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Protecting Yourself Against Common Hazards On-site

Rhino Trade Insurance 17 June 2023

Construction sites are fundamentally dangerous places to work. Even if you’re a skilled professional, you must always be on the lookout for hazards and dangers because one wrong step and it could be curtains for your business or career. Tradesmen and women face many hazards in their work, whether that be from falls, accidents involving power tools or large machinery, or exposure to dangerous substances. 

This article will examine common issues that might be encountered on construction sites and offer useful advice and precautions to protect against them.

Common hazards and how to protect against them

Protection against falls

Falls rank among the most common reasons for injuries on building sites. Always put on the proper personal protection equipment (PPE), such as a hard hat, a safety harness, and non-slip shoes to keep yourself safe. When working at height, verify the stability and security of any scaffolding, ladders, or other elevated structures you are using.

Be sure to check your equipment for any flaws, and stay away from heights in wet or windy weather. Finally, an extra precaution can be to use the right barriers, safety nets, and guardrails to reduce the risk of falls.

Electrical Security 

On work sites, electrical shocks and electrocution present a serious risk. When in the process of restoring customer homes or working on a significant project, electrical wires, along with other elements, will be exposed. Making sure all of your electrical systems and equipment are correctly grounded and insulated and following safety regulations to the letter will help keep you safe.

Ensuring that circuits are locked out or de-energised before working on the electrics will prevent unintentional power charging through the systems. Always wear insulated gloves, work with non-conductive devices and check for power lines when working at height. 

Staying safe around machinery 

On building sites, heavy equipment like diggers, excavators and cranes are often used, which may pose significant risks. As a tradesperson, you should never operate equipment without the necessary education and certification. You should also never work around these machines without the right safety precautions and clearance. 

Your first port of call should be to ensure that all machines are well-maintained and have been inspected by the right personnel. When working in close proximity, always wear highly visible clothing and keep your distance from parts that move. When maintaining or repairing machinery, adhere to manufacturer recommendations and use proper lockout/tagout techniques.

Hazardous substances

Chemicals, asbestos, solvents and more are among the hazardous items frequently used on construction sites. 

All trade businesses need to make sure they have the necessary training on safe handling and disposal of hazardous substances. When dealing with hazardous items, always put on the appropriate PPE, such as gloves, a mask, and goggles. 

Observe established procedures for waste handling, storage, and disposal. Report any suspected asbestos to the appropriate authorities, and then look for expert help to remove it.

(PPE) Personal Protective Equipment

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for protecting yourself and employees on building sites. 

Although they aren't the most fashionable of attire, wearing hard hats, safety gloves, glasses, earplugs, and any other equipment that is necessary for the job at hand, along with protective footwear, will help to keep you safe if something were to go wrong. For example, a heavy object dropping on your steel-toe caps or handling slippy materials but using grippy gloves.

When performing tasks in dusty or fume-filled locations, wear respiratory protection to make sure you don't inhale any substances. Finally, you should take time to maintain your stock and regularly check your PPE, replacing any worn-out or damaged items. 

Signage and communications

The risk of accidents, injuries and deaths on-site can be reduced with good communication along with clear signs to make hazards or risks. 

When conducting risk assessments or adhering to health and safety protocols, ensure that warnings about dangers, prohibited areas, or emergency exits are clearly visible with signs.

Likewise, if a crisis unfolds on-site, it's best to create a system for handling the situation so that you and your employees/ coworkers know what to do. 

You can read all about this via our blog post here.

Why choose Rhino Trade Insurance?

It takes continuous attention to detail and commitment to safety procedures to ensure a safe working environment on a building site. Tradesmen and women can greatly lower the risk of accidents and injuries by placing a priority on fall protection, safety from electrics, safeguarding against large machines, handling hazardous materials, proper PPE use, and effective signage.

You can also look to take out a comprehensive trade insurance policy to protect against any claims stemming from the above risks and hazards. Rhino is dedicated to providing elite trade insurance to trade businesses in the UK. If you need premium cover at a price you can afford, we provide plenty of flexible insurance solutions at the click of a button.

If you need any guidance on the correct policy for you, call us at 0116 243 7904 to talk with a friendly Rhino staff member. If you'd like to handle things yourself, you can also use our handy quote calculator on our website

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