Sometimes it can be easy to forget that working onsite comes with hazards that can put your health and safety at risk. While it is inevitable that accidents do happen, everything that can be done should be done to mitigate and minimise the risks you might face as an installer on the job. Installers that need to be onsite should follow strict safety measures to ensure that their work environment is as safe as possible – and this requires a no-cutting-corners approach.
Here are a few simple tips for when you have to go onsite, to ensure that your actions keep yourself and others safe and out of harm’s way.
1. Make sure you have all necessary PPE
From the moment you enter a site, you need to ensure that you’re wearing all the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Remember, it can’t protect you if you don’t always wear it. Your hard hat and safety boots will go a long way in ensuring that if accidents do occur, you have a line of defence – and, in case of an emergency, they might even save your life. Don’t underestimate the protection you get from using PPE which you are expected to use on the job.
2. Follow safety instructions/protocol onsite
It’s easy to take for granted how imperative it is to be aware of the relevant safety procedures and follow all instructions. If you’re working on a construction site, you will be given an induction by the site manager whereby the work procedures and safety hazards of the site will be shown and explained to you. However, when you’re working from premises like a home or office building that isn’t necessarily a construction site with the relevant protocol, it can be helpful to ask questions about the protocol you aren’t familiar with or when it isn’t formally set out to you. No two sites are the same, and that goes for their procedures as well. Following incorrect procedures could lead to you putting yourself and others at risk.
3. Be prepared in case anything goes wrong
Ask yourself, if something happens are you aware of the evacuation procedures/routes for this site? You need to familiarise yourself around the site you’re working on and know your way around in case of an emergency. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have access to appropriate crisis and first aid equipment. Your employer should provide this for you if you work for a company, however, if you are an independent contractor, you still need to ensure that you have your own and take it along with you onsite.
4. Report faulty equipment
If you notice a problem, ignoring it could lead to someone getting injured or a vital problem coming up in future. Whether it’s wiring that’s faulty or equipment you suspect has been tampered with, you need to bring this up with the relevant persons. If something isn’t working or doesn’t look right, it’s best to report it and seek further instructions. Don’t attempt to tamper with equipment unless you are competent to do so and don’t feel afraid to ask for a second opinion.
5. Use the right equipment for the job
This goes back to the no-cutting-corners approach. Sometimes it might be easier to use a specific tool even though another tool is best for the job – this could be because of financial reasons or entirely out of convenience (I left the correct tool at home but if I apply extra pressure using this one it might work). It’s best to stick to what you know does the job most effectively, and safely, then trying to ‘make do’ and potentially putting yourself at risk. On the same note, ensure that your equipment is in good condition and safe to operate before you use it.
6. Don’t put yourself at risk
If you can’t reach something, use a ladder. You shouldn’t be expected to work at a height without suitable guard rails. Don’t attempt to tamper with exposed wiring. It’s up to you to ensure that you don’t put yourself in dangerous situations at the end of the day. If you feel like you’re being pressured, either by your employer or by a client, you need to stand up for yourself. Your health and safety is a priority – you should not be putting your life on the line to do your job successfully.
We hope these tips have been helpful to you. Remember, that working as an installer can sometimes be risky, so it’s crucial that health and safety is always top of mind.