Summer is always a busy time in the construction industry and many surveyors will be heading out to sites, some for the first time. It’s important to remember to stay safe on a visit, and RICS has a comprehensive safety guide that offers lots of good advice.
One of the most important points whenever you’re planning to visit premises – whether to carry out an inspection, survey or site investigation – is to carry out a pre-assessment of potential hazards and risks that you might encounter. This doesn’t just apply to construction sites; occupied buildings and rural land can present risks as well.
Creating a comprehensive safety plan can save you lots of time and hassle. Speak to the person who has requested the visit or contact the organisation that manages the site and ask them whether there are any safety concerns you should be aware of. Without proper planning and preparation, you may not be able to visit certain parts of the property or site, so it’s important to get as much information as possible.
Here are some of the most important things to bear in mind while creating your safety plan.
Rules and regulations
Many construction sites will have a list of rules that everyone must follow, usually posted at the entrance and around the site. Make sure you have sight of these and fully understand them before you visit. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarity on any you don’t understand.
It’s important to have a good understanding of how stable each structure on the site will be on the day you attend. Whether it’s a skyscraper or a garden shed, you don’t want to enter an unstable building.
Timber, glass and sharp objects
The last thing you want to do is cut yourself while on a site visit. Make sure you stay away from sharp objects and be aware of glass placements that may be difficult to see. Be sure you have access to a first aid kit in the event of injury.
Whether you’re above it or below it, you should always know if there’s any potential risk from a roof, especially one that isn’t finished.
Slip, trip and fall hazards
Sites can sometimes be cluttered, and things are always being moved around. Make sure you walk carefully and watch your step to avoid tripping or slipping.
Hidden traps, ducts and openings
Just as there can be plenty of obstacles you might trip on, you should also be careful about empty spaces, especially as they can be less obvious and more dangerous.
Large vehicles and equipment
There are lots of machines and tools used in construction, both big and small. Avoid getting too close to any active equipment, and under no circumstances try to operate any tool without proper training.
If you’re carrying out a land survey, there are plenty of potential hazards. Before going to any rural site, it’s good to know how to contact local emergency services just in case something does happen, especially if you’re in an area without reliable phone access.
Insects, vermin and birds
Bites, scratches and stings are an unfortunate reality when working outside. Be aware of the local wildlife and let the site manager know if you have any allergies.
While most people know to pack their wellies and umbrella when it rains, it’s equally important to protect against the sun. Don’t forget to use sunscreen and stay hydrated during the hot summer months.