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Builders urged to secure sites

01 September 2020

BUILDING SITE contractors are being urged to ensure they secure their sites when not being used to prevent people trespassing on them and putting their lives in danger.

The warning has come from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), with schools across the UK having now broken up for the summer holidays.

It comes just two weeks after a ten-year-old boy died following an accident at a site in Glasgow. While the cause of that incident is subject to investigation, IOSH says those in charge of construction sites must have measures in place to stop people accessing sites when they are not in operation.

The Institution, the global chartered body for health and safety professionals, is advising organisations that while they are focusing on managing the risks of Covid-19 transmission, they must remain vigilant with other health and safety risks.

Malcolm Shiels, Chair of IOSH’s Construction Group, said: “Just saying you shouldn’t go onto a building site to children will often not be enough. Boredom, peer pressure, the perceptive appeal of excitement and an apparent ready-made ‘playground’ could all be in the minds of children if they live close by or regularly pass a construction site.

“If they do access a site, they are putting their lives in danger. There are numerous risks they face on sites, such as excavations, machinery and hazardous substances.

“The best deterrents are education and a secure site provided by the principal contractor and IOSH urges all contractors to ensure their site is secure and prevents children being able to gain access.”

IOSH says among the measures contractors can take are boundary fencing which is at least two metres high as well as covering excavations and pits and removing access ladders. They also need to store building materials such as cement bags safely, so they don’t fall over, and lock hazardous substances away.

In addition to the measures that contractors can take, parents are also encouraged to warn children about the dangers of accessing sites. Mr Shiels, meanwhile, believes arranging visits to sites for children can be effective, so they can see the dangers themselves.