Health and Safety Consultancy Services for SMEs in Birmingham, West Midlands and beyond

Public Safety and the Construction Site
Posted by David Cant on April 14, 2014

building under constructionPublic Safety Concerns on Construction Sites

A construction site is normally a very unsafe environment for both the workers and the public around the site because of all the equipment, materials, and activity in the area. Implementation of safety measures should be given the highest priority when you are carrying out a construction to avoid easily preventable accidents. Properly fencing the site ensures that everything meant for the construction remains inside and the public remain safe.

A Case of Bad Fencing Gone Tragic

On 15th May 2012, a 56  year old lady woman was injured by a poorly built fence that collapsed during construction. The woman was knocked unconscious by a section of fencing which was destroyed by a burst of wind as she was passing by the construction site. The accident left the woman with impaired balance, and loss of sense of taste, smell, and hearing on top of being unproductive for seven months.

According to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigations, that section of the fence had collapsed two weeks prior to the incident and it was reconstructed by unqualified construction workers without consultation from an expert. Thomas Vale Construction decided not to use concrete foundations when putting up the fence because it would inconvenience business that was still running in the underground section of the building.
Thomas Vale Construction plc of Worcester Road, Stourport was ordered to pay £10,250 and fined £20,000 for a breach of regulation 28(1) of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007. The company failed to secure the safety of its workers and the public around the site.

Risks that Fencing will Help you Evade

Construction sites pose a major risk to the public if they are not properly safe guarded. With all the heavy activity taking place, it is not strange for things to go wrong every once in a while. The first and most frequent hazard that a fence may prevent is objects that fall from the site. These will range from building debris to bricks from the site. Pits and excavations also pose a threat to the general public, especially children and disabled persons. A good fence will also restrict access to hazardous materials and fixtures during the construction and when the site is unsupervised.

Get most Suitable Fencing for your Construction

Construction fences are generally stronger than regular fences so it is important to talk to professional construction health and safety consultants when putting it up. Different types of fencing will suit different construction types and getting the right information about the nature of your construction environment will be very beneficial to you. Factors like the site’s visitors, kind of construction work, population in the area, location of the building, proximity to other buildings, and existing boundaries, play an important role in determining the nature of fencing you will need for your construction.

A highly populated area will require at least a 2-meter fence around the site to keep the public safe from falling objects. Your fencing panels should be easy to climb and should be built on a firm foundation all through the construction. To ensure that the fencing can withstand the weight anticipated to be loaded on it, the fence should be constructed on a level ground with all the standard fittings like clamps and nuts. The fence should also be inspected regularly to ensure that its able to stay put all through the construction period.

Make Sure everyone is Safe

It would be difficult to always predict when an accident could happen during a construction. Building and maintaining a high quality fence around your construction should be among your highest priorities so that your duty to provide safety and security to the public and your workers is not compromised. You can get professional guidance from highly experienced construction health and safety consultants on 0800 1488 677.


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.

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