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What should a construction site safety checklist include?

What should a construction site safety checklist include?

A thorough safety checklist is a must-have for any construction site. Employers have a duty of care to their employees, and it is incumbent upon them to ensure that they take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their workforce. A robust checklist is therefore indispensable to effective construction jobsite safety. 

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To be truly comprehensive, this jobsite safety checklist has to cover a range of different aspects, including:

•    Regulatory compliance and reporting
•    Vehicle and equipment use
•    Driver behaviour, and creating a ‘safety-first’ culture
•    Inspections and maintenance of vehicles and equipment
•    Rest breaks and fatigue management
•    Zone regulations

Q: How can a safety checklist address regulatory compliance and reporting?

A: There is far more to construction site safety than simply preventing accidents. Firms also have to be able to demonstrate that they are fully compliant with the relevant regulations. Any construction site safety checklist must take this into account, enabling construction firms to demonstrate the steps they have taken to ensure compliance. The introduction of electronic processes to capture and manage key activities can greatly simplify this process. Automating the capture of data ranging from worker lists, safety hazard reports, equipment location and equipment use can help to eliminate a great deal of the paperwork, and reduce the likelihood of key safety issues going un-addressed.  

Q: What needs to be taken into account regarding vehicle and equipment use?

A: On any busy construction site, vehicles will be continually moving around the area and equipment will be continually in use. Keeping track of exactly how vehicles and equipment are used can seem like a mammoth undertaking, but equipment management technology has made the process perfectly manageable. For example, these GPS tracking systems provide both managers and drivers with alerts whenever a vehicle is being driven at an unsafe speed. They also allow managers to ensure that vehicles and equipment are working in set zones, rather than travelling through or working in non-authorised zones. In addition, these tracking systems facilitate far more effective management of driver and operator fatigue, allowing managers to ensure that appropriate rest breaks are taken. This is a critical element of jobsite safety.

Q: How can this data be put to effective use in improving driver/operative behaviour and overall safety?

A: Data collected over a period of time can be used to determine dangerous use of vehicles and equipment, and developing training programmes with a view to addressing these problems. Furthermore, construction sites often lack clearly-demarcated ‘roads’, and vehicles are forced to travel along hazardous and uneven surfaces. It can also be unclear to employees which routes vehicles and equipment will travel over. Construction site safety checklists therefore need to take into account setting and ensuring adherence to jobsite speed limits, ensuring that vehicles and equipment stick to pre-determined routes and that any dangerous use of vehicles and equipment is properly recorded, so that training can subsequently be implemented. This latter approach is also a crucial element of creating a ‘safety-first’ culture on-site. 

Q: How does equipment maintenance affect safety on site?

A: Equipment and vehicles which are inadequately maintained can pose a serious safety risk. Telematics technology can assist vehicle and equipment maintenance by providing not only alerts and updates about potential mechanical issues, but simplifying through automating the process of scheduling servicing. This regular preventive maintenance also makes it easier to despatch maintenance staff to the site so that they can deal with mechanical issues as and when they arise. Pre-use inspections – where an operator or driver completes a set list of inspections prior to equipment or vehicle use – is also a key element of on-site safety. In addition to improving safety standards, measures such as these help to enhance productivity by reducing the risk of unscheduled downtime, which can cause major problems for construction projects and lead to unnecessary costs. Any checklist should also outline processes for operators and drivers to report any concerns they have relating to equipment and vehicle maintenance. 

Q: What are the implications of fatigue management for on-site safety?

A: Inadequate fatigue management is another major risk on construction sites, and the cause of countless accidents every year. Construction workers and drivers who are tired are considerably less likely to follow proper safety procedures and take the appropriate precautions. A construction site safety checklist must ensure that there are clear processes for recording rest breaks as well as monitoring operator time. 

Q: Why are zone regulations so important?

A: As we’ve already touched on, construction sites tend to be busy and bustling places, so keeping heavy vehicles – and standard vehicles travelling across job sites – out of the path of foot traffic is important. Also adding to the difficulty are the limited visibility so common on construction sites, as well as other hazards such as steep terrain and blind corners. Asset management technology greatly enhances managers’ ability to enforce appropriate zone regulations through the establishment of geofences and virtual geographic boundaries which trigger an alert when a particular type of vehicle enters a specific area. Managers then have the option of either rerouting the vehicle or informing the appropriate workers that it is in the vicinity.

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