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Today marks the start of Construction Safety Week.
All around the country, hundreds of construction companies and employees are participating in safety initiatives. As today is the start of a weeklong stream of activities, we’ve asked all sites to ‘stand down for safety’ for 1 minute at noon.
Some companies will bring their staff together for the minute. Others may choose to mark the minute individually or at a different time during the day. The important thing is that everybody stops for a minute to think about safety and what they’re doing.
Stopping to think about safety every day, before every new task, is so critical to all employees from those newly entering into the industry to long-term construction workers. New entrants need to be extra careful and supported by their colleagues to think safety every minute of every day. Whilst for established construction workers, complacency can be a killer and short-cuts can lead to long-term injuries. So the message is again to all in the industry ‘Think Safety’.
Today’s theme is ‘safety at heights’
The HSA shows that falling from heights is consistently the largest cause of fatality and serious injury on construction sites. Even falls from relatively low levels can have disastrous results.
Here’s a few tips to consider for safety at height.
- Work at ground level where possible: Do the majority of work on the ground before you have to work at height.
- Beware of short jobs at height: Short jobs where you’re rushing are most likely to result in an accident. Take a minute and plan it out.
- Provide, collective, passive protection: e.g. handrails that requires no input from workers; everyone is protected.
- If using a Mobile Elevating platform: make sure you are trained to do so
- Ensure all scaffolding / platforms are erected by competent people: has the erector got the appropriate training
- Don’t over load platforms: if you must load scaffolds, make sure you have a loading bay
- Rain check: Are the weather conditions safe for working at height?
- When using PPE such as a harness:
- Make sure you are trained
- Make sure you are properly tied off
- Make sure you can be rescued if you fall
Remember: from 2011 to 2016, 25 people lost their lives on Irish construction sites as a result of falls. Let’s eliminate falls on site.
More information on safe work at height is available on http://www.hsa.ie/eng/Topics/Work_at_Height/