Health and safety on site is so important. To get the best advice for our members, we asked Suzanne Dixon, a leading chartered Health and Safety practitioner to give us the low-down on what you need to know. Suzanne is the director of Derby-based Kedleston Safety Ltd and says installers must learn the law and stay safe at work.
Working safely and recognising proper Health and Safety procedures on any project, large or small, is paramount in today’s world.
To keep homeowners safe, installers need to be fully aware of current requirements, laws and training.
Working in the glazing industry can be full on and without the right knowledge, you could expose homeowners and yourself to endless risks if the correct safety methods of work are not followed.
Since the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 were introduced, homeowners are now responsible for taking up these duties – but YOUR safety as an installer must be considered at all times.
There are several risks you, as an installer, may encounter when working in people’s homes. Falls from height, climbing steps and working on platforms, and using equipment and tools could expose you to various risk.
Following the correct safety methods is vital on any project, and you may need training.
At work, your health, welfare and safety are protected by law – but you have legal duties too. As an installer, ensuring that homeowners are safe is something you must do every single day of your working life.
- Take care of your own health and safety.
- Make sure others, like the homeowner, are not affected by your work.
- ALWAYS adhere to instructions or control measures – like wearing hi-vis workwear or protective equipment like safety helmets and eye protection.
Three years ago, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulation 2015 came into force. One of the biggest changes was the abolition of the CDM co-ordinator (CDMC).
The updated regulations now place a responsibility on everyone involved in the construction industry – and that includes installers.
Today, all those who work in the construction industry – especially window fitters – have a part to play in looking after their own health and safety. Managing this and the welfare of your ‘construction site’ is now more important than ever before.
- Always inspect equipment that you’re working with.
- If you see any problems with ladders, scaffolding and mobile towers, deal with it.
- Only repair if you are authorised to.
Working at heights
The first thing to consider when working at heights is whether you can avoid it. If not, the next consideration for an installer is how to prevent a fall.
Falls from height is the main cause of death in construction so proper procedures should be followed.
Don’t take any chances when you’re considering working at height. Work platforms with suitable guards should always be installed.
The Working at Height Regulations reinforces the hierarchy of fall prevention, which means a ladder should only be used if it is not reasonably practical to use other safer forms of access.
In some cases, a proper risk assessment should be carried out by a Health and Safety Executive, like me. If you’re unsure, I can help. I’ve got more than 18 years of Health and Safety experience.
Slips and trips
As a Chartered Health and Safety practitioner, there are many health and safety risks to consider. One of the biggest risks to a workforce are slips and trips.
At every project, there are dangers. But to help keep homeowners safe while you’re working at their properties, you should follow these rules.
- Make sure work areas are clean.
- Wear suitable footwear.
- Ensure you have adequate lighting.
- Keep an eye out for visitors to your work area.
- Agree on a safe work route to the workplace.
More than 4,000 people die prematurely every year as a result of exposure to asbestos. Window installers are particularly at risk.
Installers could disturb carcinogenic substances if the building was constructed before the mid- 1980s.
Compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 means it’s common for installers to find themselves in a situation where asbestos has been disturbed.
TIP: It’s perfectly reasonable for glazing installers to ask a client for their asbestos register or the specialist asbestos survey before starting work.
Keeping installers safe is why articles like this are so important. If you’re unsure about Health and Safety, you’re not on your own.
But this guide is all about educating people and increasing knowledge when it comes to Health and Safety.
The last thing you want to do, as an installer, is breach regulations and put yourself and others in danger.
Health and Safety is the law.