Safe Access & Egress

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Safe Access / Egress

  • The advice given is to plan for access / egress at the planning stage, not when issues arise!
  • Work areas should be large enough to be safe and healthy and be adequate with regards to stability, ventilation, fresh air, temperature and lighting.
  • Pedestrians and vehicles must be able to circulate safely. Traffic routes, entrances and exits must be kept clear.
  • Floors, walls, ceilings, roofs, doors, gates, loading bays and ramps must be safe. Additionally, there is a need to ensure that debris is kept cleared from work areas, that hazards are clearly identified and marked, that barricades or covers are in place to cover holes etc. and that suitable means of access and egress is assured (e.g. through provision of ramps, stairs etc.).

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Slips, Trips and Falls

Recent data from the Health and Safety Authority has identified the top 5 triggers associated with non-fatal injuries in construction over the past 5 years; these are:

Trigger No. of Injuries
Fall on same level (slip, stumble etc.) 712
Lifting, carrying 560
Fall from height 519
Other (not listed) 366
Pushing, pulling 316
Totals 2,473


As verified by the HSA statistics, slips trips and falls on the same level are relatively common and may result in personal injury. In fact, the Agency has determined that every working day, 7 persons are hurt in workplace slips, trips and falls. The following advice is offered:

Good housekeeping is a proactive means for addressing the risk of slips, trip and falls in the workplace. Adoption of a ‘clean-as-you-go’ approach has proven effective in minimising the associated risks.

Lifting, Carrying

Ergonomics is the term assigned to assessment of physical risks to the human body such as excessive force, awkward posture, and repetition of tasks. The goal is to develop better ways of carrying out work, to ensure that workers do not pose a risk to their musculoskeletal health by acting outside of their physical capabilities (e.g. lifting excessively heavy materials or lifting repeatedly). The Health and Safety Authority recommends a non-exhaustive list of questions to be considered:

  1. What unit loads are to be used in a construction project?
  2. Will the unit loads be installed manually, or will there be mechanical handling equipment or other appropriate engineering interventions used to install the unit loads?
  3. Is there information available on the load weight specifications?
  4. Does the load weight present a physical ergonomic risk if the planned system of work requires manual installation?
  5. Has a risk assessment been completed to assess exposure to ergonomic risk?
  6. Does the planned system of work for installing or assembling unit loads expose workers to a range of ergonomic risk factors including excessive force, sustained awkward postures and lack of recovery time?
  7. Does the preliminary health and safety plan prepared by the Project Supervisor for the Design Process make any reference to ergonomic risks that may result when installing loads?
  8. Is ergonomic risk considered at design stage?

CIF Member-only Content

Recorded Webinar for CIF Construction Safety Week 2022

The CIF has pre-recorded a 20-min. panel discussion with industry experts, specific to the theme of ‘Safe Access and Egress’ for CIF Construction Safety Week 2022. Dermot Carey (CIF) is joined by Tim Dowling (Health and Safety Authority), Sean Mannion (Ward and Burke Construction Ltd.) and Louise Ormsby (John Sisk & Son Ltd.).

A corresponding toolbox talk may be downloaded below:

Toolbox Talk – Safe Access and Egress

14th September 2023 docx (119.63 KB)


Toolbox Talk for Excavations & Trenches

14th September 2023 docx (44.97 KB)

Guide to the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Applications) Regulations 2007

14th September 2023 pdf (852.51 KB)

Toolbox Talk for Winter Readiness

14th September 2023 docx (89.47 KB)

Justin Manly’s Top Tips for Overcoming Adversity and Maintaining Resilience

21st September 2023 pdf (235KB)

HSA Info. Sheet – High visibility clothing for use around moving vehicles

21st September 2023 pdf (467KB)

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