Construction sites are highly dangerous and often busy places of work, and as well as having a duty of care for the workers on site, you are also responsible for the safety of any visitors. This can be a huge task in itself.
Builders are responsible for protecting all visitors, from material suppliers to home purchasers and their families, whilst they are onsite. This means that there may be people within your care who are less informed on health and safety hazards on construction sites making them more vulnerable than your workers who are onsite every day.
A thorough and regular risk assessment of the site will highlight any dangers and allow you to take appropriate action to remove or reduce these risks; however, there are still steps that you need to take to ensure the safety of site visitors once they arrive.
All visitors must be made aware that they need to report to security/reception upon arrival to ensure that the appropriate person has been informed that there is an additional party on site in case of an emergency such as an evacuation.
This is no different from most workplaces and can be clearly communicated using health and safety signs.
Once the visitor(s) has been signed in, they will need to be provided with the appropriate PPE unless they were previously asked to bring their own. For all construction sites this would include a hi-vis jacket, helmet and safety boots with additional personal protective equipment for some sites including eye protection, dust masks, gloves and ear defenders.
It may be necessary to help fit these items to the wearer if they are unfamiliar with them to ensure that they are being worn correctly and providing the most protection possible.
You should then communicate hazards and potential dangers to the site visitor before they enter and as they walk through the site, pointing out exits and forbidden areas. This is to make them aware of why they are using PPE and any other dangers that they may need to take precautionary measures for such as deep excavations, flammable substances and trip hazards.
Most, if not all, of these dangers would also need to be signposted with a European Normative BS EN ISO 7010 compliant health and safety sign. Any other safety measures will have ideally been put into place such as fencing around deep holes and fire safety equipment installed.
You may choose to put strict guidelines in place to restrict those who can come on site and when, where possible. For example, your health and safety policy can state that no children are allowed on site under any circumstances, visits can only be made by appointment and if PPE is not available then no entry.
These rules will help make managing and controlling site visitor safety a lot easier.
Whilst on site all site visitors should have a host that accompanies them whilst onsite to ensure that they adhere to site rules and routes. Any accidents that occur should be immediately reported to the site host.
There’s no cutting corners when it comes to site safety and with hefty fines, and even prison sentences, being issued to those who don’t put suitable measures in place, you need to do everything you can today to ensure the security of business and safety of those around you.