Workplace safety is something everyone needs to take seriously, especially considering that 401 workers died on construction sites in Australia between 2003 and 2013 according to Safe Work Australia.
Maintaining superior workplace health and safety is extremely important to us here at Future Fitouts. We’re proud to have SAI certification in place which covers the construction and project management of commercial, office, industrial and retail fitouts, and refurbishments, including make goods and de-fits. With SAI certification and a solid Work Health and Safety Policy in place, we’re in the best position possible to share some guidance and knowledge about what safety measures are required when undertaking a fitout.
We know that safety standards are in place to protect clients, contractors, works and members of the public, which is why we lead the way in Work Health and Safety within our industry. Take a look at our Work Health and Safety Policy to see exactly what we have in place. But if you already have a fitout project underway, what elements should you be looking out for to ensure the project is being run safely?
1. Assessing and Eliminating Risk
Every worksite has an element of risk, so to prevent or minimise this risk, it first needs to be assessed. All potential risks should be assessed to ensure the health of workers is maintained and the conditions at the workplace is in suitable condition to prevent any illness or injury from occurring.
Any illness or injury amongst the workers would usually arise from the work being conducted. However, for any high-risk tasks, it may not be reasonable or practical to eliminate these risks, so instead, measures need to be put in place to minimise those risks by implementing adequate safety resources.
High risk areas where hazards and control measures need to be in place includes:
- Demolition work
- Excavation work
- Confined spaces
- Hazardous manual tasks
- Noise management and hearing loss prevention at work
- Managing and preventing falls
- How to manage and control asbestos in the workplace
- How to safely remove asbestos
All foreseeable hazards must be identified in advance. This is common practice on all compliant work sites and should be expected.
2. Having Adequate Safety Resources & Equipment
All construction sites need adequate safety resources in place to mitigate any risks. During the process of eliminating and minimising those risks, these safety resources are put in place:
- Hard hats – To protect workers heads from falling objects
- High-Vis vests – So workers can be easily seen at all times
- Construction cones – To corner off or identify any hazards
- Relevant signage – Such as ‘slippery when wet’ or ‘danger no entry’ signs keeping the public out of construction areas.
- Eye protection – Protect eyes from hazardous dust and fumes.
- Foot protection – To prevent foot injury from dropped objects.
- Ear muffs – To protect ears from loud construction noise.
Workers should also have the right tools for the job. Each piece of equipment used on a job site should be ideally suited to the task at hand and this equipment also needs to be well maintained to ensure it functions properly and safely.
3. Safety Information, Training & Supervision
It should go without saying that all workers working on your fitout must be qualified or hold an apprenticeship in the trade they are completing at your premises, so the work is completed properly and safely. For any apprentices or for certain types of tasks such as lifting and transporting heavy materials, supervision is also needed to ensure safety procedures are being carried out.
In order for any construction work to be carried out, any worker must also complete an introductory safety training course which is known as ‘general construction induction training’ or ‘white card’ training. That means everyone undertaking work on your site will be thoroughly trained on safety and be provided with any relevant safety information involving the tasks they will be completing before they begin work. Same goes for any site wide safety processes or hazards that all workers need to be aware of.
4. A Safety Focused Project Manager
So, who’s responsible for ensuring safety is maintained? The project manager will be the one to inform contractors about the WHS management plan in place for the fitout project, making sure everyone is aware of the safety measures involved.
As outlined on the Safe Work Australia Website, a PCBU that carries out construction work (which would be your fitout project manager) must manage and control WHS risks associated with the work being carried out on the site.
The project manager must ensure that a construction site is secured from unauthorised access. They are also responsible for making sure all safety duties are carried out by all parties working onsite.
This role is necessary on all job sites to ensure that all safety measures are being carried out and followed through by all workers.
5. Safety Reviews
After a particular task or even a whole project is completed, reviews should be carried out by the project manager to clearly understand the outcomes of the safety measures put in place. That way any area that was overlooked or could use improvement can be rectified for next time.
This is why it pays to have an experienced fitout project manager on the job who has conducted multiple safety reviews. These safety reviews are then used to further improve and perfect safety processes for all fitouts in the future.
Fitouts Carried Out Safely with Future Fitouts
Safety should never be compromised on any fitout project. That’s why it’s always worthwhile to have a professional fitout company on your side who always makes sure the project runs smoothly while also making sure workplace health and safety standards are met. Call us on 1300 368 461to find out more about our fitout services.