The importance of a safe construction site is often emphasized in the media and by construction unions, but many people don’t think about what actually constitutes a safe workplace in construction.
In Europe the construction industry is the second most dangerous industry after fishing with the fatal accident rate at nearly 13 workers per 100,000, against five per 100,000 in the average sector. There are a number of safety measures that can be taken by the individual worker to ensure they are as safe as possible while at work.
- The first measure to take when starting in the construction industry is to ensure you have a good pair of construction boots. Your work boots should be sturdy and comfortable while providing you with protection from damaging materials. If you are a female about to start in the construction industry it’s a good idea to buy women’s work boots as your feet are anatomically different to males and need support in different places. You only have one pair of feet so make sure you take good care of them!
- The second measure is to ensure you are wearing high-visibility clothing. The construction company will usually provide you with the appropriate high-visibility clothing but if they don’t, make sure you get the correct clothes so people can see you. If you are working at night it is also important to include reflectors on your clothes so vehicles and other motorists can see you.
- Hard hats are the third measure to take as an individual to ensure you are protected on a construction site. While measures are usually taken to ensure there are no loose items that may fall, accidents happen and when they do, it’s important to make sure your head is safe.
- Ear, eye and hand protection are also essential to an individual construction worker and is the fourth measure in ensuring individual workplace safety. Construction sites will usually provide you with safety glasses, earplugs and gloves, but it’s a good idea to bring your own – just in case. Ears, eyes and hands are particularly difficult to heal once damaged so it’s vital you keep them safe at work.
While many of the above mentioned measures are often provided by the construction company, it’s important to know what is needed to guarantee your personal safety on a construction site. This is particularly important if you are a contractor and need to provide these safety measures yourself. If you are unsure about the safety requirements of a specific construction site, you can contact the construction company who will be able to provide you with clarification on all safety requirements.
Julie Smith works on behalf of Steel Blue, an Australian company specialising in comfortable safety footwear.