Most people will know just how dangerous working in the construction industry is.
Each site is filled with hazards like heavy-duty machinery, loose wires or you could be working at great heights. This is why it comes as no surprise that this industry was responsible for the most workplace deaths in 2021/22 with 30 people sadly passing away.
Keeping workers safe is a priority for construction site managers and that means having health and safety protocols up to scratch. This includes performing a risk assessment before any employees step foot on the site and then completing a pre-project plan. Failure to do this may lead to injury to your staff which could result in fines for your business like the incident that occurred in Cheshire in 2021.
If you want to keep your staff as safe as possible and your company free from fines and controversy, then get started on your pre-project planning today. Not sure how? This comprehensive guide will take you through the basics.
Who’s in charge of what?
No construction mission is without multiple leaders who are responsible for their own tasks. Some of the responsible people in a construction project include:
Defining the project’s overall goals and objectives, including the project’s size, timeline, and budget. This can also include being responsible for hiring and providing a design team, obtaining permits where necessary, and even providing the project’s funding.
With regard to health and safety, it is the client’s responsibility to ensure that safe work is carried out and that required health and safety measures are adhered to.
Working with the client to develop design concepts and ideas to budget requirements and time schedules. It is also important that the designer performs their task to comply with relevant building codes, regulations, and standards.
Responsible for managing health and safety in the planning stages. This person must ensure the site is designed with safety in mind.
Has multiple responsibilities, many of which can be considered to overlap with those of the designer and the client. Predominant responsibilities include planning and managing all aspects of a construction project, including scheduling, budgeting, and resource allocation.
Obtaining any required material and tools for the job as well as acquiring any necessary building permits whilst also ensuring that tasks are carried out in compliance with current building codes and regulations.
Contractors are also tasked with employing subcontractors or specialists in areas such as electrics, carpentry, and plumbing in order to ensure that the project is completed to the highest quality spec.
An essential responsibility also included the supervision of site preparation and safety measures. The contractor is expected to ensure that the construction site is properly prepared for work whilst making sure that necessary risk assessments. This would then be followed by making sure that safety measures are put in place including providing workers with any training requirements and adequate PPE.
Health and safety plans are great for highlighting risks but that doesn’t mean you can eradicate them completely. You’ll also need to plan what measures need to take place on-site when people are working by identifying the most likely risks and what can be done to either protect workers or prevent them altogether.
The most common hazards to prepare for can include:
Falling from a height: One of the most common risks on many work sites. Workers who cannot avoid working from scaffolding, ladders, or rooftops must be equipped with harnesses attached to secure anchor points.
Slips and falls: Especially in conditions that may be wet, and have trailing obstacles such as wires. Therefore, workers should ensure to keep walkways clear and have the right PPE like protective non-slip shoes to reduce the risk of employees slipping
Electrical hazards: Electrical equipment and wiring are often unavoidable hazards in construction. Anything with dangerous voltage levels should be clearly signed and should only be accessed by authorized personnel.
Hazardous materials: Exposure to harmful substances and materials can present serious health risks to workers without the proper personal protective equipment. In any sites where materials such as asbestos, lead, or silica dust are present, workers must be provided with proper respiratory equipment.
While a lot of these risks are often unavoidable, site managers must endeavor to minimize risks as much as possible through thorough risk assessments, implementing safety procedures, and providing employees with appropriate training and protective equipment.
The tendering process
Now you’ll need your materials to get started on the project. In construction, this is known as the tendering process and this is where potential suppliers will submit offers to you so that they can be your sole provider of goods for the construction work. Once you’re happy with a supplier you can accept their offer and get ready for the materials to come in.
Tendering is an essential part of the preparation process as it provides greater transparency between you and your stakeholders. It can also give you more control over your buying options as well as save time due to suppliers coming straight to you instead of you phoning around looking for the best offer.
Such processes must be carried out correctly as if not, there may be risks from both a quality and a financial basis some of which may include:
Incomplete or inaccurate information: Tender documentation may contain incorrect or incomplete information which can cause complications and misinterpretations by prospective bidders, the result which could lead to inaccurate pricing and, consequently, unnecessary under/overspending.
Bid rigging or collusion: Bid rigging or collusion is not an uncommon occurrence during the tendering process and involves the unethical distribution of work amongst bidders via artificially inflated pricing.
If gone unnoticed, the consequences can lead to substantially overspending for lower quality materials, causing risks from both a financial and quality perspective.
Legal Risks: Tendering processes, if not done properly can often present legislative risks if bidders decided to challenge the fairness of the process.
Such actions may result in substantial progress delays, financial expenditures, and even reputational damage to any organizations involved.
Once the details above have been ironed out, you’ll be ready to start the full planning process for the project. Be sure to consult with staff members in the process too to make sure they feel comfortable and safe when they’re on site.