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General Public

Hazard Related Topics


Accidents to the general public caused by building operations happen more frequently than is generally supposed. Many sites border the street where people are passing and plans must be made to ensure they are not injured by building operations. Main hazards and precautions to be taken are

Falling materials

Passers by should be protected by brick guards and / or netting on scaffolding (but netting only retains light material). Fans and /or covered walkways may be required where the risks are particularly high. When using gin wheels or power driven hoists a safe place should be found where the public are not at risk. Hooks with safety catches should be used when lifting. Debris chutes should be used to remove debris into a covered skip.

Work in the roadway or footpath

When this is undertaken the following precautions must be taken as laid down in the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991:

  • Warning / diversion signs for pedestrians and traffic.
  • Temporary lighting and traffic controls.
  • Cones and other barriers to mark safety zones.
  • Barriers to protect the public.
  • Suitable temporary walking surfaces for pedestrians.

Construction site access

General public access onto construction sites should be severely restricted at all times. The site should be boarded or fenced off wherever possible. All visitors should be booked in and out and all others challenged on sight.

Precautions should be taken after hours to ensure the general public is not at risk. Security patrols and /or lighting should be used and access to buildings under construction, scaffolding etc. should be removed. Guarding of open excavations is necessary.

It should be remembered that there is a duty of care to all members of the public including trespassers.