The Importance of Safety Management in Construction
Construction is among the most dangerous sectors to work in, mainly due to how safety is often neglected in such projects, causing more worker deaths due to falls from heights than any other sector. Ladders account for 40% of falls from height, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Safety measures are a necessity on construction sites, and the responsibility falls to managers. They have to know and understand how to manage safety procedures. If managers and directors need to re-familiarise themselves with how to manage safety, they can take an IOSH managing safely refresher course.
While an IOSH Managing Safety certificate does not expire, it is necessary to refresh your knowledge about the area due to a large number of safety precautions that managers and directors need to account for.
What is the Manager’s Role in Construction Safety?
Managers are responsible for placing safety measures or placing competent persons responsible for placing those safety measures.
If the responsible persons do not effectively carry out safety management in construction, it can potentially lead to lawsuits, issues with organisations such as the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and even revocation of licenses.
Types of Accidents in Construction
There is no small number of risks and causes for accidents in construction sectors, especially due to the high fatality and injury rates in construction work. The risks and accidents also depend on the construction project itself.
The types of construction accidents that managers have to protect their workers against are:
- Falls from height
- Falling through fragile roofs
- Ladder and access equipment accidents
- Crane accidents
- Accidents when hoisting equipment or materials
- Slips, trips and falls
- Falling objects
- Getting wedged between objects
- Gas leaks
- Forklift accidents
- Machinery accidents
- Collapsing access equipment or ladders
- Chemical spills
- Defects in safety tools and equipment
- Demolition accidents
In construction work, the workers, the general public, and surrounding property have to be protected against possible damages, injuries, and harm.
Protecting Workers Through Risk Assessment Procedures
Any safety measure first requires that the persons responsible for safety first understand the problem and the causes for it. After that, it is necessary to determine the methods to prevent the problem and the risk altogether, and if not, understand the safety measures that can be taken.
Accidents don’t just happen, there is a process that leads to an accident. A risk assessment is a process that helps recognise the risks in conducting work so that pre-emptive safety and prevention measures can be taken. If the risk cannot be eliminated, the risk has to be controlled.
Managers are responsible for conducting risk assessments. If they cannot do so themselves, they are responsible for appointing competent persons that can conduct those risk assessments effectively.
The Importance of Conducting Risk Assessments
A risk assessment has four steps to follow:
Without knowing the problem, a solution cannot be presented, nor can the source of the issue be identified. This risk assessment step looks at the risk posed by a certain procedure.
The risk identification step is paramount as it determines the next step to take, which is to assess the possibilities of accidents and harm from that risk.
Assessing the Risk
Once a risk is identified, it needs to be examined in terms of how it can lead to accident, damages and injury. Assessing risk requires understanding the work, and should note every possible scenario that could reasonably occur to ensure that proper risk control procedures can be taken.
For example, if a construction worker is working at a height, then the risk could be not just the worker falling, but the work could also pose a risk to surrounding areas, the general public, and others.
Controlling the Risk
Risk control measures are what safety measures are taken to either eliminate or reduce the risk. At times, a risk control measure also means providing an alternative method that is less risky rather than increasing safety measures.
Risk control measures can come in the form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), risk prevention and correction.
Monitoring the Risk Control Measures
This process determines if a risk control measure that is implemented works, or even if it does work, it requires revisions because all conditions may not always be accounted for. This is an always ongoing process that requires constant monitoring for potential improvements, fixes, disciplinary action, and regular reporting.
Even if a risk control measure is placed, it can be neglected by a worker, supervisor, or even a member of the public. Having proper disciplinary measures in place is also part of a risk control measure.
Worker safety is paramount, especially so in the construction industry where the most accidents and injuries occur. As managers are responsible for safety management, they have to conduct risk assessment procedures to ensure that safety measures are taken and regularly monitored for safety.