Breaking the Myths of Site based Safety
I am often asked while visiting site based operatives questions such as:
'Why do I need to wear a hard hat when I am on the roof? Nothing will fall on me! '
'Why am I not allowed to use step ladders?'
So lets take a few minutes to dispel a few myths within the Health & Safety of site based operatives…
Hard Hats on roofing works
Here, I can only vouch for my own advice but that will always be wear your hard hat complete with chin strap at all times. It’s there if you should stumble or worse fall to protect your head. Yes they can be uncomfortable and cumbersome but find the right style of lid for you that complies and you won’t even know its there.
For workers who always work at height I recommend a climbing style helmet such as the Petzl Vertex Vent. https://www.petzl.com/GB/en/Professional/Helmets/VERTEX-BEST#.WT_QW2jyvIU
Having worn one for years off and on sites I can vouch for how secure but comfortable they are. It won’t fall off in a fall and it may save your life. What’s not to like?
Why Can’t I use a stepladder?
First of all why do you need to? Why isn’t a tower platform suitable?
If it’s for speed of use and it’s a one-time function then there is no reason why you can’t. If however you are going to be straddling the stepladder for a 30minute job then I would prefer you to erect some suitable tower scaffold to secure you.
What’s this I have to shave to come to work now?
This is a recent one and a good job that I keep an ear on the industry. For a long time the safety industry has been aware of the dangers of dust inhalation to the lungs. Recently though a study found that stubble and beards will compromise the seal of any dust mask allowing harmful particles into your lungs. Now the industry’s unions may well shout “human rights” at us as safety professionals but we are here to protect those using the tools and breathing that dust. The unions will be the ones funding the court cases in 15 years for those not willing to comply and shave to protect themselves. Wake up unions!
No, you don’t need to shave every day to come to work on a construction site. You do need to on the days where there will be an exposure to dusts liable to damage you. Done!
Do I have to wear gloves at all times?
No. At the end of the shift your hands are down to you to look after. We will always advise that you do to prevent cuts that could lead to infection and thereby lost time, but the choice is yours. There are plenty of jobs / tasks that do require hand protection so some firms find it easier to enforce a full time hand pro policy rather than try and police am ‘as and when’ policy.
But I’ve always done it that way and I’m fine!
Lord, how many times have I heard this? Thousands!
It doesn’t make it right and you’ve been lucky till now. That doesn’t make it safe and we need you to go home to your spouse / partner every night after work. Please listen.
Whilst these are just my thoughts on the subject there will be specific company rules that enforce things differently so this is irrelevant if your company doesn’t work with me.
If you want a common sense approach to your safety however…maybe you should.