access to a site in Elgin and went on a rampage in a stolen digger. The youths gouged holes in the ground, before attempting to smash the cab off another digger. The total cost of the damage was estimated at £40,000.

To prevent a similar incident on your site, ensure that all heavy machinery is fully secured. Ensure ignition keys are stored off site, and any anti-vandalism measures, like metal gages, are fully engaged and secured. If you cannot be sure equipment is safe from access, consider returning it the hire company for storage during the shutdown.

Equip and train staff

Some sites cannot be left completely unmanned, so you must make provisions for employees working during the shutdown. In early December 2014, a security guard asphyxiated after the site generator failed. The man started a small fire in his office to stay warm but was later suffocated by a lethal build-up of carbon monoxide.

Any employee left on site needs to be fully trained to avoid these kinds of accidents – you cannot assume that their common sense will protect them. You should also ensure that site workers have a 24-hour contact to assist in an emergency.

Get help. Today.

The run-up to Christmas is hectic for everyone, and you may feel you simply don’t have time to carry out the checks listed above. But can you really afford a major incident on one of your unattended sites – or the death of one of your employees.

If you really cannot set aside enough time to carry out a health and safety review, give Veritas Consulting a call and see how we may be able to help.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.