Barry Crackett, product designer at Brushtec, gives his top tips for keeping your worksite clean, and explains the benefits this can have on staff safety and morale.
Construction workers are exposed to lots of hazards every day, but, as an employer, there are plenty of things you can do to lower these risks. If you think your work site could benefit from a revamped cleaning procedure, read on for my top tips.
Perform a cleaning risk assessment
You should have already carried out all of the necessary assessments to ensure your construction workers are safe, but it’s important that you also ensure they won’t be at risk of injury when they’re cleaning up after themselves. If tidying their work space is going to involve the likes of working at height, manual handling, or dealing with dangerous chemicals, you must reduce any dangers to their health.
As an employer, you have a duty of care and must take all reasonable steps to preserve your employees’ wellbeing, whether they’re digging foundations or cleaning their workspace.
Assign daily clean-up tasks
Cleaning up at the end of the day should be routine for your workers. So, ensure they’re all doing their bit by breaking down the workload and assigning each person or team a specific duty. This will help to ensure all of the clear-up tasks are completed as quickly as possible.
Just make sure that your workers have the relevant training and equipment for the task they’re given. For example, personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves and masks will need to be worn when dealing with chemical waste, and they’ll need a sound understanding of hazardous waste disposal — the government has a helpful guide to hazardous waste to assist with this.
Minimise dust inhalation
Dust is unavoidable in areas where power tools are used, but exposing your staff to this can cause long-term health complications like asthma and cancer. It’s important that you limit their exposure, and the Health & Safety Executive recommends offering certain health surveillance measures, such as x-rays and blood pressure tests. In some cases, this may be required by law.
When dust — and particularly silica dust — occurs, ensure your workers sweep this up immediately. Dampening the dust beforehand will reduce the number of airborne particles, preventing health issues.
Separate your site’s waste
For the most part, cardboard, paper, and plastic can be recycled if they’re clean and untreated, but should all be separately stored and labelled to ensure clarity and efficiency. For most rubbish, a plastic industrial bin or skip will be fine. But, for hazardous waste like chemicals, an anti-corrosive metal bin will be best.
Find more information about responsible rubbish disposal, read the government’s guide to construction and demolition waste.
Keeping your worksite clean is important for employee safety and productivity, so having a cleaning regime is key.