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Safety tips for those working on construction sites

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Construction work is widely considered to be a high-risk occupation. Here are two ways that those with this type of job can stay safe whilst they perform tasks on a building site.

Take precautions to avoid falls from scaffolding

Falls from scaffolding account for a significant number of injuries within the construction industry each year. These falls are often the result of the scaffolding structure itself collapsing, but can also be caused by construction workers tripping over debris on the platform and falling out.

The first step towards ensuring the safety of all those who use scaffolding is to perform a pre-inspection of the structure at the start of each work day. The person tasked with this responsibility should begin their inspection by checking the foundation of the scaffolding for signs of dislodged base plates and newly-developed cavities in the ground underneath the structure. Should they find that the base plates have moved, these should be adjusted before the scaffolding is used. If holes are discovered in the ground, these may need to be filled in with concrete to create a stable foundation for the structure.

The inspection should also include an examination of scaffolding platforms for signs that they are about to collapse; buckling of the platform itself or missing bracing are the two main indicators that the structure is unstable. If either of these signs is spotted, the platforms should not be used until the problem has been addressed.

In addition to performing a pre-inspection, construction workers should also take precautions whilst they are standing on the scaffolding. These include keeping the platforms tidy and free from power tools, rope or other clutter which could potentially cause them to lose their balance and fall over, and wearing fall protection gear (such as a safety harness) to prevent any falls from causing severe injuries.

Practice electrical safety

Construction work often involves the installation or rewiring of electrical systems and the use of high voltage power tools. As such, labourers working on building sites may be at risk of electrocution if the proper safety measures are not put in place.

First and foremost, it is vital to ensure that only qualified individuals who have the experience and the training required to provide electrical services are allowed to rewire or install electrical systems on a building site. Untrained construction workers who attempt such tasks are far more likely to make an error that could have fatal consequences.

Secondly, those performing any type of electrical work should take appropriate precautions to reduce their chances of being electrocuted. These include using fibreglass ladders rather than standard aluminium ones (aluminium is a much better conductor of electricity and will therefore drastically increase a person's risk of being electrocuted) and wearing appropriate safety gear (such as rubber boots and gloves to minimise the intensity of any electrical shock the wearer sustains).

Last but not least, any construction work which is likely to cause damage to any electrical systems (for example, if plumbing work is being carried out on a building) should only be done after the system has been switched off.