Safety doesn’t just happen – it has to be organised and achieved like the work-process of which it forms a part. The law states that both an employer and his employees have a responsibility in this behalf.
The effort a firm puts into planning and organising work, training people, engaging skilled and competent workers, maintaining plant and equipment, and checking, inspecting and keeping records – all of this contributes to the safety in the workplace. The employer will be responsible for the equipment provided, the working conditions, what the employees are asked to do, and the training given.
You will be responsible for the way you use the equipment, how you do your job, the use you make of your training, and your general attitude to safety. A great deal is done by employers and other people to make your working life safer; but always remember you are responsible for your own actions and the effect they have on others. You must not take that responsibility lightly.
Rules and procedure at work
What you must do, by law, is often included in the various rules and procedures laid down by your employer. They may be written down, but more often than not, are just the way a firm does things – you will learn these from other workers as you do your job. They may govern the issue and use of tools, protective clothing and equipment, reporting procedures, emergency drills, access to restricted areas, and many other matters. Such rules are essential; they contribute to the efficiency and safety of the job.
As you go about your work on a construction site you will see a variety of signs and notices. Some of these will be familiar to you – a ‘no smoking’ sign for example; others you may not have seen before. It is up to you to learn what they mean – and to take notice of them. They warn of the possible danger, and must not be ignored. Safety signs fall into four separate categories. These can be recognised by their shape and colour. Sometimes they may be just a symbol; other signs may include letters or figures and provide extra information such as the clearance height of an obstacle or the safe working load of a crane.
The four basic categories of signs are as follows:
• prohibition signs (Fig 1 & Fig 5)
• mandatory signs (Fig 2 & Fig 6)
• warning signs (Fig 3 & Fig 7)
• information signs (Fig 4)