Keeping Construction Sites safe
- 6th October 2021
- 4:40 reading time (ish)
- 887 words
Construction sites can be dangerous places, even for the professionals working within the industry.
Posing numerous risks and hazards, accidents and injuries can happen at any point if adequate health and safety measures are not put in place.
In fact, statistics released last year by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that there were 81,000 construction workers suffering from work-related illnesses and injuries in 2020. The most common causes were falls from height, heavy items collapsing on individuals, and being struck by moving objects.
With hazards lurking around every corner, it is vital that employers do all they can to protect their workers, as well as members of the public that may be passing by the construction site.
Construction safety signs
Construction safety signs will not only keep a site compliant, but they can reduce the risk of accidents and injuries by highlighting any dangers.
Construction site managers have a legal duty to ensure that every site has adequate signage. Following a thorough risk assessment, which highlights all possible hazards, a plan for clear and concise signage should be made.
Health and safety signage in the UK is covered by the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. These regulations describe how you should design and use health and safety signs.
The regulations state that an employer must provide safety signs if there is a significant risk that you have not been able to avoid or control in any other way,
through safe working practices or process controls.
It also states that signs must be clear and legible, and should be used to identify actions that are:
- Prohibited, for example no access
- Safeguards that must be followed, for example ear protection must be worn
- Warning of a hazard, for example corrosive material
- To direct towards fire exits, fire management equipment, or first-aid equipment
Although it is important to highlight all risks and hazards, you should avoid using too many signs, which could cause confusion.
Types of construction site signs
Construction site signs are a vital tool for communicating health and safety messages to staff, visitors, and contractors.
Due to the number of potential hazards, there are a wide range of construction site signs that are necessary. They fall into key categories, including:
These signs communicate actions that you must avoid, such as unauthorised access to specific areas on a construction site. They can also be used to prevent parking to keep access clear for machinery, stop smoking and limit speeds of vehicles on-site.
The prohibition sign must contain a red circle with a red line across. All images must be black on a white background. Any wording must be white text on a red panel.
Danger signs are used to warn people of potential dangers, such as moving traffic, working machinery, electrical currents and high voltage.
These signs must be a yellow triangle with a black border. Any text or images must also be black on a yellow panel.
These signs highlight where and when safety clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) is required. This could include hard hats, high visibility clothing, foot and hat protection. A mandatory sign is a blue circle with white images or wording.
Safe condition signs
These are signs that contain information about emergency actions, such as a fire exit, fire assembly point, and first aid help. These signs must be square or rectangular in shape and the symbol must be green with white wording or images.
These can help workers sub-contractors, and visitors navigate their way around the construction site. They can identify car parks, site offices and plant rooms, or demonstrate one-way systems around a site.
It can also be beneficial to pair safety signs with an instructive sign, for example a danger sign highlighting ‘hazardous materials’ could be coupled with a mandatory sign around wearing protective clothing and equipment.
ISO 7010 is the technical standard that safety signs must meet across Europe. It covers the graphical hazard symbols used on these signs (as set out in ISO 3864) and defines the combinations of shape and colour used to distinguish between the type of information displayed. This ensures that signs are recognisable universally, and overcomes language barriers.
Where should construction signs be positioned?
The location of the sign will depend on the message it is trying to communicate, but it is vital to ensure entries and exits are clearly marked. It is likely that signage will be needed across the site to ensure compliance amongst all workers, sub-contractors and visitors.
All signage should be in highly visible areas, with a clear line of vision from both foot and vehicle. Signage should never be obscured and should be cleaned regularly to prevent dirt and dust covering them up.
Keeping you safe
At JPS Online, we offer a wide range of danger, prohibition, mandatory, and safe conditions signs. They are all designed to keep people safe when on a construction site, highlighting hazards and minimising risk.
We understand that every site is different, so we work closely with every customer to truly understand their needs and create a package that works for them.
To find out how we can help you keep your construction site safe and compliant through high quality signage, get in touch today on 01285 650441.