Construction sites are busy workplaces often with multiple teams or tradespeople working side by side, so clear health and safety management is essential to ensure working conditions are safe for both workers and the general public.
With moving machinery, temporary structures, professional equipment and multiple site hazards, keeping construction sites protected from unauthorised access and safe for passing members of the public is crucial. Below, we have listed a number of considerations for public safety during your construction project.
Control Site Access
Your first checkpoint is to manage who is allowed to access to your site; how their credentials are verified, and preventing unlawful or unsafe entry, particularly outside of regular working hours.
There are several options to assist with this:
- Concrete barriers blocks
- Fencing perimeter boundaries or Heras fencing
- Clear signage
- Security patrols if needed
1) Concrete barriers are an ideal safety precaution as they provide physical protection for a construction site. These physical, 2.5 tonne concrete blocks ensure that unauthorised vehicles are unable to gain entry to your construction site either during the hours or work when moving machinery may make the area dangerous. They will also prevent access to a construction site out of hours or when the site is unoccupied.
2) Fencing comes in many forms and can be combined with concrete barriers to good effect. Specific fence types can be treated with anti-vandal or anti-climb finishes to help prevent illegal access. They also clearly identify the perimeter and ensure the site remains separated from any throughways or rights of passage that sit adjacent.
3) Signage is vitally important for any boundary control as it clearly identifies that the site is not open to public access and communicates the security provisions in place as a deterrent to criminal activity.
4) Security patrols, either manned guarding only, or with dog patrol teams add a highly effective layer of safety to alert the public to the dangers of the site. They also provide an effective, visual deterrent to potential criminal activity.
Managing Construction Site Hazards
There are many hazards within a construction site that pose a significant risk to members of the public, whether they are accessing the site illegally, or unintentionally. Putting in place robust internal security and health & safety controls can help prevent accidents from occurring.
Hazards, and ways to mitigate risk factors, include:
- Securing objects at height, such as installing netting or toe-boards on scaffolding.
- Ensuring your scaffolding or work sites are located as far away from public rights of way as possible, and clearly marking and safeguarding the perimeter.
- Preventing vehicular access other than authorised members of the workforce, or visitors. Vehicle safety measures are also crucial for vehicles entering and leaving the site, particularly where this crosses pedestrian walkways.
- Storing materials safely to ensure trip hazards are eliminated, and any hazardous materials are locked away when not in use.
- Controlling noise, by working during suitable hours and avoiding simultaneous work projects that produce significant noise levels.
- Blocking off any opening that poses a risk of falling, such as utility holes, stairwells, excavations and open floor edges.
- Securing windows and doors on vacant properties or buildings under construction to prevent unauthorised access – temporary boarding, steel security doors or steel screens are secure options.
- Removing waste materials or construction materials quickly, to avoid the risk of injury, theft, or site damage occurring as a result of criminal activity.
Where construction sites sit close to public areas, having a secure perimeter is the best preventative measure to ensure that construction site activities do not pose a risk. By blending this with site safety precautions, the public remains protected.
Construction Site Safety Checklist
- Does your site have open access via entrances, exits, or areas where perimeters are not in place, and members of the public may gain access?
Install concrete barriers, fencing, clear signage and other security provisions if required, such as CCTV.
- Is there a risk of unauthorised vehicular access to your site, particularly when unstaffed?
Vehicle barriers are required to protect members of the public from accessing your site – concrete barriers or fencing are ideal for preventing vehicles from driving into the area, whether inadvertently or intentionally.
- Does your site have areas of scaffolding, and is there a risk that members of the public will walk close to, or underneath, the structure?
Netting and/or toe holds are required to ensure any falling objects or debris do not pose a risk.
- Is your site vulnerable to criminal activity, intruders, or unintentional site access?
Vehicular access should be blocked to prevent fly-tipping, theft and criminal damage.
CCTV, security patrols, clear signage and fencing can prevent your site from attracting illegal activity.
- Does your site incorporate any buildings or properties where there is a risk of entry through windows or doorways?
Block access to the property, whether under construction or existing site structures, by using boarding up, steel security doors, or steel screens to prevent the risk of entry, and prevent the public from site safety risks.
- Produce waste materials or construction site offcuts?
Make arrangements for regular waste disposal services, particularly where sharp materials or objects must be safely managed.
How can we help?
For support with protecting the public from your construction site hazards, installing robust security precautions such as concrete barriers and providing a range of vacant property security and waste management services, contact the Problock team today.
Our teams are highly qualified, provide professional safety equipment installations, and are on hand to recommend the best solutions to keep your construction site secure and free of public safety hazards.