July 19, 2024

Small Construction Businesses: 4 Ways to Secure Safety for Your Employees on Site

When you run a small construction business, you might not have a system fully set up to ensure the safety of your employees yet. This is something you should establish as soon as you can though. Research shows that construction is the riskiest sector to work in in the UK, so you shouldn’t skimp on precaution-taking.

How can risks be high in small construction projects too?

No matter the size of a building project, risks will always be present. These could be posed by a faulty design or an unusual design that your employees have never worked with before. More time may be needed to work through these issues.

Working to tight deadlines is a common part of construction life, but it can be tricky if it gets out of control. For example, if the design process takes longer than it should or an important delivery is delayed, workers may have less time to actually build. However, rushing a job can be dangerous.

4 Ways to make your construction site safe:

  1. No matter how tempting, don’t skip the risk assessment.

Don’t let your workers tumble head-first into a project without any time taken to establish and mitigate risks. Every project is unique and may come with a slightly different set of risk factors. Begin by identifying what these are, and discussing them with key stakeholders. Then score each risk on a rating scale. Once you have done this, design a plan comprised of ways to mitigate each risk. And finally, monitor the risks continually as the project is underway.

  1. Continuously provide safety training

Any construction company worth its salt will give employees the health and safety training they need to use all the equipment safely.

In addition to this, you can take things a step further and host regular safety meetings with your staff. These could be weekly or daily and would give them a platform to discuss potential risks they are encountering every day.

  1. Issue the right protective clothing

 Issue PPE to your employees free of charge, ensuring that it fits them well and is still in the right condition to be effective. High visibility clothing, protective headgear, eyewear and professional safety footwear is all necessary.

When patrolling the building site, look out for employees who aren’t wearing their PPE and make sure you reiterate its importance. This is also a good way to find out if they have any concerns about their PPE so that you can rectify them.

  1. Be aware of long-term occupational health risks

 Unfortunately, the largest levels of occupational cancer affect construction workers. Despite being banned at the turn of the millennium, asbestos is still the largest killer of construction workers today. This is because work involving older buildings often exposes them to this harmful material. Learn how to spot asbestos and hire an asbestos removal specialist to deal with it. Exposure to silica dust is another risk that can be fatal, so be aware of this too.

There is an endemic of depression among construction workers, often afflicted by high levels of stress, so don’t ignore the signs of poor mental health either. Encourage a culture of openness and introduce initiatives to lighten each individual’s load, such as flexitime.

Health and safety should come first in any industry, particularly construction, where there is so much at stake. Following these five tips, you’ll be well on the way to running a safe, ethical business that people want to work for.