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Construction is a dangerous job. There’s a reason for those hardhats, and no matter where you are on site there is always the potential for injury.
That said, construction becomes even more dangerous at night. It’s risky enough working in the light, but the darkness makes accidents much more likely and far more widespread.
In addition to regular safety issues, things like fatigue, lighting and clothing become even more important.
In addition to government standards, Safety Culture’s Construction Site Night Work Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) provides a comprehensive document which details the safety procedures for those delivering regular building and construction work after dark at night.
These additional standards include transporting and receiving deliveries of equipment and various materials onto a building or construction site.
Some of the things covered in most safety checks would include the following.
Before all else, before any other part of construction safety, lighting is the most important of them all.
It’s almost impossible to protect yourself from things you can’t see. Tripping or walking into something on a construction site can cause serious injury, so being able to see what’s around will help to avoid that.
Inage Source: http://gssystems.com.au/
Lighting is critical. It doesn’t matter how you do it, even if you have to leave the headlights on from the workers’ cars, just make sure the work area is sufficiently lit to avoid nighttime accidents.
As mentioned, insufficient light at night is the biggest threat to construction worker safety. This is true not just for the individual at the site, but for the ability of others to see him as well.
Even if you can see the area around you, you might still get hurt if other people can’t see you. That’s why proper uniforms are necessary.
Bright, reflective colours are your best bet. Not only will it be easier for your fellow workers to see you, but if you are working near a road, these high-vis (high visibility) garments will help make you more easily visible to drivers.
Speaking of drivers and roads, working near roadways at night can be treacherous. Everyone’s visibility is lower at night, driver and pedestrian alike.
As we mentioned previously, an important part of roadwork safety is making sure drivers can easily spot you. This means wearing bright colours on reflective vests.
But if you are working on the road itself, it’s important to alert drivers to your presence long before that. Setting up the usual reflective cones and other warning signs will let drivers know to be on the lookout for you and your crew before actually reaching you.
Having one of your team members on the lookout for approaching vehicles so they can guide them through the work zone at a proper speed is important as well.
The most important factor to consider in night time construction work is the vigilance of the crew itself. This includes drivers who are handling heavy vehicles – a subject governed by the regulations of Roads and Maritime Services.
Everyone needs to be extra careful at night, and there should be a plan laid out, before actually getting to work, in the case of an emergency.
Be mindful of these points, and remember that above all, visibility is your biggest protector.
You can more easily avoid accidents you can see, and drivers can more easily avoid you only if they see you. Light the work area to stay safe.