Most industrial and construction site safety rules in the UK are derived from the regulations set out in the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974. This places a legal duty on employers to protect, as far as 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 draft a health and safety policy – and regularly update this.
A typical site safety rules template might include:
- Wear relevant personal protection 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, but you may require additional items.
- Keep things tidy. Tools and equipment that has not been properly stored, as well as general clutter, can lead to potentially serious falls and trips.
- Don’t take unnecessary risks. Stay alert and avoid unsafe areas such as directly beneath crane loads or heights without guardrails.
- Report any problems or near misses immediately. This will allow swift remedial action to be taken.
- Read and follow all safety signs and risk assessments for specific activities. Be generous with the display of construction site safety boards: keep everyone on their toes.
- Never start work on a new site without a site-specific induction, setting out the hazards unique to that location.
- Never try and improvise repairs or temporary fixes for faulty equipment, or make unauthorised changes to a workspace (such as removing guardrails or handguards). The risks are obvious.
- Be prepared: start compiling a building site health and safety checklist as soon as you know a particular job needs to be done. See below for more on construction site safety assessments.
Site safety rules 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 place themselves in unnecessary danger.