Health and safety advice for building restoration
Posted on 5th Sep, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham
The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries to work in. Each year, there are 65,000 self-reported non-fatal workplace injuries and 1.7 million working days lost. Furthermore, during 2014/2015, there were 35 workers fatally injured in the construction sector. Building restoration is one of the construction site jobs to include hazardous tasks and conditions. While dangerous, there are ways to improve workplace health and safety and manage the risks.
Protect against falls from a height
When working in construction, demolition and restoration, falls from a height are a real possibility. Workers not only have to contend with access equipment; they also face risks including fragile surfaces, falls through openings and falls from edges.
Before starting a restoration project, a risk assessment should be carried out to assess, eliminate and control the risks of falls from a height. Workers should also be familiar with safe practices when it comes to working from a height. You can find out more on our Working at Heights Training Course. We also recommend our Harnesses & Lanyards Course for construction workers planning on using this safety equipment.
Minimise exposure to hazardous materials
In a building restoration environment, hazardous materials are rife. Dust, asbestos, and respirable crystalline silica are just a few materials you might be exposed to.
Every building restoration project needs to be paired with a COSHH assessment, to be completed before work begins. Control measures should be put in place and exposure to hazardous materials limited. You can also find out more about hazardous materials like asbestos on our training courses. At Browns Safety Services we offer a UKATA Asbestos Awareness Training Course that teaches you how to avoid the risks.
Look out for electrical hazards
If electrical hazards have been flagged in your risk assessment, you’ll need to ensure the right equipment and safety kit. Should the weather conditions be wet, there will be further risks to contend with too.
When working around electrical hazards, always use fibreglass access equipment over aluminium. Workers should also wear rubber or rubber-insulated boots for protection against electric shock.
Wear the appropriate PPE equipment
Unstable building surfaces and falling debris are just two of the risks that construction workers face. If the weather conditions are poor, flooring and surfaces may be slippery too – adding to the number of risks.
To protect against these potential hazards, it’s important that the correct PPE is worn. Safety goggles protect the eyes, ear defenders protect against loud noise and a hard safety hat provides additional protection should debris fall. Thick-soled boots, with a good grip, should also be worn while gloves will reduce the risk of cuts and scrapes.
We also recommend our 1 Day Emergency First Aid at Work Course to all trades. Whether you work in construction or you’re an operative in the warehouse, our first aid course is bound to boost safety in your workplace. To find out more, visit the course page.
Do you have any other safety tips for workers completing building restoration projects? If so, leave your tips below or tweet us @Brownssafety