Reducing the risks

It goes without saying that staff on site should be highly visible, wear effective personal protective equipment and be made aware of the dangers present. But there is more to a safe site:

  • Avoid sharp or blind bends and set sensible and clearly signposted speed limits.
  • Prominent warning of height restrictions. Potentially dangerous obstruction, such as overhead cables, needs to be protected.
  • Safety banks may be needed to prevent vehicles running over open edges, or to indicate a safe route; and they should be high and wide enough to stop a vehicle.
  • Reversing should be minimized and tightly controlled, either by signalers or by using reversing alarms, radar, mirrors or closed circuit television cameras sited on the rear of the vehicles.
  • Pedestrian walkways should be protected by screens where they pass close to vehicle routes to protect people from anything that might fall from a vehicle.
  • Road quality should be suitable for vehicles intending to use them; they should be firm, even, properly drained and steep slopes should be avoided.

Suggestions for making sites safer will prove ultimately ineffective if rules are not enforced and adhered to by those on site. A ‘no blame/no fault’ culture should be encouraged whereby everyone on site feels able to contribute good ideas on how to improve safety – rather than hush up minor accidents or ‘near misses’. ‘Tool box’ meetings with operators and tradesmen on ways to improve site safety invariably produce good ideas.