Secure construction sites over Christmas break
With a wetter than normal spring, flooding, and more severe weather predicted, now is the time to plan your Christmas break lockdowns to ensure a safe and secure holiday.
Sites need to be secured to prevent unauthorised access and housekeeping attended to so that loose objects do not become missiles in a ferocious summer storm.
The importance of locking down sites to prevent children playing and exploring them was brought home earlier this year when a 12-year-old Western Australian boy was killed on a residential construction site in Perth. It appears that the child entered the construction site after hours and was playing with his friends when he fell from a height.
Site security is the third most common non-compliance on residential construction sites. Since 2019, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has issued over 700 notices because a residential construction site was not secured from unauthorised access.
A common and obvious risk which should be addressed is bracing for traditional fierce winds and flooding rains, with open holes in the ground, such as trenches and swimming pools under construction, demanding special attention.
Construction worksites with partially completed buildings and deep excavations need extra care, especially if they're close to playgrounds, sports ovals or other public areas where children play. Other significant hazards on construction sites include falls from heights where a guard rail isn't in place or where access to a high structure is open, or inadequately braced walls that could collapse in a strong wind.
Dangerous goods and hazardous substances that haven't been disposed of safely, or have not been stored or locked away, and unsecured plant or machinery which could be operated illegally are also threats to public safety.
By far and away the best way to reduce public risk is to ensure building sites are securely fenced and gates are locked. Other tips include:
- erecting signs prohibiting access by unauthorised people
- making plant and machinery inoperable to prevent unauthorised and illegal use
- securing all loose materials so they cannot blow away in a storm.