Christmas is just around the
corner and most people are looking forward to down tools and take some hard-earned time out. The majority of construction sites will be shutting down this week for the festive period and making sure your site is safe and secure should be top of your Christmas list if you want to switch off and enjoy peace of mind over the break.
To help you tick off this crucial task and get on to more festive preparations, we have put together a few pointers for you. Of course every site is unique and requires a specific risk assessment relevant to the locations and profile of the site, but this list is a good place to start to be sure you have some of the basics covered:
1- Secure scaffolding, materials and equipment
Make sure that all scaffolding is secure and where possible limit access to it or take it down. Ensure that any materials that cannot be removed from site are securely tied down and ideally stored away out of view. Remove all hand tools from the site and make sure that any heavy equipment is secured against theft, use or tampering and ideally shut away in a secure compound within the site so that they cannot be moved.
2- Check signage, fencing and locks
Take the time to do a full perimeter check, making sure that you have a site board with emergency contact information and hazard warnings all up to date, and that additional warning signs are in place wherever they are needed to clearly define hazards around the site. Make sure that any fencing is secure and free from vulnerable areas and that all locks and gates that are in use are sturdy and functional.
3 - Weatherproof your site and equipment
The recent cold snap and wintry winds has been a timely reminder of the potential for weather damage on an unattended construction site over Christmas. To prepare for high winds, ensure all temporary structures such as site fencing and scaffolding are well secured. In case of heavy rainfall, ensure any unsealed roofing areas are well covered and any excavations are stable and will not collapse. If you have left grouting or other work that needs to cure, consider leaving the heating on low to allow the work to dry well as well as preventing the pipes from freezing in a cold snap.
4- Talk to your neighbours
The folks next door are best placed to keep an eye on your site so make sure you have them on side! If they know that the site will be unattended over the festive period, they will be alert to intruders and more likely to notice any unauthorised visitors and raise the alarm. Make sure that they know how to contact you in case they spot any damage to the site fencing or are notice any suspicious activity on site.
5- Walk through security arrangements
Depending on the profile, location and status of your construction site you may decide to hire security staff to keep an eye on things in your absence. If so, make sure they are properly briefed on health and safety for the environment they will be in and are equipped to stay on site safely during potential bad weather. Check that they have the right contact numbers to call for support if needed and have access to a phone and charging facilities.
A secure, safely shut down site gives you the best chance to enjoy your break with peace of mind and make a good start in the new year without loss, damage or disturbances to deal with on your first day back on site.