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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

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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