Managing safety and security on a construction site and adhering to safety laws and requirements can seem a daunting task, but it must be one to be taken seriously, especially as there is human life at risk.
A busy work site may have multiple teams of tradespeople, constant vehicle movement, commercial machinery and potentially dangerous tools, all of which need to be included in a risk assessment to protect both your workers and the general public from danger.
In this guide, we outline some of the critical risks of a construction site environment, what you can do to responsibly manage those risks and make sure your sites are safe and pose minimal danger to the public.
Construction Site Safety Hazards
The core risks on your site will depend on the scope of the work taking place, the nature of the site, and what access is available to your workforce and pedestrians. Some of the most common risk factors that require mitigation include:
Specialist commercial vehicles and heavy-duty lorries with limited lines of sight.
Working from height, with scaffolding and rubbish shutes overhead.
Moving vehicles including on-site activities, deliveries and staff.
Deep trenches, underground pipework without maintenance hole covers and uneven ground.
Tools, machinery and equipment of a commercial nature.
Pedestrian walkways crossing the path of vehicles or work sites.
Given the variety of dangers you might identify, a thorough risk assessment process is essential.
What are the Legal Requirements for Construction Site Security?
Managers must be compliant with the Health and Safety at Work Act and fulfil their legal obligations to control construction site hazards.
Such regulations include:
The duty to assess the risks to the health and safety of any persons accessing your site. That might include visitors, passers-by, delivery drivers and non-employees who have permission to be on the site.
Responsibility for site boundaries. For example, preventing public entry into areas presenting a hazard to health, or restricting vehicular access to your site beyond designated hours or safe delivery slots.
Security requirements, both to prevent access from people who do not have permission to be on-site and avoid inadvertent security breaches by the public.
Therefore, your construction site projects don’t only require provisions to safeguard the welfare of staff and authorised visitors, but also to consider the project boundaries and the nature of neighbouring properties.
Checklist of Construction Site Security Requirements
The below checklist runs through some of the most common safety considerations to mitigate any risk exposure.
Risk Factor: Are there open entryways of access points around your construction site where unauthorised visitors might gain entry?
Response: Yes / No
Suggested Action: Perimeter security is essential. Consider concrete barriers to prevent vehicular access, fencing, installing signs and a review of security arrangements.
Risk Factor: Is there the potential for vehicles to access the site without a permitted entry slot, and without the site manager’s authority?
Response: Yes / No
Suggested Action: It is critical to restrict vehicle movements and prevent security breaches by unauthorised vehicles. Consider concrete barriers to block off unused entryways, or security surveillance to defend your site boundaries.
Will scaffolding be erected on the site with a potential risk of falling debris or equipment?
Risk Factor: Do members of the public have the right of way underneath areas of overhead work?
Response: Yes / No
Suggested Action: Falls from height pose a significant risk to the workforce. Site managers must prevent potential injuries from falling debris. Toe holds or netting around the scaffolding is essential.
Risk Factor: Does your security risk assessment identify a risk of vandalism, unlawful entry, or thefts?
Response: Yes / No
Suggested Action: Illegal entry can cause extreme risks. Fly-tipping and trespassing can result in environmental hazards as well as safety concerns. Options include security patrols, CCTV surveillance, signage, construction site alarm systems and fencing.
Risk Factor: Are there properties on the construction site that may be accessed illegally through doorways or windows?
Response: Yes / No
Suggested Action: Vacant buildings are a magnet for criminals and pose multiple dangers and risks to life, such as unfinished flooring or unstable structures. Managers must secure empty properties. Window boarding up or steel security doors can create a physical barrier. Vacant property alarms or construction site CCTV act as a criminal deterrent.
Risk Factor: Do you produce any waste material, off-cuts or by-products on-site?
Response:Yes / No
Suggested Action: Off-cuts can present a risk of injury due to sharp edges. Waste materials may present a biohazard, or a threat to health if they produce dust, damp, mould or residues.
Safe disposal of waste materials is essential to avoid infestations, contaminations or attracting fly-tipping. Consider arranging a professional clearance service or commercial rubbish removal service as appropriate to the type of waste produced.
Construction Site Security Solutions
As we can see, there are multiple risk factors for construction site environments. Some of these hazards may not be relevant to your site. There may be other scenarios not covered here, so a comprehensive risk assessment from an experienced security firm is recommended.
Some of the core security solutions that can mitigate your risk exposure, and make your construction site a safe workplace include:
- Access Control Systems: Monitoring who gains entry to your construction site, and how you grant such authority, is crucial to mitigating many of the critical risks to a busy work site.
Technologically advanced solutions such as security passes, biosecurity measures and intercom systems can provide a substantial cost saving, and yet enhance the security of your site substantially.
- Concrete Barrier Hire: One of the most cost-effective and yet robust deterrents to illegal entry and security breaches is also the most straightforward – concrete barriers are an impassable defence to keep your construction site protected.
Clearway offers a broad range of concrete barriers for different hire periods. We can combine this with Heras fencing to create a failsafe perimeter with anti-climb coatings.
- Security Patrols: Having a physical security presence is the ultimate way to ensure that no unauthorised access is ever permitted on your site.
We offer a range of options from mobile patrols to canine teams to protect even the largest construction projects. Read more about our compound security services.
Additional Security Considerations
Another popular option is to consider CCTV tower hire. Remote surveillance is an ideal solution for remote construction sites, or where there isn’t reliable connectivity to mains power lines.
InView CCTV towers cover broad areas, with solar recharging batteries and weatherproof casing to keep your site under professional control throughout hours when the workforce is not on site.
Automatic activations ensure that CCTV begins to record instantly when movement triggers the network of high-quality sensors.
Our accredited Alarm Response Centre is on hand to initiate security protocols or dispatch trained response teams to quickly and efficiently deal with any security breach.
For more information about ways to mitigate the security risks on your construction site, or ensure that you can work safely without posing any dangers to passers-by, get in touch with the Clearway UK team today. Read more about our construction site security services here.