Upholding a job as a general labourer can be a lucrative and rewarding way to make a living that doesn’t require a specific set of skills, experience or qualifications. That said, labouring can be a physically demanding job with an extensive list of health and safety risks. Therefore, adhering to stringent health and safety rules is paramount. Along with following mandatory rules and guidelines, general labourers must take proactive measures to mitigate risks and safeguard themselves and other team members. Read on to learn more.
As a general labourer working on a construction site, being aware of your surroundings at all times is crucial - this means being mentally present and engaged in your work environment, as even a momentary lapse of concentration can have disastrous consequences. Be wary of hazardous conditions, such as slippery or unstable surfaces, so you can anticipate potential risks and take the necessary precautions to avoid them. You should also consider the condition of the tools and equipment you are using, as using faulty equipment could result in injury to yourself or others around you.
Comprehensive workplace training is vital to ensure you have the necessary skills and knowledge required to be safe on site whilst performing your assigned duties Workplace training can comprise a number of important subjects, from manual handling to first aid. However, it is not enough to simply show up to workplace training. While training sessions can be drawn out and mundane, they serve a crucial purpose, so active listening is imperative. Active listening describes the act of making a conscious effort to absorb information to ensure the speaker is fully understood.
Your employers should provide you with appropriate PPE. While it is your employer's responsibility to provide PPE, it is your responsibility to wear it. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action, injury or worse. PPE may include:
Hard hats to protect your head from falling objects.
Goggles to protect your eyes from dust, debris, chemicals and other hazards.
Footwear such as steel-toe-capped boots to prevent your feet from being damaged by heavy or sharp objects.
Gloves to guard your hands against cuts, abrasions and chemical burns.
High-visibility clothing to enhance your visibility on site.
Hearing protection to safeguard your ears from loud noises, reducing the risk of hearing damage.
Construction sites invariably have strict safety procedures that must be adhered to at all times. This may include making yourself aware of the construction traffic management plan, a document outlining the steps taken to manage traffic during a construction project. If you work with machinery, following lockout/tagout procedures is essential to ensure the equipment is safely shut down and isolated from energy sources before performing maintenance. Ultimately, familiarising yourself with safety procedures and guidelines specific to your construction site will help keep you and your team members safe.
During the working day, sticking to recommended break intervals is vital to help you recharge and refresh your energy before returning to your duties. Prolonged periods of uninterrupted work can lead to fatigue, which can be profoundly dangerous. Aside from the obvious symptom of feeling physically tired, signs of fatigue may include difficulty concentrating, decreased alertness, and slower reaction times - all of which can result in errors, accidents and injury. Know your limits and never continue working if you’re physically unable to do so safely.
Additionally, you should avoid presenteeism when possible. Coming into work when you are unable to carry out your duties safely and effectively due to illness or injury can be profoundly dangerous. While calling in sick is never ideal, continuing to work when you are unfit to do so can have serious consequences.
Construction sites can feature numerous hazards - knowing how to identify them and how to report them properly can prevent all manner of injuries. Hazards must be promptly reported as soon as they are identified, so the correct measures can be taken to eliminate or manage them. Hazards may include unsafe working conditions like slippery surfaces, which require warning signs, or faulty equipment, which should not be used until the appropriate maintenance has been performed. Familiarise yourself with your workplace’s hazard reporting procedure to help keep your working environment safe.