Using safety signs to protect health and safety on construction sitesPublished: 2020-10-06
Reports from the HSE show that a staggering 79,000 workers suffered from work-related ill-health within the construction industry. Between 2018 and 2019, there were 30 fatal injuries with 49% being related to a fall from height, 14% due to being trapped and 11% due to being struck by a moving vehicle. Construction sites present a whole host of hazards that are unique to their environment. And, for this reason, it is vital that action is taken to minimise the risk of injury.
This blog will look at the ways in which safety signs are used to improve health and safety in these settings.
What regulations control signs and signals on construction sites?
The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 was put in place to cover all workplaces, sites and premises. It is the regulations set out here that govern the need for safety signs on construction sites. Their use should always be in an attempt to reduce the risk of employees and others. The regulations state:
- Signs must be clear and legible
- Signs should be used to identify actions that are prohibited
- Signs should be used to safeguard dangerous activity and actions that must be followed
- Signs should be used to warn of specific hazards
- Signs should be used to direct individuals towards fire exits/equipment or fire-aid equipment
- The number of signs should be controlled so as not to cause confusion
While there are no direct rules regarding the number of or type of safety sign you need to have in place on construction sites, it is vital that information about risks are communicated. This information should be freely available and accessible to all workers. You also have a responsibility to protect the safety of all your employees, and safety signs help you do just that.
Hazards presented on construction sites
The most common hazards and risks presented in these unique settings are:
- Falls from height
- Impact from moving objects (vehicles, machinery etc)
- Slips, trips and falls
- Excessive noise
- Manual handling
- Supportive equipment collapse
In all of these settings, the right safety signs can be used to alert workers of the proper avoidance techniques.
Construction site safety signs
Safety signs work for a number of reasons. Firstly, they have a uniformed design as set out by EN ISO 7010. This improves comprehension and ensures information is clearly shared. Secondly, they act as a consistent reminder without the need for additional manual labour. Signs reinforce specific messages throughout the worker’s day, reminding them of the right actions they should be taken. Thirdly, safety signs are designed to be highly visible and hardwearing. This minimises excessive replacement costs and ensures they can be read, even in low light conditions.
Construction safety signs are no exception. And they help to ensure a site is compliant with current health and safety regulations. Scaffold Signs act as reassurance as to the stability and safety of supportive equipment. Noise Hazard Signs remind workers of the need for protective ear equipment in specified locations. Temporary Traffic & Site Works Signs ensure guests, workers and employees understand where the use of machines or vehicles may present a significant risk. There are also more comprehensive Construction Safety Signs and Multi-Hazard Scaffold Banners that combine information, warnings, direction and first aid information all into one.
No matter your need, there are safety signs designed to suit. If you would like any help sourcing the right sign for a specific location, get in contact with our team here today.