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Why construction site health and safety matters

Updated: Sep 27, 2023


Health and safety is important in all industries. But in construction, workplace safety can literally be a matter of life and death.


Accidents on building sites, where workers are often operating at height, can result in injury, property damage, project delays, or much, much worse. Falls from roofs, scaffolds or ladders are the leading cause of death in the Irish construction industry, accounting for 40% of all construction fatalities.


Critical risks: CIF Construction Safety Month 2023


Every building site presents its own safety risks. No two construction projects are the same, which means every building site is different, with its own set of unique risks to be assessed and mitigated.


Apart from working at height, there are numerous other potential hazards to be mindful of, with mobile plant handling heavy loads and the operation of dangerous machinery close to foot traffic. There are hot work hazards to be considered such as welding, cutting, soldering, and any activities that involve using heat or open flames.

Then there are underground and overhead power cables and water and gas mains pipes to take precautions around.


When it comes to the refurbishment or retrofitting of older buildings, there is the potential of working around hazardous materials such as asbestos and the risk of collapsing structures.


Each of these are amongst what we call critical risks and are the focus of CIF Construction Safety Month this October.


Every month is Construction Safety Month at Built Interiors


At Built Interiors, we continuously communicate a clear vision for safety to every member of our team, setting clear goals and standards for safety, and monitoring safety behaviours and trends. The safety, health and welfare of all our employees, contractors and neighbours is always at the forefront of all of our planning, actions and behaviours on site.


Accidents are preventable. Our effective health and safety management is the result of making education, training and awareness a key part of our culture. For every work task on site, we perform systematic identification of hazards and manage identified hazards with appropriate risk assessments and subsequent actions to eliminate or reduce danger.


Hazard Identification


As part of our Construction Stage Health & Safety Plan, we take an analytical approach to assessing control and mitigating the hazards we identify on site. We will then establish control measures to reduce the risk involved for each identified hazard.


Induction Training


We provide site-specific induction training to all people entering the site including contractors, subcontractors, and visitors. Nobody starts work on any of our projects until they have received induction training.


Site induction is usually the first point of contact between the site management and workforce on site. Information is provided on the project, the project objectives including safety, welfare, environmental and quality of workmanship expectations, current site activities, site rules and restrictions, site information and specific hazards. The safety induction promotes our cultures of Health & Safety by actively inviting everyone to voice their opinions and contribute.


Toolbox Talks


Toolbox Talks usually relate to a particular topic or activity. Details of upcoming risks are discussed, and the methods and precautions required are discussed with all workers. Toolbox Talks invite comments from the workforce and take account of feedback by reviewing method statements and making amendments as necessary. Weekly Safety Meetings are held every Tuesday at 10am on all Built Interiors sites, and we insist on all contractors having representation at these meetings. This is the art of coordinating trades on site.


Technology underpins our culture of safety and quality


At Built Interiors, we’ve also created an online safety induction for all staff, visitors and subcontractors to complete before they come to site. A good safety induction covers important safety topics such as confined spaces, hazards, how to report an incident, how to act and behave in the workplace, what to do when something goes wrong, understanding important safety policies and procedures, and getting an acknowledgement that everyone has understood these areas.

Success in Safety: David Lloyd Leisure

In the refurbishment and fitout of David Lloyd Leisure in Clonskeagh, the client envisaged a multi-faceted space where club members and their families could not only exercise, but work out, play, study, eat, drink, socialise, swim, play tennis, detox, pamper, relax, and hold meetings.


Their ultimate goal was to attract the residents of this upmarket Dublin suburb into a state-of-the-art facility and family space where they could spend their entire day together, with David Lloyd Leisure nurturing a culture of fitness and community between children, parents and grandparents in what would be a truly unique and diverse leisure offering.


This prestigious project presented several challenges, not least of which was the nature of the live environment in which the works were to take place. The leisure facilities, health club and coffee shop/restaurant were to remain OPEN to all 7,000 members for the duration of the project. With families there chilling out while kids were running about, with others there spinning, jogging, dancing, working out or eating throughout the building, safety considerations called for meticulous planning and management, especially with a busy car park in operation.


With young families and children the safety focus, safe access and egress routes had to be provided at all times with constant assessment of hoarding and pedestrian routes. All deliveries to site were prior to 9am as footfall ramped up between the hours of 9am to midday and 2pm to close of play. All large vehicle movements had an escort through the car park with the banksman constantly on high awareness for customers’ cars, adults and young children, while all trades and team members entering the site were given site-specific induction training focused on the potential risks of the building’s live working nature!


We’ve Built a great safety record


At Built Interiors, we’re proud to play our part in CIF Construction Safety Month and promote a renewed focus on managing and controlling critical risks on construction sites. Our 20-year background in construction management means we understand all of the health and safety risks of working on sites of all shapes and sizes. We have years of expertise in the refurbishment and fit-out of buildings, both occupied and unoccupied, with experience planning, managing, monitoring, and coordinating health and safety on greenfield or brownfield sites.


If you’d like to find out more about our approach to health and safety management and how we minimise risk on our building sites, get in touch with us to discuss your next project today.


For more information on CIF Construction Safety Month, click here.

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