How to prevent accident on construction sites

How to prevent accidents on building sites

Ten top tips to keep you and your workers safe.

Working on a building site can be a risky business, but there are plenty of ways to limit physical and financial damage - from having the right safety measures to taking out insurance.

Between 2012 and 2017, the most common construction accidents recorded1 were:

Slips, trips or falls on the same level 100,392
Injuries while handling, lifting or carrying 84,734
Being struck by moving objects 36,144
Falling from a height 25,813
Acts of violence 23,410

This includes 196 fatal accidents, and almost half of these were caused by workers falling from a height.

Personal accidents at work could cost more than you think

The construction industry lost 392,000 work days between 2014 and 2017 due to illness and injury. Injuries can hit your finances hard, through being unable to work yourself or because your crew is short staffed. But that's not all. There's potential damage to your reputation too, and the risk of being sued or fined for negligence.

Our top 10 tips to prevent accidents

Take a quick look through our checklist and see if there's more you could be doing:

1. Fall from heights

Accidents of this type could be fatal, so to stay safe:

  • Make sure scaffolding, platforms and ladders are installed properly, able to hold the intended weight, and inspected regularly after construction
  • Install physical barriers, like guardrails or toeboards
  • Signpost unguarded floors
  • Wear a safety harness if you're working near an unguarded floor

2. Slips, trips and falls

Keep walkways clear and make sure it's easy to see where you're going:

  • Put warning signs on any wet or uneven surface
  • Clean up spills and move debris immediately
  • Install good lighting
  • Wear well-fitting, non-skid footwear

3. Handling, lifting and carrying

A slipped disc could cost you months off work, so make sure you:

  • Use lifting aids, such as a pallet truck, trolley, forklift, hoist, conveyor or crane, to help carry heavy loads
  • Store heavy materials at waist height so people don't need to bend, stoop or stretch to reach them
  • Train workers to lift manually and use lifting equipment safely
  • Keep materials dry to stop the extra weight from rain

4. Flying or falling objects

Take particular care if you're working under cranes or scaffolds:

  • Wear the right equipment, such as eye protection and hardhats
  • Create exclusion zones when moving large objects
  • Properly secure items
  • Use debris nets to catch smaller pieces as they fall

5. Moving vehicles

Do all you can to make people and vehicles more visible:

  • Avoid backing up wherever possible and use reverse alarms
  • Signpost high traffic areas
  • Issue high-vis clothing to all workers
  • Drive cautiously, go slowly and use a spotter if needed

You can also help create a safer working environment if you:

1. Hold regular safety meetings

Hazards change. Daily meetings keep everyone up to date and aware of new safety issues and regulations.

2. Provide suitable safety gear

Use high-visibility or reflective clothing, eye protection, hard hats, ear plugs, masks, protective boots, harnesses and/or industrial-grade gloves as needed. They could save your life.

3. Maintain equipment and tools

Broken parts can cause serious injury; inspect machinery regularly and check tools and safety equipment for damage before you use them.

4. Make a safety plan

Carry out a risk assessment before any project starts, and have a clear plan of action in the event of accidents or fire.

5. Offer safety training

Make sure all workers know the hazards of each job and how to protect themselves and those around them. Provide regular training so your people know how to use equipment and machinery.

Make sure you're covered

Even with strict safety measures in place, things can still happen that are outside your control. An accident could result in an expensive claim against your business, so it's important to have insurance in place to safeguard your finances. You can learn more about our insurance for tradespeople here.

For more information on the types of hazards to watch out for on building sites, click here.

Public Liability Insurance

Added: 19 Jun 2019