Safety Signs Blog

Construction Site Multiple Hazards You need multiple message safety signs

11th July 2011 | Construction Signs

Posted by David Arnold

Let’s start with the hard facts. As the UK’s construction industry starts to show signs of recovery the facts are that those working on any site are in far more danger than any other worker in the UK. In the last reported year (2009/10), out of 152 reported deaths, a staggering 42 of them came in construction….that is 28% of all deaths in an industry that was in 2009 widely accepted to be in decline.

To emphasise this point construction in 2009/10 accounted for only 4% of UK employees. However, in terms of reported injuries and fatalities, it made up 7% of them.

No matter how cautious, it is fair to conclude that Construction workers are undoubtedly taking risks that many other office workers, shop assistants and local authority staff members do not.

On the plus side, safety standards have improved greatly in the last thirty years, with fatality rates falling by an impressive 72%. Much of this improvement has come from greater regulation of construction sites, increased site inspections, increased use of personal protective equipment and clothing and an improved use of safety signs.

Having worked in the safety sign industry over the last 12 years, the most frequent question posed relates to which signs must be displayed to ensure the inspectors are happy, and workers and the public safe. Loosely, to help the site comply with Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the safety sign messages should fall into three categories:

PPE Signs

These signs ensure Personal Protective Equipment are worn at all times by staff and visitors on the site. On most sites it is increasingly common for hard hats, high visibility jackets/vests and protective boots to be worn at all times. The signs should reflect this. Goggles and hearing protection may also be a consideration when a site is signed up. Finally, with 35% of construction site accidents relating to falls from heights, signs instructing workers to ensure harnesses are worn are also increasingly important.

Restricted Entry Signs

As I remember from my own misspent youth, building sites can be extremely attractive to kids of a certain age. From a liability view point, as well as protecting the kids from themselves, a sign stating Children must not play on the site, no entry to unauthorised personnel or simply Warning Construction Site Keep Out is vital.

Danger Signs

Finally, owners of the site have an obligation to warn of any significant dangers. These can range from open pits and overhead loads to asbestos removal and electricity. Indeed, 24.8% of all injuries on sites stem from incidents involving electricity – so warning signs are essential for workers and visitors alike.

Site Safety Board – Multi message construction safety sign

The best and most concise way of relaying these messages is through multi-message site safety boards at the point of entry to the site. Some construction companies also repeat the use of this sign around the perimeter of the site and within it.

As a final mote, the construction site will also have to think about using signs to ensure first aid and fire fighting equipment can also be easily located. For all visitors, the site office should also be clearly marked and a sign stating all visitors should report to this site office is also appropriate.


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