The Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM 2015) are the primary set of rules governing construction projects. It applies to all construction and building work and includes every type of project from new build and conversions to refurbishment and demolition.
Part of the law requires those in charge of construction projects to carry out operations without posing a danger to the public. This includes other workers who can potentially be affected by the construction work.
According to HSE inspector David Kirkpatrick, construction companies must make it a priority to secure their construction sites to prevent access by unauthorised parties. These sites can be full of hazards that vulnerable people such as children may not be able to fully understand.
Under CDM 2015, the project client should provide all necessary information about the following particulars:
- Site boundaries
- Usage of land bordering the construction site
- Site access
- Steps to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing the site
This information will guide the measures taken by contractors. Key issues that need to be addressed are:
- Managing access to the site
- Any hazards that could present a danger to the public
- Vulnerable groups that may be affected
All construction sites must have:
- Defined measures to manage access across designated boundaries and,
- Steps to prevent unauthorised people from gaining access to the work site
While there has been a decline in the numbers of children being injured or killed on construction sites, complacency must be avoided. Two or three children die every year after accessing building sites, and many more are seriously injured.
It’s not just children who are at risk but also other members of the public, such as passers-by, can be injured by:
- Tools or materials that fall outside the boundaries of the job site
- Tripping and falling into trenches
- Being hit by moving construction vehicles
For maximum efficacy, the pre-construction information from the client should include:
- All project boundaries
- Information about adjacent land use
- Access information
- Measures to keep unauthorised people out
To manage site access, the following are required.
To manage public risk, boundaries must be defined by suitable fencing. The fence type should be consistent with the type of site and the surroundings. Contractors need to determine what the perimetre will consist of, supply the fencing, and maintain it once erected.
Questions that contractors must ask themselves include:
- What is the type and nature of the construction work being performed
- How heavily populated is the area?
- Who will need to visit the site while work is being carried out?
- Will children be attracted to the site?
- What are the characteristics of the site? For example, location, proximity to other buildings, current site boundaries.
In populated areas, this will typically mean a mesh fence around two metres high or hoarding around the construction site.
The primary contractor must take adequate measures to prevent unauthorised parties from accessing the site.
- People may be restricted to certain areas or authorised to access the entire site.
- The contractor must explain applicable site rules to authorised parties and perform any required induction.
- They may have to accompany or supervise some authorised parties while on site or accessing certain areas.
Hazards that Present a Risk to the Public
Many construction site hazards present a risk to visitors and the general public. Contractors must consider if they exist on a certain project and, if so, how they will manage them.
- Falling objects: Objects must not be able to fall outside the site boundaries. Contractors may have to use brick guards, netting, toe-boards, fans, and covered walkways.
- Site vehicles. Contractors must ensure that pedestrians cannot be hit by vehicles entering or leaving the site.
- Access equipment. Measures must be taken to prevent people outside the site boundary from being hit while scaffolding and other access equipment is being erected, used, and dismantled.
- Stacking and storing materials. Reduce the risks associated with storing materials by storing them within the perimetre of the site, ideally in a secure location or away from the fencing.
- Excavations and openings. People can be hurt if they fall into excavati9ns, stairwells, and other open areas.
- Other hazards include road works, slips, trips, and falls in pedestrian areas, hazardous substances, plant equipment and machinery, dust, noise, and vibration, and energy sources such as electricity.
Children, the elderly, and people with certain disabilities may need special consideration, especially if work is being done in locations like hospitals and schools.
Children can be attracted to construction sites as potential play areas. Constractors must take all reasonable steps to keep them from accessing the site and endangering themselves.
The steps below are especially important for child safety:
- When work is finished for the day, secure the site thoroughly
- Cover or erect barriers around pits and excavations
- Immobilise vehicles and lock them away if possible
- Store building materials such as cement bags, manhole rings, and pipes so that they cannot tip or roll over
- Remove access ladders from scaffolds and excavations
- Make sure that all hazardous substances are locked away
Safer Sphere are able to advise on any aspect of CDM 2015.