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There are a variety of biological hazards that may be present on a construction site and any of these could lead to disease if precautions are not taken to reduce the risks. Some of these diseases can be serious or fatal.


Not all sites will contain biological hazards. Sites where groundwork, refurbishment, or demolition work is taking place are more likely to be affected. Common hazards leading to potential for exposure to biological hazards that could cause disease include:


    • Rat infestation and exposure to rat urine - rat urine or water contaminated with it can cause Leptospirosis disease if it enters a cut or gets into the nose, mouth or eyes.

    • Contamination of the site with sewage - this can lead to infection with E.coli, a bacterium which can cause stomach problems or more serious ill health - sewage could also be contaminated with Hepatitis A.


Workers are vulnerable to biological hazard due to the following,

  • Poor sanitation practices: indiscriminate dumping, consumption of contaminated water or food

  • Has generally poor hygiene


Workers should practice good occupational hygiene including,

  • Washing hands and forearms before eating and drinking.

  • Covering existing cuts and grazes with waterproof dressings and/or gloves before starting work.

  • Taking meal breaks away from the main work area and consume food at designated rest area.


Chemical hazards and toxic substances pose a wide range of health hazards (such as irritation, sensitization, and carcinogenicity) and physical hazards (such as flammability, corrosion, and reactivity). If the exposure is not prevented or properly controlled, it can cause serious illness, sometimes even death. The effects of hazardous chemicals may be immediate or long-term and range from mild eye irritation to chronic lung disease.

Some examples of the effects of hazardous chemicals include:

• Skin burns or irritation caused by contact with a corrosive liquid;

• Being overcome or losing consciousness following inhalation of toxic fumes;

• Suffering acute symptoms such as headache or nausea within hours of inhalation;

• Poisoning by absorption through the skin of a toxic substance;

• Asthma;

• Dermatitis;

• Cancer occurring years after exposure to a carcinogenic substance;

• Genetic damage to offspring occurring years after exposure to a mutagenic substance.



• Eliminate the use of a harmful product or substance and use a safer one.

• Use a safer form of the product, eg paste rather than powder.

• Enclose the process so that the product does not escape.

• Have as few workers in harm’s way as possible.

• Provide personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, coveralls and a respirator. PPE must fit the wearer.


People are injured when they become part of the electrical circuit. Humans are more conductive than the earth (the ground we stand on) which means if there is no other easy path, electricity will try to flow through our bodies.

There are several injuries related to contact with electricity: electrocution (fatal), electric shock and burns.


§   Switch all tools OFF before connecting them to a power supply.

§   Check that the plug is not damaged and that the cable is properly secured with no internal wires visible.

§   Check the electrical cable is not damaged and has not been repaired with insulating tape or an unsuitable connector. Damaged cable should be replaced with a new cable by a competent person.

§   Position any trailing wires so that they are not a trip hazard and are less likely to get damaged.

§   Do not use electrical equipment in wet conditions.




Emergencies could range from gas leaks, power failures, chemical spills to bomb alerts or flooding. Make sure you know your part in this plan. You must be briefed on emergency procedures as part of your site induction. If you don’t know the safety requirements for emergencies ask. Preservation of life is more important than protection of property or animals. Staying calm and leading others to safety are better than trying to handle the emergency yourself unless you have specific duties to carryout in the emergency. Where applicable know your escape routes, especially if you are working in an unfamiliar place. Familiarise yourself with the route.



§  If you identify an emergency for example you spill a hazardous substance then you must act immediately in accordance with the procedure for that emergency. So if it is a chemical spill notify everyone in the immediate area ensuring your supervisor is made aware and if you have received the necessary training and where appropriate don the necessary personal protective equipment, obtain the correct spill kit and deal with the spillage. If you haven’t been trained, vacate the area and make your way to the correct assembly point.

§  Always keep your back to the escape route as you deal with the emergency, to ensure you are not cut off.


§  When emergency services or emergency team arrive, leave things to them unless they specifically ask. They have the training, the equipment and the experience, so keep out of their way until they say it’s OK to go return to the workplace via your emergency controller.



No matter what your position at the construction project, you need to know what to do in the event of an emergency. Emergencies are unplanned events. They come unexpectedly and may involve you. What will you do if an emergency occurs?



§   Learn and understand emergency procedures and assembly areas for the jobsite.

§   Understand alarms and evacuation routes.

§   Stay cool, don't panic, and call for help.

§   Know how to notify emergency response personnel.

§   Evacuate in orderly manner - do not run/rush/push others.




During work, workers often manually lift, carry, push or pull heavy objects, maintain uncomfortable postures, or strain their muscles. Ergonomics deals with manual lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling of heavy loads, over-exertion, awkward postures and repetitive actions or motions which can lead to an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs are painful, often crippling, disorders or illnesses of the hand, arm, neck, shoulder and/ or back.




  • Stretch the muscles every day before starting work.

  • Know your physical limitations. Do not attempt to perform activities when the work environment is not suited to you.

Back and Legs:

  • Have materials and supplies raised to waist level so bending is minimized.

  •If bending is required, bend at the knees and use the leg muscles to raise and lower the body.

  • Always ask for help if loads are too heavy or awkward.

Arms, Wrists and Hands:

  • When working with power tools or other hand-held objects, avoid situations where the wrist is bent.

  • Carry loads close to the body with a clear line of sight to the travel path.

  • Avoid using tools that vibrate continuously or aggressively, or require prolonged pinching or gripping


Eye protection must be worn by you where there is a risk of injury to the eyes.

Examples of work activities requiring eye protection are as follows:-

•    Cutting bricks or block with anything i.e. when using bolster hammer and cold chisel or cutting-off wheel.

   • The use of an abrasive wheel.

   • Striking of masonry nails.

   • Drilling, cutting or breaking metal or concrete.

•    • Welding or cutting steelwork.

   • Handling, spraying or brushing any substance which, if splashed into the eyes, will cause injuries.


In your own interest, make sure you wear protective goggles or glasses when instructed to do so.

The eye protection that is provided must be suitable for you and must be replaced immediately if lost or damaged. You must take care of the eye protectors given to you.



There are several types of fire extinguishers which can sometimes be identified by their color:- many will be colored red with a label identifying their type.



The risk of fire during construction increases as more materials are placed inside the structure.

CONDUCTION:    Heat being transmitted from one place to another.

CONVECTION:     Heat rises and carries burning matter into the air.

RADIATION:       Heat is transferred through a material, igniting combustibles at a distance.

DIRECT BURN:Fire ignites combustibles close by.

For a fire to thrive and spread it requires three things:

• fuel for the fire to burn
• air for the fire to breathe
• heat for the fire to continue burning.

Removal of any one of the sides of this Fire Triangle will extinguish the fire.




If you are undertaking hot works on site you must obtain a hot work permit and when in doubt, contact the Safety Department for further information and advice. Clear up waste after use – remember good housekeeping will reduce the risk of fire.


Good housekeeping and fire prevention go hand-in-hand, not only on site but in the home and the office as well. Fires can start anywhere at any time from:-

• Accumulated debris.

• The misuse of compressed gases and highly flammable liquids.

• The ignition of waste material, wood shavings and cellular plastic materials.

• The failure to recognize highly flammable materials and keep heat away from them.


Every individual on site should be aware of the fire risk, and know the precautions to prevent a fire and the action to be taken if fire does break out. Check the instructions on the notice board and find where the "muster points" are. Always know where fire extinguishers are kept.


üHave you inspected your fire extinguishers lately?

üAre they fully charged, accessible and ready for use?


The fact that fire extinguishers are our first line of defense in the event of a fire should warrant a periodic and thorough inspection. They should be kept clean to attract attention and must be easily accessible when needed.

Many fires are caused by sheer carelessness in drying wet clothes. Clothing should not be placed directly on to heaters or left in prolonged contact with heat.

Rubbish provides a good starting point for fire. Keep your work area clean and tidy and do not allow rubbish of any description to accumulate.



Two main causes of foot injuries are:-

   • Treading on sharp objects, such as nails, which pierce the soles of the foot.

   • Objects dropping causing crush injuries.

Both types of injury can be minimized by the use of proper safety footwear. Safety boots and shoes are available which have steel toe caps. Some also have spring steel plates in their soles. Totally unsuitable footwear, such as trainers, or sandals, which offer no protection are not permitted on construction sites.

Safety footwear of this type, made of leather or rubber, should always be worn on construction sites.



Hand-Arm Vibration is vibration transmitted into your hands and arms when using hand-held powered work equipment. Too much exposure to Hand-Arm Vibration can cause;

  • Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

  • Vibration White Finger

  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

HAVS affect the Nerves, Blood Vessels, Muscles and Joints of the Hand, Wrist and Arm and can become severely disabling if ignored. Early symptoms include;

  • Tingling and Numbness in the Fingers

  • Pins and Needles

  • Not being able to feel things properly

  • Loss of strength in your hands

  • Tips of your Fingers going White then Red

Tools which cause HAVS may include; Grinders, breaker tools, pneumatic spanners and vibro.


  • Ensure tools are properly maintained

  • Do not use defective tools

  • Report defects or faults immediately

  • Cutting tools should be sharp

  • Reduce the time spent on vibrating tools by varying our tasks

  • Don’t grip or force a tool more than is necessary

  • Wear gloves at all times

  • Massage and exercise your Fingers during work breaks


Hands and fingers are injured more often than other parts of the body. This is because of two reasons:-

•   Hands and fingers are required for most work activities.

•   Hands and fingers are vulnerable to crush and cut type injuries as well as exposure to harmful materials used at work and exposure to vibration and repetitive strain injuries. Injuries to hands and fingers can be caused by one or more of the following:-


I.    Severed fingers or hands due to rotating machines such as saws, cutting wheels.

Advice: Ensure guards are in place and operating.


II.   Crush injuries due to incorrect use of tools such as hammers. Contact with in running nip points on machinery.

Advice: Tools and equipment must be maintained. Defective equipment such as chisels with mushroom shaped ends must be replaced/repaired. In-running nip points such as chain and sprocket transmission must be guarded.


III.  Skin allergies such as dermatitis due to handling harmful materials such as engine oil.

Advice: Avoid skin contact. Wear suitable gloves if necessary. Wash and dry hands to remove any substance from the skin.







The head is particularly vulnerable to injury and accidents to the head are often fatal, or cause very serious injuries, such as brain damage or fractured skull. It has been proved beyond doubt that many deaths and head injuries could have been prevented, or their severity reduced, by wearing safety helmets. When wearing a hard hat always check the following points:-

  • Adjust the headband to suit your head size.

  • Check that the outer shell and harness is in good condition, without indentation or cracks.

  • Never paint the shell as some paints weaken the plastics used.

  • Use a chin-strap where necessary to avoid the possibility of the safety helmet falling off. This applies particularly to steel erectors.

  • Do not punch holes into the shell for attaching unauthorized equipment or for ventilation. Attachments for ear defenders or eye protection are available and should only be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Replace any helmet if it sustains a heavy impact, as the shell may be weakened.

  • Helmets must be in good condition and replaced according to the manufacturer's guidelines. This is usually every two years.




A worker’s exposure to hazardous materials on the job can be unknowingly brought back to a person’s home; heavy metals such as lead dust, concrete crusted clothing and variety of oils, greases and solvents can all be unintentionally poisoning you. As a worker who might be exposed to these hazards, you have a responsibility to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), practice good hygiene and take advantage of training programs provided by the company.




Clean clothing is a part of good hygiene. Maintaining good personal hygiene includes the clothes worn to work. A worker wearing oily, greasy clothing, or clothes that have toxic chemicals spilled on them, is likely to experience irritating rashes, boils or other skin problems. Work clothing should be changed daily. A daily shower and clean clothing reduces the chances of skin problems. Good personal hygiene all boils down to common sense - A daily shower, followed by clean clothing, and frequent washing of hands. Please inform your supervisor if you have fever before you start work.



Excessive noise emitted from plant, processes and tools can cause, over a period of time, progressive and irreversible loss of hearing. It can cause a ringing or rushing noise in the ears which will not disappear. Hearing loss can also make communication difficult which, in turn, may lead to accidents through instructions either not being heard or being misheard. Remember, deafness caused by excessive noise at work develops very gradually, but cannot be cured once the damage has been done. So-called "getting used to noise" can mean that there is already some hearing loss. Take proper precautions to protect your hearing.

Before working with noisy plant or in a noisy environment, remember the following:-

  • If it is necessary to shout to be heard by someone about one meter away, it is likely that there is a noise problem requiring action.

  • Where noise levels are shown to be excessive, personal ear protection must be worn at all times. Whether ear-plugs or ear protectors are used, they must fit perfectly and be treated carefully.

  • Ear protectors should be regularly inspected to make sure they are undamaged.

  • Ear plugs must be fitted correctly and inserted in the ear with clean hands.

  • Hearing protection must be worn in all areas where hearing protection warning signs are displayed.





In hot weather, the body cools itself mainly by sweating. The evaporation of your sweat regulates your body temperature. However, when you work strenuously and overexert in hot, humid weather, the body is less able to cool itself efficiently.

  Heat cramps

Heat cramps usually affect workers who sweat a lot during strenuous activity. This sweating depletes the body's salt and moisture levels. Low salt levels in muscles causes painful cramps. Heat cramps may also be a symptom of heat exhaustion.

  Heat exhaustion

Heat exhaustion is the body's response to an excessive loss of the water and salt, usually through excessive sweating. Workers most prone to heat exhaustion are those that are elderly, have high blood pressure, and those working in a hot environment.

  Heat stroke

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related disorder. It occurs when the body becomes unable to control its temperature: the body's temperature rises rapidly, the sweating mechanism fails, and the body is unable to cool down. When heat stroke occurs, the body temperature can rise to 41 Degree Celsius or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency treatment is not given.



Workers should avoid exposure to extreme heat, sun exposure, and high humidity when possible. When these exposures cannot be avoided, workers should take the following steps to prevent heat stress:

  • Wear light-coloured, loose-fitting, breathable clothing such as cotton.

  • Take more breaks in extreme heat and humidity.

  • Drink water frequently. Drink enough water that you never become thirsty. Approximately 1 cup every 15-20 minutes.

  • Be aware that protective clothing or personal protective equipment may increase the risk of heat stress.



Effective housekeeping can eliminate some workplace hazards and help get a job done safely and properly. Poor housekeeping can frequently contribute to accidents by hiding hazards that cause injuries. If the sight of debris, clutter and spills is accepted as normal, then other more serious health and safety hazards may be taken for granted.

Poor housekeeping can be a cause of accidents, such as:

  • tripping over loose objects on floors, stairs and platforms

   • being hit by falling objects

   • slipping on greasy, wet or dirty surfaces

   • striking against projecting, poorly stacked items or misplaced material

   • cutting, puncturing, or tearing the skin of hands or other parts of the body on projecting nails, wire or steel strapping

To avoid these hazards, a workplace must "maintain" order throughout a workday. Although this effort requires a great deal of management and planning, the benefits are many.




Housekeeping order is "maintained" not "achieved." Cleaning and organization must be done regularly, not just at the end of the shift. Integrating housekeeping into jobs can help ensure this is done. A good housekeeping program identifies and assigns responsibilities for the following:

   • clean up during the shift

   • day-to-day cleanup

   • waste disposal

   • removal of unused materials

   • inspection to ensure cleanup is complete


A “near miss” or accident without injury is easy to shrug off and forget. But, there is a danger in brushing off accidents that don’t hurt, harm or damage. The next time it happens, it could result in serious damage, injury or death.

For every accident there are usually several contributing factors, most of which can be controlled. By investigating the root causes of an accident, steps can be taken to eliminate the hazard and improve the work system. Sometimes there are multiple causes for an accident involving: equipment (unguarded machinery), environment (poor lighting or noise level), people (procedures not understood or not followed) or management (allowed shortcuts). All incidents should be reported to the supervisor so that accident/injury report forms can be completed. Once an investigation is completed, solutions should be sought to prevent the accident from occurring again. Workers should daily inspect the work area for unsafe conditions or unsafe actions and, if found, report them to the supervisor. They can happen again and again until they cause injury, so tell your supervisor about every accident, no matter how minor it may seem at the time. Remember, the reports need to be immediate. The report you make may be crucial to helping prevent the next accident. You never know when an incident may be repeated and result in an injury or even death.



Many accidents occurred due to unsecured loads or loads that slipped off during lifting.

The following are some common hazards associated with lifting of loads:

•   defective or damaged lifting gears such as slings, hooks, inserts, eyes, shackles;

•   improper rigging of loads;

•   lack of proper receptacles for loose loads such as bricks; or

•   under capacity of lifting gears.



Lifting supervisor must ensure that the crane operator conduct pre-use inspection before each lifting operation to ensure that the equipment is suitable, safe and correctly installed for the lifting operation. The pre-use checks must include:

•   visual inspection of the lifting equipment;

•   functional test of the lifting equipment;

•   functional test of the safety system and devices; and

•   functional test of the emergency stop device.


Lifting gears must also be inspected to ensure that they are free of any faults or defects before any lifting operation can begin. Lifting supervisor must not allow the lifting operation to be carried out if any defects are spotted during the pre-use checks by the crane operator until all the faults of the cranes are fully rectified. Similarly, lifting gears must not be used if defects are spotted and reported by the riggers.


Where it can be avoided, loads should not be suspended over occupied areas. Where it cannot be avoided, the risks to people must be minimized by safe systems of work and appropriate precautions. Where loads are suspended for significant periods, the area below them should be classed as a danger zone, where access is restricted.


Lighting at work is very important to the health and safety of everyone using the workplace. The quicker and easier it is to see a hazard, the more easily it is avoided. The types of hazard present at work therefore determine the lighting requirements for safe operations. Poor lighting can cause symptoms like eyestrain, migraine and headache.


There are several lighting hazards in the workplace which can affect the health and safety of workers. Typical risks from lighting are:


ž  Improper lighting installation and maintenance

ž  Glare

ž  Heat radiation




ž  General lighting illuminates the whole area and use additional task light if required.

ž  Know the work that need to be done and request for additional lighting if required

ž  The types of the lighting suitable for the work eg. spotlight, headlight, explosion prove lighting




Manual handling injuries can have serious implications for the employer and the person who has been injured. They can occur almost anywhere in the workplace and heavy manual labor, awkward postures, repetitive movements of arms, legs and back or previous/existing injury can increase the risk.



Think before lifting/handling.

Plan the lift. Can handling aids be used? Where is the load going to be placed? Will help be needed with the load? Remove obstructions such as discarded wrapping materials. For a long lift, consider resting the load midway on a table or bench to change grip.


Get a good hold.

Where possible, the load should be hugged as close as possible to the body. This may be better than gripping it tightly with hands only.


Don’t lift or handle more than can be easily managed.

There is a difference between what people can lift and what they can safely lift. If in doubt, seek advice or get help.



Workplace noise hazard is excessive noise generated by work activities such as machineries, operations and processes. Typical high noise works include use of pneumatic tools, cutting and grinding and operation of machinery. Noise in the workplace can cause hearing damage when it occurs at high levels or for long periods of time. This can result in temporary or even permanent hearing loss.



What noise hazards should you look for?

  • Noisy work areas

  • Loud equipment

  • Explosive sounds



What safe practices should be used when dealing with noise hazards?

  - Use noise monitoring to determine where hearing protection will be required

  - Signs should be posted in areas where hearing protection is required

  - Wear hearing protection before entering noise hazard areas



Physical hazards are the most common and will be present in most workplaces at one time or another. They include unsafe conditions that can cause injury, illness and death. They are typically easiest to spot but, sadly, too often overlooked because of familiarity, lack of knowledge, resistance to spending time or money to make necessary improvements or simply delays in making changes to remove the hazards.

Examples of physical hazards include:

  - Unguarded machinery and moving machinery parts: guards removed or moving parts that a worker can accidentally touch

  - Constant loud noise

  - High exposure to sunlight/ultraviolet rays, heat or cold

  - Working from heights, including ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any raised work area

  - Working with mobile equipment such as fork lifts (operation of fork lifts and similar mobile equipment in the workplace requires significant additional training and experience)

  - Spills on floors or tripping hazards, such as blocked aisle or cords running across the floor.


  • Eliminating the hazard. Physically removing it is the most effective hazard control eg. removing cables that are not in used

  • Substitution, the second most effective hazard control, involves replacing something that produces a hazard (similar to elimination) with something that does not produce a hazard

  • The third most effective means of controlling hazards is engineered controls. These do not eliminate hazards, but rather isolate people from hazards eg. machine guarding.

  • Administrative controls are changes to the way people work eg procedure changes, employee training, and installation of signs and warning labels.

  • PPE is the least effective means of controlling hazards because of the high potential for damage to render PPE ineffective.


Here is some training to learn about the caught/crush hazards and pinch points specific to your tasks, tools, and equipment so you can take precautions. Look for possible pinch points before you start a task.  Take the time to plan out your actions and decide on the necessary steps to work safely.  Give your work your full attention.  Don't joke around, daydream, or try to multi-task on the job-most accidents occur when workers are distracted.  Read and follow warning signs posted on equipment.  If you value all that your hands can do, THINK before you put them in a hazardous spot. Machinery can pose a hazard with moving parts, conveyors, rollers and rotating shafts. 


  • Dress appropriately for work with pants and sleeves that are not too long or too loose.  Shirts should be fitted or tucked in

  • Do not wear any kind of jewelry. 

  • Tie back long hair and tuck braids and ponytails behind you or into your clothing. 

  • Wear the appropriate, well-fitting gloves for your job.

  • Don't reach around, under or through a guard and always report missing of broken barriers to your supervisor.

  • Properly maintain and always use the machine and tool guards provided with your equipment; they act as a barrier between the moving parts and your body.

  • Never reach into a moving machine.  Turn equipment off and use lockout/tag-out procedures before adjusting, clearing a jam, repairing, or servicing a machine.


PPE stands for personal protective equipment which we use in our daily work activities. Hard hats, safety glasses, face shields, hearing protectors, gloves and safety shoes! What do all of these items have in common? They are all various forms of personal protective equipment, designed to help protect you from serious injury. Personal protective equipment is designed to protect you, but it only functions if you wear it. There is nothing automatic about eye protection. Safety glasses are of value to you only when you use them as they are meant to be used. A hard hat is a beautifully engineered product—it is designed to protect your head from serious injury, but only if you wear it. Hearing protectors are proven effective in preventing hearing loss, but if not worn, or worn incorrectly, they can't do their job. Just like those gloves you are required to wear when doing certain jobs or handling specific chemicals, they only work if you use them. Do yourself a favor obtain the protective equipment for your job, and hopefully you demand, and wear it properly. Personal Protective Equipment can be cumbersome, uncomfortable, hot, etc. and employees occasionally don’t wear it even though they know they may be risking injury. Any worker who fails to wear required PPE should be disciplined.



Psychosocial hazards include but aren’t limited to stress, violence and other workplace stressors.

There are circumstances, however, in which work can have adverse consequences for health and wellbeing.

Deliberate and intentional behavior (e.g., suicide actions);

  • Willful negligence;

  • Criminal intentions (e.g., intention to steal); and

  • Terrorist intentions (e.g., intention to murder).


Psychosocial hazards in the workplace contribute to work related stress and lead to range of unwanted incidents which include:

  • Bullying;

  • Harassment;

  • Occupational violence;

  • Exposure to alcohol and drug misuse.


Alcohol use in the workplace can result in a variety of negative outcomes for workers

Risks to workers include:

  • Adverse physical health effects, e.g. liver cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, alcohol dependence and heart failure.

  • Adverse mental health effects – evidence indicates alcohol consumption can contribute to poorer mental health

  • Loss of income, due to absence or dismissal 

  • Possible violence – people are more likely to behave violently under the influence of alcohol. In fact, people are twice as likely to be physically or verbally abused by a person under the influence of alcohol 


A permit to work is a document that controls the undertaking of a task involving sufficient hazards to require a written record of hazard identification, control measure verification, authorization to start, acceptance, return and cancellation. These tasks must not be started until the permit has been written, and received by the persons undertaking the work.

Dos and don’ts:

  • Do make yourself aware of the permit to work system on your site.

  • Do ensure you have a permit to work for the task to be carried out.

  • Don’t start work without a completed permit you may endanger you colleagues.

  • Always have the permit to work with you at the job site.


Radiation is generally classed as either ‘ionising’ or ‘non-ionising’, with the former generally having more energy than the latter. These include X-rays, gamma rays and particulate radiation (alpha, beta and neutron radiation) produced from X-ray sets or radioactive substances.


The most common occurring when working in the construction site is ultraviolet (UV) rays, eg from welding or the sun. UV radiation can produce an injury to the surface and mucous membrane (conjunctiva) of the eye called "arc eye," "welders' eye" or "arc flash." These names are common names for "conjunctivitis" - an inflammation of the mucous membrane of the front of the eye. The symptoms include:

ž   pain - ranging from a mild feeling of pressure in the eyes to intense pain in severe instances

ž   tearing and reddening of the eye and membranes around the eye

ž   sensation of "sand in the eye" or abnormal sensitivity to light

ž   inability to look at light sources (photophobia)


Do ensure appropriate shielding and personal protective equipment is used to reduce exposure when working and to protect the skin and eyes when working with hazardous sources of infra-red (eg molten metal) and UV (eg welding) 


It is sometimes necessary to work in atmospheres in which hazardous dust or fumes are present. Ideally, the contaminant should be controlled at source to minimize the hazard, but this is not always possible so safety equipment will be provided by your employer for your protection. Respiratory protective equipment (respirators or breathing apparatus) should be selected to prevent the wearer from breathing dangerous levels of dust, gas or vapor or to provide oxygen. A respirator suitable for use in one set of circumstances may be useless in another, so proper selection is essential if wearers are to receive adequate protection. A respirator which gives perfect protection against a dangerous fume will be useless if there is a lack of oxygen.



All equipment, with the exception of disposable types, requires cleaning, disinfecting and inspection after use and before wearing by another person. Cartridges and filters have a limited life, which can vary depending upon the environment in which they are used. Manufacturers' recommendations should be closely followed. Equipment must be properly stored when not in use.


Training in the use and application of respiratory protective equipment is essential for all types of equipment, and it should only be worn by persons who are thoroughly familiar with it and know the procedure to adopt in case of emergency.


Risk assessment that leads to the development of safe system of work is the basis of a good safety and health management. Risk assessments must be completed for tasks that have a significant risk. So before starting any task you must stop and think:

  • What are you about to do?

  • What are the potential hazards associated with the task, or what can potentially hurt me?

  • How may the risks from the hazards be controlled?

  • What is the safe way of doing the job?



If you have any concerns or doubts after asking the questions, stop and consult your supervisor or manager. Undertake an employee risk assessment for all activities. Where significant hazards are present, your manager or supervisor will help prepare a safe system of work for the job. The safe system of work is a written list of operations, to be carried out in a specific sequence, in order to complete the task safely. It will also include;

  • Who is in-charge

  • What PPE is required

  • Where and how you isolate the equipment

  • Emergency contact number


Moving machinery can cause injuries in many ways:

§   People can be struck and injured by moving parts of machinery or ejected material. Parts of the body can also be drawn in or trapped between rollers, belts and pulley drives.

§   Sharp edges can cause cuts and severing injuries, sharp-pointed parts can cause stabbing or puncture the skin, and rough surface parts can cause friction or abrasion.

§   People can be crushed; both between parts moving together or towards a fixed part of the machine, wall or other object, and two parts moving past one another can cause shearing.

§   Parts of the machine, materials and emissions (such as steam or water) can be hot or cold enough to cause burns or scalds and electricity can cause electrical shock and burns.

§   Injuries can also occur due to machinery becoming unreliable and developing faults or when machines are used improperly through inexperience or lack of training.





§   Choose the right machine for the job.

§   Check the machine is well maintained and fit to be used, ie appropriate for the job and working properly and that all the safety measures are in place – guards, isolators, locking mechanisms, emergency off switches.

§   Use the machine properly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

§   Make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective clothing and equipment required for that machine, such as safety glasses, hearing protection and safety shoes.


X Don’t…

§   Use a machine or appliance that has a danger sign or tag attached to it. Danger signs should only be removed by an authorized person who is satisfied that the machine or process is now safe.

§   Wear dangling chains, loose clothing, and rings or have loose, long hair that could get caught up in moving parts.

§   Distract people who are using machines.

§   Remove any safeguards, even if their presence seems to make the job more difficult.


Gas cylinders are used in different types of work in the workplace. For example, acetylene cylinders are used for gas cutting works. Flammable gases under pressure can potentially explode and seriously injure workers if the gas cylinders are not handled properly.

Hazards posed by gas cylinders:

The pressurized gases in the gas cylinder can lead to:

§   Fire/explosion due to ignition of flammable gases or fluids within the cylinder

§   Exposure to harmful gases/chemicals due to leakage

§   Persons being struck by the force of escaped gas, propelled cylinder or broken parts due to the sudden release of pressurized contents (as a result of break or impact to the cylinder)

 The weight of the cylinder can cause:

§   Physical injuries when struck by fallen/toppled cylinder

§   Injuries or Musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) from poor manual handling practices



§   Use cylinder trolley or hand truck when moving gas cylinders within the worksite.

§   Close gas cylinder’s valve:

  - Before moving the cylinder.

  - When the work is finished.

  - When the cylinder is empty.

§   Store cylinders upright and secure the cylinders by the body with straps to a cylinder cart to prevent cylinders from tipping or falling over.

§   Store gas cylinders away from sources of ignition and other flammable materials

§   Refer to the Safety Data Sheet for the appropriate PPE.



A good attitude is a habit you can learn!

§   Focus. A good attitude means you are focused on the present task. How well are you concentrating? If something else is on your mind or an interesting conversation is going on nearby, you may be distracted. If you're tired or bored, a slip is easy.

§   Time. A good attitude means taking time to do the job right. Sure, it takes longer to put on that extra equipment. But is saving a few minutes worth a painful injury? A good attitude also means managing your time well. It may help you to make a list of what you need to do each day. Number the jobs going from most important to least. If you can do them in that order, you'll know you're doing the most important things and are less likely to rush.

§   Strength. No, we don't mean muscle strength. What we mean is the strength to do what's right. Others may want you to take shortcuts or fool around. They may ask you to "forget" to file an accident report. A good attitude means you have the strength to do the right thing.

§   Responsibility. If you care about yourself and others at work, you'll take responsibility even when a certain task "isn't my job." Wouldn't you appreciate it if someone had cleaned up that broken glass instead of leaving it for you to find as slivers in your hand? A good attitude means thinking of yourself as part of a team. Everyone helps make it a winning one.

§   Risk. There's no way to avoid all risks. (Just by getting in your car you're taking a chance). But you can weigh the risks of doing a job in a certain way. Even if the risk is one in a thousand, it's not worth it. A good attitude means being smart and avoid taking risks whenever you can.




All slips, trips and falls have the potential to become Lost Time Injuries. In addition to the obvious incidents that can occur on sites, incidents can also occur in other areas such as the entry / exit of road vehicles, in the compound and in service areas such as a canteen.


   • Unsafe ladders, steps and scaffolds.

   • Slippery surfaces and improper footwear for the working environment.

   • Obstructions in and on floors and walkways.

   • Poor lighting.

   • Access to / from vehicles.



   • Inspect ladders and steps prior to working and ensure that the ladder is set on firm, level ground at the correct incline (1 in 4). Use two hands whilst climbing, do not over reach when working from a ladder. When a harness or fall arrestors are being worn, remember to check the condition of the equipment before use and check that people know how to use them.

   • Inspect scaffolds prior to working and ensure that the scaffold is complete, the working platforms are clear from tripping hazards and, in the case of mobile scaffolds, the castors are locked to prevent movement.

   • Avoid slips by keeping watch for hazardous working conditions - wet floors, oil and grease. Promptly clean up the spillage; do not leave it for someone else.

   • Avoid trips by maintaining a good standard of housekeeping and ensure that materials are stored and access-ways are kept clear.



Many of the materials, liquids and substances which we use on sites are highly flammable, e.g. solvents, petrol, cellulose based paints and thinners, etc. These types of materials must be kept in secure containers. Containers used for diesel should be clearly marked. Any empty containers should be marked "EMPTY" and stored apart from the full containers. Small containers carrying highly flammable liquids should be stored in fire resistant cabinets or bins.

Gas cylinders should be stored in the open air, out of direct sunlight and away from any sources of ignition. The cylinders should be stored in the upright position at all times. Signs marked "HIGHLY FLAMMABLE - ACETYLENE" should be displayed. Any empty cylinders should be marked "EMPTY" and stored apart from the full cylinders. A sufficient number of dry powder extinguishers should be placed around the storage area. Where the cylinder cannot be stored in the open air, they should be kept in a storeroom which is constructed of non-combustible materials and is adequately ventilated.



Smoking is NOT permitted in storage areas where flammable liquids and materials are kept.

Flammable or explosive liquids must not be discharged into drains.





In construction, working outdoors in all sorts of weather is just part of the job. Because you can't stop working when it gets hot, it's important to know how to protect yourself from heat and what to do if someone on your team gets overheated. Work using torches or welding can expose you to heat, burns, and overexertion that can lead to serious injuries and heat illness.


Dress to protect yourself from heat and burns. Wear light-colored, flame-resistant clothing with long sleeves and cuffless long pants. Wear a hard hat, safety boots with a non-slip sole and heel, and leather or heat-resistant gloves. Face shields, side-shielded safety glasses, and goggles can protect your eyes and a respirator can guard against fume exposures.

If you're not used to working in heat, start out slowly. Take it easy for a few days. Save strenuous exercise for cooler weather. Drink plenty of water- at least eight ounces (one glass) every 20-30 minutes while on the job. Avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks, which can cause cramps. Wear loose and light clothing. Pay attention to warning signs- if you don't feel good, take a break.


Toolbox safety meetings are intended to help workers recognize and control hazards that may be found on construction sites. Safety talks advise workers of existing or potential dangers to their health and safety. Regularly held toolbox meetings are a method used to reinforce the message that company health and safety issues are important to both the employers and the workers. Although safety meetings do not replace proper training, the topics presented may be the only on the job training some new workers receive about a particular safety procedure. The safety topics presented reminds experienced workers that health and safety forms a regular part of the work process and that fellow workers learn from their example, good or bad. Communication and consultation are some ways to improve incident prevention, and reduce injuries and ill health at work.



Most of us know that workplace accidents are caused by only two things - unsafe acts or practices, and unsafe conditions. Some of us even know that 9 out of 10 accidents are the result of unsafe acts, or things we do when we know better. As a worker you control the first cause, Unsafe Acts.


For example: A worker uses equipment that is defective or damaged, or they may use good equipment in a careless or other unsafe manner. Other examples of unsafe acts include disregarding posted warning signs, failure to wear a hard hat, smoking near flammables or explosives, working too close to power lines, handling chemicals or other hazardous materials improperly, putting your body or any part of it onto the unsafe access of a machine, or lifting material incorrectly.


Why take a chance in the first place? Only you can decide to take the time to do your job safely and correctly the first time.


Most of us know that workplace accidents are caused by only two things - unsafe acts or practices, and unsafe conditions. Recognizing unsafe conditions, or hazards in the workplace, is not just safety department responsibility.  It is everyone’s responsibility from the most junior employee to the site Project Manager - to identify hazards and make suggestions on how to fix the problems.


Examples include inadequate or improperly installed guard rails or a lack of any guarding at all, which can lead to an accident. Insufficient illumination, poor ventilation, electrical grounding requirements not followed, too few fire extinguishers available, containers that are not labeled, careless disposal of waste or excess material - these are just a few of many unsafe conditions that may be caused by you, your co-workers, or even subcontractors at your site.


There are three steps to follow in recognizing unsafe conditions:

1.     Look for trouble (the unsafe condition)

2.     Report it

3.     Act to prevent it from happening again


Vibration is transmitted into your hands and arms when using hand-held powered work equipment. Too much exposure to Hand-Arm Vibration can cause;

§   Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS)

§   Vibration White Finger

§   Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

HAVS affect the Nerves, Blood Vessels, Muscles and Joints of the Hand, Wrist and Arm and can become severely disabling if ignored. Early symptoms include;

§   Tingling and Numbness in the Fingers

§   Pins and Needles

§   Not being able to feel things properly

§   Loss of strength in your hands

§   Tips of your Fingers going White then Red

Tools which cause HAVS may include; Grinders, breaker tools, pneumatic spanners and vibro.


ž  Ensure tools are properly maintained

§   Do not use defective tools

§   Report defects or faults immediately

ž  Cutting tools should be sharp

§   Reduce the time spent on vibrating tools by varying our tasks

§   Don’t grip or force a tool more than is necessary

ž  Wear gloves at all times

§   Massage and exercise your Fingers during work breaks



Falls remains a major cause for workplace fatalities over past years, contributing to more than a third of total workplace fatalities yearly. Work at heights can result in serious workplace injuries and even death regardless the duration of work or distance of fall, if the necessary safety measures are not in place.



§   Some incidents were caused by workers using uncertified equipment or equipment that had yet to be approved. One common example was the use of scaffolds that have not been certified safe. Scaffolds that are safe for use carry a green tag.

§   Workers should use safety equipment properly despite the discomfort and inconvenience that may arise from the use of the safety equipment (most commonly the individual fall arrest system).

§   One common unsafe practice noticed was the frequent use of unauthorized and often unsafe routes of access in order to hasten work. Such shortcuts should not be allowed and workers should be reminded to use the identified safe means of access.


It is also very important for persons who are working at height to be competently trained in the work to be done, aware of the risks involved and follow the required safe work procedures which include the use of proper personal protective equipment.


Every entry into a confined space is potentially hazardous. Entry may only proceed if it is in accordance with a proper safe system of work (permit to work). Places which are known as confined spaces include chambers, manholes, sewers, tanks, pits, etc. Many dangers exist and these include oxygen deprivation or suffocation. Air contains approximately 21% oxygen.  At a level below 17% oxygen, breathing becomes difficult and death may occur. In toxic atmospheres due to toxic (poisonous) gases, e.g. hydrogen sulphide, carbon monoxide, and inflammable atmospheres, some gases need only be present in small quantities, e.g. methane, white spirit.



Prior to entry into a confined space, everyone must be aware of the dangers that exist.  There will be a need for a safe system of work and the procedures in order to carry out the work safely.

§  Any person entering a confined space must be trained. The extent of training needed will vary according to the circumstances.

§  Apply PTW (Confined Space), ensure adequate lighting, ventilation and the confined space are certified fit for entry by Confined Space Assessor.

§  Entry into a confined space must not be made unless a special gas monitor is present to monitor gases in the space. If a danger exists, an alarm will sound.

§  Confined space attendant to control and monitor workers entering the confined space.

§  For work to be done safely in a confined space, the use of Personal Protective Equipment must be considered.  This includes overalls, respirators (not paper masks), gloves and wellingtons.


Chemicals are a major part of our everyday life at home, work and play. Examples include toxics, corrosives, solvents and numerous other substances. As long as we take proper precautions, these substances can be handled safely. Chemicals you may use at work are solvents, fuels, paint, lubricants, etc. We are exposed to chemicals by these ways.


Inhalation - Breathing in dusts, mists and vapors

Ingestion - Chemical accidentally enters the mouth due to spill or splash

Absorption - Skin contact with a chemical

Injection - Forcing an agent into the body through a needle or a high-pressure device



You can protect yourself against chemical hazards by:

- Reading container labels, material safety data sheets (MSDSs) and safe-work instructions before you handle a chemical.

  - Using specified personal protective equipment (PPE) that may include chemical-splash goggles, a respirator, safety gloves, apron, steel-toed shoes, safety glasses with side shields, etc. Ensure the PPE fits properly and you are trained in its use.

  - Inspecting all PPE before you use them. Look for defects in the equipment such as cracks, missing parts, rips, etc. Ensure your respirator has the proper chemical cartridge for the particular chemical hazard. Change cartridges when it is necessary.

  - Knowing the location of safety showers and eyewash stations and how to use them.

  - Washing your hands before eating, especially after handling chemicals.



One of the key issues associated with hand tool safety is choosing and using the right tool. Unfortunately, many people use tools improperly, where they improvise with what they have on hand.



§   Always provide training on how to choose the right tool for the job, how to correctly use each tool, and how to identify when tools need repair.

§   Select the right tool for the job. Substitutes increase the chance of having an accident.

§   Inspect tools for defects before use. Replace or repair defective tools.

§   Wear safety glasses or goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles) and well-fitting gloves appropriate for the hazards to which you may be exposed when doing various tasks.

§   Maintain tools carefully. Keep them clean and dry, and store them properly after each use.


Powered tools are a common part of our everyday lives and are present in nearly every industry. However, these simple tools can be hazardous and have the potential for causing severe injuries when used or maintained improperly. The employer is responsible for the safe condition of tools and equipment used by employees but the employees have the responsibility for properly using and maintaining tools.


Before starting your work,

§   Use the right tool for the job. Match the tool to the task

§   All users of hand and power tools must receive initial training on how to safely operate the tool.

§   Read the tool’s instruction manual, and follow use and maintenance guidelines



When using the powered tools,

§   Examine all tools for damage before each use. Inspect power cords. If damage is found, take the tool out of service and report the condition to your supervisor.

§   Unplug tools before installing, adjusting and changing any accessory or attachment

§   Make sure all safety guards and devices are in place.

ž  Do not use compressed air to clean people.

§   Always wear the appropriate personal protective equipment. Safety glasses and gloves should be worn while operating most power tools. Other PPE may also be necessary.


During work, workers often manually lift, carry, push or pull heavy objects, maintain uncomfortable postures, or strain their muscles. Ergonomics deals with manual lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling of heavy loads, over-exertion, awkward postures and repetitive actions or motions which can lead to an increased risk of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). MSDs are painful, often crippling, disorders or illnesses of the hand, arm, neck, shoulder and/ or back.




§   Stretch the muscles every day before starting work.

§   Know your physical limitations. Do not attempt to perform activities when the work environment is not suited to you.

Back and Legs:

§   Have materials and supplies raised to waist level so bending is minimized.

§   If bending is required, bend at the knees and use the leg muscles to raise and lower the body.

§   Always ask for help if loads are too heavy or awkward.

Arms, Wrists and Hands:

§   When working with power tools or other hand-held objects, avoid situations where the wrist is bent.

§   Carry loads close to the body with a clear line of sight to the travel path.

§   Avoid using tools that vibrate continuously or aggressively, or require prolonged pinching or gripping