Construction Site Health and Safety - Lifting
The activities of a construction site are almost certain to at one time or another involve items or materials which need to be lifted up with either mobile or tower cranes. As with other activities, effective preparation and planning is key to working safely and keeping everyone else safe nearby. This will include factors such as risk assessments, permits to work if necessary, the assignment of competent persons to manage the lift, and controlling access to the area where the lifting is taking place to keep unauthorised or unwary persons out so that they do not become injured from falling objects or from the machinery itself.
The immediate area around the crane needs consideration. The ground upon which it is situated needs to be firm and level, with suitable load spreading decking beneath it in order to provide stability whilst lifting is taking place, otherwise the crane may topple over or slide. If this were to happen, the heavy load may begin to swing wildly and either hit nearby objects or come loose and fall to the ground. Neither of these outcomes is desirable, for if the load was to strike a scaffold it could cause injury or death to those working on it, especially if it were to collapse. There may also be overhead electricity or telephone cables in close proximity which could be damaged if the crane were to come in contact with them. Minimum safe distances need to be adhered to, as damaged live electricity cables would be extremely dangerous to everyone nearby.
Because of the many risks and dangers that lifting heavy loads entails, it is an operation which has numerous health and safety considerations. In fact, it has its own specific set of regulations in the form of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) 1998. These health and safety requirements with respect to lifting equipment are not industry specific and apply to nearly all lifting operations.
It is imperative that not only should operatives be trained in the use of the equipment, but that all those who will be involved in the lift or working nearby receive suitable health and safety training in order to work safely and reduce the chances of an accident as much as reasonably possible. There are numerous health and safety courses available for construction site workers including the NEBOSH Construction Certificate and the CITB SMSTS courses and SSSTS courses. There are also non-accredited courses which concentrate specifically on a certain issue such as manual handling training, coshh and hazardous substances, permit to work training and fire safety courses.
Other health and safety courses which may be of interest include:
- NEBOSH General Certificate
- NEBOSH Fire Certificate
- IOSH Working Safely
- COSHH Training