Construction Safety Week

Day 1 – Work at Height – Don’t let a fall shatter your life

Since 2009, 30 number of people have lost their lives in the construction industry as a result of falls from height.

In 2015 alone, 5 people lost their lives in this manner.

In this industry, falls are the biggest reason for fatal and serious accidents and therefore we should learn from this experience that any work at height needs careful management

Here are some key Messages

Before working at height you must first assess the risks and follow these simple steps:

• avoid work at height where it is reasonably practicable to do so
• where work at height cannot be easily avoided, prevent falls using either an existing place of work that is already safe or the right type of equipment
• minimise the distance and consequences of a fall, by using the right type of equipment where the risk cannot be eliminated

You should:

• do as much work as possible from the ground
• ensure workers can get safely to and from where they work at height
• ensure equipment is suitable, stable and strong enough for the job, maintained and checked regularly
• not overload or overreach when working at height
• take precautions when working on or near fragile surfaces
• provide protection from falling objects
• consider emergency evacuation and rescue procedures

Day 2 – Plant & Equipment Safety

After falls, the most common reason for fatal or serious accidents in the construction industry are incidents with mobile plant and equipment.

Common to the use of all mobile plant and vehicles is the need to segregate vehicles from pedestrians, train staff to use the machines competently; and make sure that the machines are regularly inspected, serviced and maintained.

Excavators – Consider: exclusion, clearance, visibility, and the need for a signaller

Telescopic handlers – Consider: visibility (forward and rear), loading, ground conditions and speed

Mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) – Consider confined overhead working, ground conditions, outriggers, guardrails, arresting falls, falling objects, weather, handling materials and nearby hazards

Dumper trucks – Consider overturning and collision.

Day 3 – Occupational Health (Dust)-Control Your Cloud

Crystalline silica is widely found in nature. Occupational exposure to crystalline silica dust occurs in many industries including: quarrying, mining, mineral processing (e.g. drying, grinding, bagging and handling) slate working, stone crushing and dressing, foundry work, brick and tile making, some refractory processes, construction and demolition work, including work with stone, concrete, brick and some insulation boards, tunnelling, building restoration, pottery and ceramic industries.

Basically, where concrete, stone or sand-based materials are used, there is a potential for exposure to crystalline silica dust.

Key Messages:

Inhalation is the primary route of exposure to crystalline silica dust. For any kind of dust, there are different particle sizes. When dust is inhaled, its point of deposition within the respiratory system is very much dependent upon the range of particle sizes present in the dust. It is the respirable (smallest particle size) fraction of crystalline silica dust which is of critical concern for its health effects, since these can penetrate deep into the lung.

Inhalation of fine dust containing crystalline silica can cause lung damage (silicosis), which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. Silicosis is irreversible and treatment options are limited. Workers may develop any of three types of silicosis, depending on the concentration of airborne silica:

• Chronic silicosis, which usually occurs after ten or more years of exposure to crystalline silica at relatively low concentrations.

• Accelerated silicosis, which results from exposure to high concentrations of crystalline silica and develops five to ten years after the initial exposure.

• Acute silicosis, which occurs where exposure concentrations are the highest and can cause symptoms to develop within a few weeks to four or five years after the initial exposure.


Recommended Control Measures

• Seek to substitute the silica-containing material with a suitable alternative if possible.

• Use safe systems of work such as wet methods for dust removal/suppression.

• Engineering controls such as Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) or containment measures should be used where appropriate.

• Wear suitable PPE such as coveralls and appropriate gloves.

• Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) should either be an FFP3 disposable respirator or a P3 particulate filter fitted to a half or full face mask to provide effective protection and be CE marked. All RPE should fit the employee correctly.

• Any RPE worn should be properly fit tested.

Key Points

Always assume that exposure is likely to occur and protect according to the level of risk identified from risk assessment. Prepare written risk assessments (required by law) highlighting the key hazards, risks and controls in place. Use safe systems of work to reduce exposure based on the risk assessment. Use dust suppression techniques during work. Use of engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation to control exposure can be very effective. Use and store personal protective equipment according to instructions to reduce exposure.

Day 4- Mind Our Workers-Spot the Signs

Day 5- Driving For Work