Construction Site Health and Safety - Visibility
In order to move around a construction site safely, drivers of vehicles and operators of machinery such as cranes need to be able to see clearly in order to identify potential hazards and obstacles. Visibility is likely to be insufficient either because of the individual having poor eyesight, adverse weather conditions and/or insufficient lighting.
The first issue, the eyesight of the individual, can play a significant part in many incidents, and is sometimes the easiest to remedy if it is just a case of a person not wearing their prescribed glasses or contact lenses. A driver or operator who cannot see clearly in the distance can cause collisions with an object or person, or drive into a hazard. They may also be so busy trying to strain their eyes to see up ahead that they do not concentrate on dangers from the side such as another vehicle approaching at a junction.
The weather and environment will also have an effect on how clearly and how far ahead a person can see. Work taking place in fog can be especially dangerous. Just as airports will close due to planes on the ground not being able to move around safely if they cannot see, it may be necessary to suspend activities involving moving vehicles until the fog lifts. As well as creating mud which can be dangerous on a construction site, heavy rain will also affect visibility, particularly if the vehicle does not have windscreen wipers to clear the water away. The cold can be a problem if it causes windows or windscreens to acquire a layer of frost on them, as this will need to be cleared before commencing work. If operating machinery in extremely cold temperatures, this frost layer may return whilst work is being carried out, causing visibility problems. Even good weather can be a problem. The glare from bright sunshine can make it difficult to see, as can driving between contrasting lighting such as going from a tunnel to bright outdoor sunshine before the driver's eyes can properly adjust.
Insufficient lighting will make it difficult for workers to see dangers in the form of other people, objects or natural hazards such as steep edges or steep gradients. When work takes place at night, poor lighting can increase the risks to construction workers but can be remedied by the introduction of artificial lighting. This may have negative environmental consequences however in the form of light pollution being a nuisance to local residents and disturbing wildlife such as roosting birds.
Related Health and Safety Courses:
- NEBOSH Construction Certificate
- Construction Site Manager SMSTS Certificate
- Construction Site Supervisor SMSTS Certificate