A busy construction site can present safety hazards for even the most seasoned workers. For someone unfamiliar with the work site the risks are multiplied, and simply ‘showing them the ropes’ isn’t always enough to avoid tragedy.
SafeWork NSW’s state inspector for the construction industry, Tracey Cook, says that by conducting a site safety induction you not only ensure that everyone can do their work safely while maximising site productivity, you also tick regulatory boxes.
“Before any work starts, you should set the rules, have facilities in place and, importantly, establish how health and safety is to be managed at that site,” Ms Cook said.
Here are Tracey’s suggestions for an effective site induction:
- Keep it simple. Explain that everyone must ensure work is done as safely as possible and that each worker should not put themselves or others at risk.
- Cover typical hazards such as working at height, overhead power lines, moving plant, confined work spaces, restricted areas, fire risks and site security. Distribute any safety documents and outline arrangements for supervision and reporting risks and incidents.
- Brief workers about the provision of first aid and emergency procedures and introduce key safety personnel.
- Describe the location and use of workplace facilities and amenities, as well as site access and exit points and any security procedures.
- Discuss the site’s history, current stage, schedule, number of workers and contractors and project completion date.
- Explain how to sign in and out of the site so it is known who is present and everyone can be accounted for in an emergency.
- Describe potential site evacuation scenarios, what the alarm sounds like, how to activate it, exit routes and roll call locations. Workers should know how to use fire fighting equipment but only to tackle small fires.
- Good housekeeping and where to dispose of rubbish is also worthwhile as many construction site incidents are triggered by slip, trip and fall hazards.
- Check that a new worker such as a forklift driver or crane operator has an appropriate high-risk work licence, including a valid expiry date.
- Other topics include safety signage, turning up for work in a fit state and the site drug and alcohol policy, as well as proper use and care of personal protective equipment.
Remember that some workers may require more specific training to undertake a particular task or role safely.