Health and safety for industrial sites: how to keep visitors safe on-site
Industrial areas, such as warehouses and construction sites, are naturally hazardous areas due to the use of heavy vehicles and machinery and the fast pace of work being carried out in such environments. They also present the risk of both workers and general members of the public coming into contact with a host of dangerous chemicals and materials such as silica dust, asbestos and lead.
Although all of these things can endanger the well-being of employees if the correct health and safety measures are not taken. They can also be especially harmful to the visitors of these environments who do not have an advanced understanding of the processes and procedures to follow if an incident where to occur. Therefore, as a duty of care enforced by law, it is essential that public protection is fully imposed in all areas on-site.
It is understood that some accidents cannot be helped but maximum safety measures should still be put in place and be enforced at all times. The main ways to achieve maximum safety for visitors to industrial environments are;
- Preventing slips, trips and falls by placing mats in doorways to prevent debris, water and mud being treaded inside on the bottom of visitors' shoes. Although it seems simple, this is a quick and easy way of preventing unnecessary injuries. However, if there is a wet, slippery or unsafe surface that cannot be cleaned up promptly, then a highly visible sign should be put next to it, such as a 'Wet floor' sign. This ensures visitors can clearly see where the hazardous area is and avoid it to prevent injury or accident.
- Having clear signs and site boundaries are essential for sectioning off areas where members of the public are not prohibited to go. Such areas should be clearly marked by physical boundaries, as well as signs. This can be done with fluorescent or hi-vis signs and permanent fencing.
- Having clear rules on authorisation access is also extremely important; you need to specify who is allowed access to the site under what requirements and during what time frame. Ideally, this should be written up in a legal document and a copy of it should be made easily available to all visitors and staff members. Additionally, placing warning signs around the site will be effective at reminding people that you are not liable if an incident were to occur if they are trespassing.
- Make sure all visitors and staff members are wearing compliant high visibility or flame resistant protective workwear. At phs Besafe, we offer a range of comfortable and lightweight garments, which won’t restrict movement. These are suitable for a range of low light environments and industrial activities, such as welding, cutting and grinding. This ensures that everyone on-site is seen to reduce the chance of accidents occurring.
- Provide visitor badges that clearly state people's names and the fact that they're a visitor, and not a member of staff. This makes it easier to guide visitors to safety if any incidents (such as a fire or chemical spill) were to occur on-site.
- Appointment only visits will reduce the number of visitors and members of the public that are on-site at any one time. This reduces risk if an incident were to occur as you will be better able to keep track of who is on-site and ensure that everyone is accounted for. Appointment only visits will also help with your business's overall organisation.
- A guestbook or another method of signing in and out of the premises should be put in place. This ensures you have a record of who has signed in and out of the building in the case of a fire or accident. Again, this ensures that everyone present during an incident can be accounted for.
- Restrict children from visiting. An average of 2-3 children are killed per year after gaining access to industrial sites. Although these figures have dropped since previous years, this should still be a concern; it is still unacceptable and does not mean that standards should slide. Children should not be allowed any access to such areas, and you should make this clear by specifying which age range is prohibited (such as under 18s).
Maximum care should already be taken to ensure safety of all visitors and employees. However, by implementing these strategies, you can be sure that you have gone the extra mile to minimise the potentially bad implications for visitors. At phs Besafe, we provide a range of services and products which can help ensure this extra protection and stability.
Contact us for more information on our protective workwear supply and rental, industrial laundry and secure uniform destruction services.