Risks within the construction industry are rife, therefore, putting the right practices in place to protect your workforce is imperative. As an employer in the building or construction trade, you have a legal and moral obligation to reduce the risk of injury to not only those working on your sites, but also to anyone visiting. This can be achieved by ensuring you complete a sufficient risk assessment report for construction, covering all areas of your workplace as often as is required.
What is a risk assessment?
A risk assessment is a thorough evaluation of your workplace which allows you to identify any things, situations, or processes that may result in harm to people, or loss/damage to property or equipment. In short, in order to perform a risk assessment you need to:
- Review current working practices and conditions
- Identify any areas of risk and determine the magnitude of harm/damage that could occur
- Take suitable measures to avoid possible loss, damage or injury
- Record any significant findings
Although there has been a significant reduction in injuries and deaths reported in the construction industry over the past 20 years, it still remains one of the highest risk industries to work in. RIDDOR reported 38 fatal injuries in the construction industry (seen below) for the period 2017/2018, with the highest percentage of deaths caused by falling from a height.
Source: RIDDOR 2013/14 – 2017/18 – accidents are shown for the top 5 causes of fatal injury.
Strengths and benefits of risk assessments
The benefits of completing risk assessments in the construction industry sound self-explanatory at first – you want to protect your employees and prevent any legal ramifications from non-compliance. However, there is more to it than this alone. Completing risk assessments will enable you to:
- Create employee awareness of hazards and risks around the workplace
- Identify any current procedures or practices that are outdated or unsuitable
- Keep damage, and therefore costs, down – being proactive is generally cheaper than being reactive
- Meet legal requirements to prevent serious penalties and convictions
- Make workers feel valued because their safety is being considered
Not only will this keep health and safety at the forefront of your mind, it will also help instill it within your workforce, making them more aware of risks in their day-to-day activities.
Here at Direct Safety Solutions, we offer risk assessment services that include specific risk assessments and method statements to ensure you meet all the necessary legal requirements.
Risk assessment for electrical work
As the RIDDOR statistics above show, 6% of deaths in the construction industry for 2017/2018 were from contact with electricity. Unlike most other hazards in the construction industry, electrical hazards can be much harder to detect, which is why risk assessment for electrical work should be carried out thoroughly and regularly.
The main hazards of working with electricity:
- Electric shocks and burns from contact with live parts
- Injury from exposure to arcing, fire from faulty electrical equipment or installations
- Explosion caused by unsuitable electrical apparatus or static electricity igniting flammable vapours or dust, for example in a spray paint booth
When completing an electrical risk assessment, you should take into consideration the type of electrical equipment being used, the way it is being used, and the environment it is being used in. You should also ensure that proper maintenance is carried out as regularly as needed for each piece of equipment being used.
Reporting your risk assessment findings
Any issues found during a risk assessment should show that:
- A sufficient check was made
- The relevant people were involved (people who may be affected)
- Significant hazards were dealt with
- You have taken necessary precautions, and the risk level is now low
Our risk assessment services allow us to work with you and your workforce in a team effort to ensure all the essential practices are in place so that workers and the public are kept as safe from harm as possible.
Get in touch today to learn how Direct Safety Solutions can help develop your risk assessment program.