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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

A Beginners Guide to Construction Site Safety

Written by Posted On Sunday, 25 August 2019 08:00

Undertaking home renovation projects are a great way to freshen up your home, make it work better for your lifestyle and add value to your property. Combining the possibilities of these types of projects with the potential complexities they present can mean we often get caught up in a whirlwind of emotions.

With many homeowners choosing to manage their home renovation projects themselves, this can lead to a few crucial aspects being neglected or ignored in favour of the more immediately obvious, exciting and easier to deal with issues.

For example, the overall design, functionality, cost and timeframe of home renovations will often take precedence over less attractive aspects such as safety and sustainability. This is understandable, but can also lead to some serious issues occurring during the project lifespan.

Construction site safety is often overlooked on smaller, owner-managed projects as it is seen as something that only commercial building sites need to deal with. Of course, this is not the case, as any threat to human life and wellbeing, however small, should be taken very seriously.

In this guide, we cover the basics of construction site safety with reference to small building projects and home renovations.

Does safety really matter?

The short answer is yes.

Construction sites are dangerous by their very nature. Until work is complete, structures are often not fully stable and other hazards are usually present. This offers a threat to any individual who visits the site. Whether you are working with friends and family or decide to hire a professional building team, the safety of everyone on site is your responsibility.

Protecting all those that find themselves on your construction site is not just important from an ethical standpoint. The potential for individuals to get injured can also have a seriously negative impact on the project as a whole. For example, if an individual was to get injured on site this will likely increase the time it takes to finish the project, incur additional labour costs and may even lead to unforeseen legal issues.

Considering construction site safety can seem a hassle. However, by taking the time to plan and remedy all potential issues, you can actually save yourself a substantial amount of time and money in the long run.

Smart project management

Construction site safety should be built into every you do as a project manager. It is your responsibility to keep the site safe, both to ensure site visitors and workers are protected and to limit any negative impacts on the project as a whole.

By developing a comprehensive project plan, a project manager will highlight each stage of the renovation in detail. This provides an opportunity to take a holistic view of the project from a safety perspective. By considering each stage and what dangers and risks each of those may hold, you can get a much better idea of the safety measures required.

Before you begin

Picking your project team is a big part of any construction project. For home renovators, this may be made up of friends, family and professional builders. Each of these individuals should be picked not just due to their skills, but considerations for safety should also be taken at this stage.

For example, when picking family and friends ask them if they have experience on a building site and if they are aware of the dangers. When it comes to choosing builders, assess their qualifications and certifications to ensure that they are suitably experienced to undertake more technical and potentially dangers tasks such as working on electrics.

Before you begin a construction project you will also need to make sure that the site is clear and ready for use. This may include having any unneeded junk removed ahead of time or moving your possessions into suitable storage.

Site security

For project managers who consider construction site safety during the planning stage, the execution stage should be a relatively smooth process.

Expert planning will ensure that you consider the majority of issues ahead of time. However, we can never predict exactly what may go wrong during a project as any number of unforeseen circumstances may occur.

In these cases, it is possible to plan for the unplanned. For example, project managers can have a set process to follow when new issues occur. By holding some temporary mesh fencing nearby, you can quickly and safely cordon off any potentially unsafe areas.

This fencing can also be used throughout the site to secure access. This will act as a great deterrent for any individuals who may consider entering the site for dubious reasons.

This beginners guide to construction site safety outlines the fundamentals of keeping any project safe and secure. Safety should be considered at every stage of a project and by building it into a project plan you will save potentially costly issues further down the line.

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