Health and safety is paramount to every job site.
Here, Karl Nicholson, owner of K Design & Build, provides a guest blog and explains how he ensures how his team achieve the highest levels at all times
With winter upon us and the weather progressively changing for the worse, the ability to be vigilant in order to maintain the highest levels of health and safety is perhaps more pertinent than ever.
With bad weather comes an increased threat to the health and safety of your jobsite and team, with wind, rain and other adverse weather bringing challenges you don’t experience throughout other times in the year. Anything that is going to cause slippery surfaces or a potential lack of comfort for your or any member of your the team members could spell trouble. When you’re feeling wet or cold, or both, such as your hands or feet feeling numb, it’s quite easy to make mistakes, to drop something or slip.
If the weather is difficult, sometimes you think about other things rather than the job in hand. Falling and slipping are two of the biggest ways people get injured on site, but keeping dry when the weather’s wet or intermittent can be extremely difficult. The risk of being electrocuted, or becoming ill, intensifies.
So, in winter in particular, keeping everything as dry as possible and wearing the right clothing becomes hugely important. You simply have to be on the ball at all times.
When it comes to maintaining the highest levels of health and safety, though, it’s important you get things right before a job starts. The main thing is to conduct a full site induction with all those who will be working on that site, and go through all the necessary safety procedures. These can include knowing where the fire escape is and knowing how to ensure each area has access so that people can get in and out without obstruction.
Even before that point, you need to ensure everyone on the team is competent enough to complete the work. From our point of view, if we’re using contractors, we carry out a great deal of due diligence when it comes to finding out as much as we can about anyone who will be contributing to our work, whether it’s contacting previous clients or team members to get a references for their work. You just have to be confident that your team knows how to do the job safely and that they have the skills to undertake anything of the tasks involved. If not, they can put themselves and others in danger.
Another important element is ensuring you’re up-to-date when it comes to following recent changes in regulation. For example, the HSE passed a series of amended Constructions (Design and Management) regulations in April earlier this year. These were put in place to ensure all those working on site are educated in terms of the risk assessments and method statements to ensure they conduct the work in the safest possible way from start to finish.
This can take into account the client, the site conditions, scaffold requirements and the tools and qualifications needed.
At K Design & Build we have a saying: ‘a clean site is a safe site’. This is drummed into every member of my team and it means we clean as we go. Nothing is left out of place, everything is packed away overnight… we basically take every step at every part of the job to minimise the risk of any kind of accident.
It’s the only way we know!