Materials And Waste Management: Prevention Pays
Each year around 1,000 trips or slips on construction sites result in fractured bones or dislocated joints, often leading to permanent disability, harming workplace morale, reducing productivity, and raising insurance premiums. Many of these accidents are due to negligence in dealing with building materials or waste.
Safe site operation requires co-ordination between the client, contractor(s), and suppliers. Before beginning a project, agree with the client on arrangements for handling materials and waste. Larger projects should include this agreement in the construction phase plan.
To reduce the risk of mishaps in storing materials, experts recommend that you:
- designate storage areas for materials, waste, and flammable or hazardous substances
- don’t allow storage to ‘spread’ on walkways or store materials where they might obstruct access or interfere with emergency escape routes
- store flammable materials separately and protect them from accidental ignition
- install guard rails if materials are stored in high places
- keep all storage areas tidy
- plan deliveries to keep the amount of materials on site to a minimum
In dealing with waste, decide how to manage waste streams produced during construction and assign responsibility for collecting and disposing of these materials on site.
Waste risk reduction guidelines include:
- Have all flammable waste materials (such as packaging and lumber) cleared away regularly to reduce the risk of fire
- Make clearing waste a priority for all workers, and be sure that everyone is on the same page
- Include enough space for waste bins and containers in accessible locations, and set a schedule for collection
- Provide carts or chutes for safe removal of waste from the building safely
Our construction insurance professionals stand ready to advise you on keeping your workplace safe.