Sharps Health and Safety Risks on a Construction Site
One aspect of health and safety on a construction site which needs to be considered is that of sharp objects. A construction site can contain sharp items in a multitude of locations, and workers should receive suitable sharps training health and safety courses in order to become more aware of the dangers that sharp objects can present, and how to avoid injury from them.
As stated above, sharps risks can come from a variety of sources. One is the tools themselves, with machinery such as cutting tools needing a sharp blade in order to cut through hard material like bricks or metal, or hand-held implements like trimming knives. These items will easily cut through soft flesh, so care must be taken when using or moving around with these items. Cutting equipment should only be operated by a person who has received sufficient training in its correct operation, with appropriate health and safety measures put in place to avoid injury to others working nearby.
Site workers may also suffer cuts or lacerations from items such as protruding nails, staples in packaging material or from newly-cut material which has an edge awaiting grinding or sanding down. Workers need to be vigilant at all times against small sharp items which could be anywhere and will be difficult to spot before it is too late.
Those on site also need to consider the risk of discarded needles from trespassers who may either have been on site before building work commenced, or may have got into the site overnight. Just because the area was clear yesterday does not necessarily mean it will be today, so workers need to take care at all times.
When handling material which has the potential to contain something that can be sharp, issuing protective equipment such as gloves can help prevent injury. The circumstances will vary depending upon the situation, but it may be necessary to perform a sharps risk assessment before allowing a worker(s) to proceed with the task.
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