In-progress construction sites are typically hazardous areas. While workers are familiar with the site and trained and equipped to properly avoid hazards, the general public that may accidentally (or purposefully) wander onto the site are not.
During the holiday season, construction sites are left unmonitored more frequently, and securing your site in the absence of authorized personnel is key to eliminate issues that can arise from unsuspecting or unwanted visitors.
Fencing is a convenient way to ensure that only authorized personnel can access the site, though not every site is configured in such a way that fencing is a viable option. If you do have a boundary fence, it is important to thoroughly check the entire length for any breaks or gaps, and to make sure that it is supported properly and not in danger of falling over. Gates should be secured with heavy duty locks to deter those who are not authorized to enter the site.
Reducing visibility into the site is also helpful to deter those who might be curious about the site. This is most easily accomplished with fencing with privacy screens. Ensure all valuables and tools are taken off site or locked in a secure location. Heavy machinery that must remain on site that is out of view and properly secured poses less of a temptation for kids who might think climbing on it or attempting a test drive is a good idea.
Open excavations can pose a real threat to public safety. While it might seem like an open hole in the ground is a great place to play or hide, those in construction know the condition of the soil can change daily particularly with changing weather conditions. Excavations that were properly shored or in good condition prior to a shut-down of the site, can change radically in a short amount of time. Anything that cannot be back-filled should be secured with a cover.
4. Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials should be removed from the site and stored properly with appropriate GHS labels.
Before leaving a site unmonitored, electricity should be shut off at the main switch, and all access panels should be properly locked and secured.
6. Weather Preparation
Assess your site with changing weather conditions and storms in mind. Take into consideration the ability of uncompleted structures to withstand heavy winds, and secure any loose material or equipment that could be carried by a strong gust.
Clear your site of discarded construction materials and waste prior to shutting it down.
Make sure that all signage is securely in place. Known hazards should be clearly marked, and emergency contact information should be visibly posted. Don’t discount the importance of no trespassing signs, which should be posted at regular intervals around the boundary, and certainly at any gates or entrances to the site.
Depending on your site and the length of the project, you may wish to install surveillance cameras or even hire security personnel. Additionally you could ask the local police department to include the site on their rounds. Police likely won’t enter the site, but just drive by. Security personnel on the other hand can walk the entire site to ensure it remains secure, and alert you to any issues that may arise.
10. Emergency Plan
Make sure you have a plan in place to handle issues that may arise while you are away. Knowing who to call at a moment’s notice will make things go more smoothly. Decide who should be contacted within your company depending on the situation, and again, make sure your emergency contact information is clearly posted at the site. This will enable any emergency responders at the site to alert you quickly, and get to the right person. Make sure any vendors are aware of your emergency plan, particularly your safety consultant. They can be very helpful in guiding you in emergency situations.
There’s a good chance that at some point your construction site will be left unmonitored for a length of time. Being prepared for that eventuality and knowing what to do should an emergent situation arise will alleviate your worry and allow you to enjoy your time away for the holidays with family and friends.