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      • Published 11 Jan 2023
      • Last Modified 29 Aug 2023
    • 8 min

    A Complete Guide to Industrial Workplace Safety

    Health and safety at the workplace is critical in industry. Discover all you need to know about industrial safety, rules and regulations, and safe working practices in our guide.

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    Reviewed by Pete Kendall, Technical Support Engineer (April 2021)

    In every industry, workers' well-being and safety should be a top priority. This guide to health and safety in industry describes how to assess and prepare for key risks. It also sets out the specific responsibilities of both employers and employees. By implementing these guidelines, organisations can strive for optimal working conditions and reduce workplace incidents.

    What is Site Safety?

    People working in factories and on construction sites are at significantly increased risk than those in offices. This is thanks to all those heavy objects, corrosive chemicals, forklift trucks, and production lines running 24/7.

    Government statistics show construction is Britain’s second most dangerous industry, accounting for 30 fatal accidents in the 12 months to 2019. The most dangerous? Agriculture, forestry and fishing, with 32 recent deaths. Manufacturing came third, with 26 fatalities in the same period.

    Safe working practices involve establishing a list of tight working procedures designed to control and minimise risks posed by a location. Typical examples include:

    • Full training
    • Routine use of safety wear (high visibility jackets, hard hats, etc)
    • Continuous communication between different teams
    • Regular inspections of potentially hazardous equipment

    What are Site Safety Rules?

    Most industrial and construction site safety rules in the UK are derived from the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This places a legal duty on employers to protect, as far as is practical, the safety of employees, contractors and members of the public (for example, neighbours and visitors). The Health and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978 applies in Northern Ireland.

    Any employer with more than five employees must adhere to health and safety procedures in the workplace by drafting and regularly updating a policy.

    A typical site safety rules template might include:

    1. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times. On an average construction site, this is likely to mean, at the very least, a hard hat, safety boots and a high-vis jacket. However, you may require additional items
    2. Keep things tidy. Tools and equipment that have not been properly stored, as well as general clutter, can lead to potentially serious falls and trips
    3. Don’t take unnecessary risks. Stay alert and avoid unsafe areas such as directly beneath crane loads or heights without guardrails
    4. Report any problems or near misses immediately. This will allow swift remedial action to be taken
    5. Read and follow all safety signs and risk assessments for specific activities. Be generous with construction site safety boards and keep everyone on their toes
    6. Never start work on a new site without a site-specific induction, setting out the hazards unique to that location
    7. Never try and improvise repairs or temporary fixes for faulty equipment, or make unauthorised changes to a workspace (such as removing guardrails or handguards)
    8. Be prepared. Start compiling a list of health and safety procedures in the workplace as soon as you know a particular job needs to be done. See below for more on construction site safety assessments

    Workplace safety regulations for contractors have a slightly different focus because they are new to your business and unfamiliar with your particular working practices. Unfamiliarity brings risks. As with employees, contractors have a duty to behave responsibly and not risk unnecessary danger.

    Site Safety Assessments

    These consist of a detailed analysis of hazards present at an industrial or construction site. Assessments will have some general elements that apply to all sites, but the particular combination of risks will often be unique to each location. If five or more employees work on a site, your safety assessment must be written down. However, this is good practice even if there are fewer because it helps everyone keep track of their responsibilities. When does the site safety assessment begin? Right at the start, while the project is still in its planning stages.

    A site safety checklist template could include:

    • A list of specific hazards - heights, heavy loads, vehicles, dangerous chemicals, etc
    • A list identifying who is most at risk from each issue – specific employees? Members of the public? On-site contractors?
    • An assessment of the urgency of each hazard – which are the most pressing? Discuss these with your team and possibly with the local emergency services too
    • Write down your conclusions, as well as the plans you have formulated to address each risk in a site-specific safety plan
    • Regularly review your assessment and change your plans as the project progresses

    Certain dangers – for example, chemicals, working at height, or loud noise – may require individual assessments.

    Site Safety Equipment

    Equipment is available to suit many different working environments or tasks. We cover some of the most popular types below.

    Tethered Tools

    Tethered Tools

    A range of tethering equipment including lanyards, carabiners, anchor points, and blocks, can be used to prevent tools and equipment from falling from high points. Not only are such tools likely to be seriously damaged, but they also pose a clear risk to infrastructure and anyone passing below.

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    Spill Control Kit

    Spill Control

    Spill control equipment, which includes trays, bags, and mats, is designed to provide a safe way for workers to clean up and dispose of potentially hazardous liquids.

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    First Aid Kit

    First Aid

    Easily accessible first aid kits are a must for any construction site, as is training in the basics for at least some employees.

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    Security Alarm


    Factories and construction sites can be difficult to secure and some make tempting targets for thieves in search of equipment and raw materials that could be sold on. Cut your risk with the wide range of customisable security alarms, switches, locks, and bolts available.

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    Safety Lockout

    Safety Lockouts

    Safety lockout equipment ensures that machines and power points in need of repair or maintenance are fully shut down, preventing potentially serious shocks.

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    Safety Barrier

    Safety Barriers

    Industrial safety barriers can play a vital role in risk management on most construction sites, especially in areas where hazardous equipment or chemicals are stored.

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    Site Safety Signs

    Site Safety Signs

    Safety signage requirements must be met on construction and building sites. Install clear hazard warnings in appropriate locations and site health and safety information signs in common areas and on doors.

    Work safety cards can be used to secure access to hazardous areas.

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    How to Improve Site Safety in the Workplace

    Responsible industrial and construction site health and safety planning requires effort and can be costly. However, it will certainly cost your business less than a serious accident! The following tips could save lives and protect your business:

    • Train employees on how to lift and move heavy objects safely, without injuring themselves
    • Look into noise insulation. Loud noise experienced over an extended period of time can cause hearing loss, high blood pressure, stress, and headaches. Anything over 85 decibels should be a cause for concern. Ear protection, screens, acoustic barriers, and equipment adjustment can all make a big difference
    • Slips and trips are one of the most common causes of injury on construction sites, injuring thousands every year. Everyone on site should keep a careful eye out for slippery or uneven surfaces, discarded objects and trailing cables
    • If the construction site contains high areas, install proper harnesses, guardrails, or similar equipment in the vicinity. Be strict with procedures and training. Falls are one of the most common causes of fatal accidents in the construction industry
    • Monitor the air quality and provide adequate ventilation. Dust is a significant health hazard on construction sites, so look at extraction systems, containment areas, and breathing masks where necessary. Exhaust fumes can also be a significant risk to health on some sites so consider on-site vehicles with catalytic and particulate converters. The overuse of gas heaters during the colder months increases the risk of poisoning
    • Monitor equipment regularly – especially portable equipment, which is especially prone to damage and mechanical failure

    Why is Workplace Safety Important?

    Workplace safety is crucial in industry for several reasons:

    • Protection of human life: Industries often involve hazardous activities, machinery, chemicals, and heavy equipment that pose significant risks to workers. Implementing safety measures prevents accidents, injuries, and fatalities, ensuring employees can work safely and securely
    • Compliance with regulations: Industries are required to comply with government and regulatory workplace safety standards. Compliance with these regulations is not only a legal requirement but also ensures companies meet certain safety benchmarks
    • Increased productivity and efficiency: Safe working conditions contribute to increased productivity and efficiency at work. When employees feel safe and secure, they can focus more on their tasks and perform at their peak. Accidents disrupt workflow, cause absenteeism, and decrease productivity
    • Cost savings: Investing in workplace safety measures can result in long-term cost savings for industries. While safety protocols may require initial investments, they can significantly reduce costs in the future
    • Enhanced company reputation: Workplace safety is increasingly valued by employees, customers, investors, and the general public. Companies that prioritise safety and demonstrate a commitment to protecting their workforce build a positive reputation as responsible and ethical organisations


    Prioritising health and safety in the industrial sector is not only a moral imperative but also a legal obligation. By following the guidelines outlined in this article, employers and employees can work together to mitigate risks, prevent accidents, and promote a culture of safety. Together, we can strive towards industry environments where workers thrive, productivity flourishes, and the well-being of all is safeguarded.

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