Health And Safety Considerations For Building Upgrades

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A building upgrade can involve a long-term project and a large financial investment. Health and safety is nonetheless paramount for the duration of your building upgrade. The Health And Safety At Work Act 1999 Section 3 (HSWA) means that you must protect both workers and the public from hazards. This is especially applicable to adjacent land used by pedestrians, and boundaries where your building upgrade is taking place. The Scottish Building Standard 4.4 states “Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that every sudden change of level that is accessible in, or around, the building is guarded by the provision of pedestrian protective barriers.” Wherever your site is located, by using pedestrian barriers, people won’t be forced into hazardous situations, which leaves you to focus on your important work.

Why Barriers Matter?
When renovating a building there are many health and safety concerns, and barriers can help prevent accidents that can cause serious injury. Whilst a building upgrade usually prevents the building from being occupied, risks are transferred onto passers by, and pedestrian barriers help prevent passers-by from being struck by moving objects. In addition,obviously, barriers prevent people falling into trenches or manholes, or tripping over uneven ground. But, these are not the only reasons why barriers should be used:

·       A well-defined boundary and use of well-maintainedpedestrian barriers prevents ambiguity and deters unauthorised access.
·       You can place metal barriers adjacent to open windows, a balcony, roof or basement where people could have access.
·       Barriers at adequate height can prevent children from climbing over them and narrow gaps can prevent children from squeezing through.
·       They can also prevent tools or materials falling outside of your boundary. In addition, scaffolding netting, toe-boards and brick guards help prevent objects, especially from external roofing or cladding work, from falling outside your boundary. However, you should always store and stack materials well within your boundary.

Construction Near Traffic
For construction sites near traffic, you need to ensure you have pedestrian barriers compliant with Chapter 8 of The Traffic Signs Manual, regarding traffic disruption and temporary traffic management. These high density polyethylene barriers have high visibility reflective panels and can have a light added so they are easily visible to motorists. They are also lightweight and versatile, making them perfect for road construction or construction right by a road.
If a footway must be diverted onto a carriageway, it is essential that you provide a safety zone and a barrier between the pedestrians and live traffic on the road. This will involve both traffic cones and lightweight barriers. A “Route for pedestrians” sign is needed, as well as signs at crossing points to “look left/right”.

Safety For Those With Reduced Mobility
As a responsible site owner, you should do everything you can to help prevent falls -especially in wet muddy conditions – by keeping the area clean. Do consider the public with visual impairments and ease of wheelchair and mobility scooter access, by installing ramps if the walkway has to go onto the carriageway. Temporary walkways must never be less than 1m wide. Pay attention to pedestrians needs near busy stops and shops or facilities where larger numbers of people with physical/mental impairments may be anticipated.

Remember, construction safety is paramount. HSWA means that any construction site requires both steps to prevent unauthorised access and steps to manage access across defined boundaries. Your site boundaries must be pre-planned and provide appropriate barriers to protect others from hazards from your building upgrade site and from adjacent traffic hazards.