Protecting the public

What you need to do

The law says you must conduct your business without putting members of the public at risk. This includes the public and other workers who may be affected by your work.

The project client should provide information about:

This will influence the measures contractors take.

Key issues are:

What you need to know

All construction sites require:

While the numbers of children being killed or injured on construction sites has reduced, there is no room for complacency. Each year, two or three children die after gaining access to building sites, and many more are injured.

Other members of the public are seriously injured by:

The client's pre-construction information should include:

Managing site access

Site boundaries: You need to define boundaries physically, where necessary, by suitable fencing. The type of fencing should reflect the nature of the site and its surroundings.

Determining the boundary is an important aspect of managing public risk.  You need to:

Questions you need to ask yourself include:

Typically, in populated areas, this will mean a two-metre high small mesh fence or hoarding around the site.

Authorisation: The principal contractor must take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised people accessing the site.  

Hazards causing risk to the public

Many hazards have the potential to injure members of the public and visitors. Consider if they exist on your project and how you will manage them.

Falling objects - You must make sure objects cannot fall outside the site boundary. On scaffolds you can achieve this using toe-boards, brick guards and netting. You may also need fans and/or covered walkways.

Delivery and other site vehicles - Make sure pedestrians cannot be struck by vehicles entering or leaving the site. Obstructing the pavement during deliveries may force pedestrians into the road, where they can be struck by other vehicles.

Scaffolding and other access equipment - Prevent people outside the boundary being struck while they are erecting, dismantling and using scaffolding and other access equipment.

Storing and stacking materials - You can reduce the risks associated with the storage of materials by storing materials within the site perimeter, preferably in secure compounds or away from the perimeter fencing.

Openings and excavations - People can be injured if they fall into excavations, manholes, stairwells or from open floor edges.  You'll need to put up barriers or covers.

Other hazards include -

Vulnerable groups

The elderly, children and people with certain disabilities may need special attention. Work in premises such as schools and hospitals needs careful thought and planning.

Some children are drawn to construction sites as exciting places to play. You must do everything you can to keep them out of the site and away from danger.

The following specific steps are particularly relevant to child safety: