Clearly plan the layout
Plan things correctly from the outset and you can reduce congestion, waiting times and the potential for workplace accidents.
Think about the size and positioning of the bigger facilities but also take into account more complex requirements such as tunnelling or shafts for cables or ducts.
You can’t think of things in isolation. You’ll need to think through the relationship between different parts.
For example, what’s the pattern of traffic between the construction works, the site entrance and the manager’s office? Can you remove spoil while taking delivery of new materials? How will you navigate potentially dangerous drainage holes or shafts? It’s a complicated picture.
Make access clear for machinery and workers
It may seem obvious, but your site access points are key to minimising accidents and creating efficiencies.
The challenge is that a site’s features and topography don’t always make things easy. There might be a hazard in the centre of the site or a drainage hole by the most obvious access point.
The good news is that there are often quick and cost-effective solutions. Temporary manhole covers with as much as a 4 tonne load point can open up areas to heavy vehicles.
“Rather than a joiner cutting plywood to size and installing timber, which can be easily damaged and has to be thrown away, temporary manhole covers are a more hard wearing, durable solution to protect voids on a construction site,” says James Brennan, Head of Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) at JP Dunn Construction.
Ensure your site meets safety standards
According to a survey in October 2019 by the UK Health and Safety Executive, 36% of large construction firms would fail or scrape through a health and safety inspection because of site compliance and accidents at work.
It’s no longer acceptable to have a make-do approach to health and safety and throw plywood over a hole or rope off dangerous sections.
Make sure your staff have appropriate training. Examine the site carefully to minimise risks. Use safety equipment that meets BSI standards.
You even have to watch out for accidents when making the site safe. “There are injuries that happen such as trapping fingers or hands when trying to put metal road plates over voids when safer options are available,” says James Brennan.
Limit the potential for damage
It’s not only the human cost and risk of health and safety fines. There’s also potential lost productivity and contract penalties from physical damage to the site.
Prevention is often the best protection. You might not realise until too late that drains have accumulated debris and rubble because of inadequate covers. You could easily be increasing the risk of water damage, environmental harm or having to pay to wash out drains later.
Don’t waste an inch of space
You need to start thinking of your site space as a resource too. It’s vital to productivity, safety and a happy working environment – all of which can have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Look around the site for areas that are roped off or sitting idle because of hazards. You could be looking at a potential hidden cost.
Ask yourself: Is there a smarter way to overcome such obstacles and maximise the returns from your construction site?
Voidex is a BSI standard, temporary manhole cover that opens up construction sites to heavy machinery and increases the safety of the workforce.