What is a site inspection in construction? What procedure is conducted? Learn more on what we think is important for a site inspection.
Site Inspection on a Construction Site
When using a MEWP on site, you need to be certain that the site is as safe as possible for operators and all other staff members. A safe workplace needs be established before any work is to commence. Potential hazards need to be identified and removed or avoided at all costs.
A site safety inspection can help prevent serious injury and death
Serious injuries can result from using a Mobile Elevating Work Platform if not operated correctly or if operating in a risky environment, including entrapment, overturning, falling and collision.
Entrapment involves the operator becoming trapped between the basket and a fixed structure like a wall. Rough surfaces, slopes or obstacles can lead to overturning. Collisions can take place between the MEWP and pedestrians, overhead cables, on site vehicles and various other objects. Operators also need to be very cautious and must always be harnessed to the machine to prevent any falls.
A thorough construction site inspection and risk assessment before work commences will help to avoid any injuries or fatal accidents.
Hazards to expect according to site type – pre site inspection
There are certain hazards that you are more likely to encounter, depending on where your site is located.
- On a greenfields site, with no previous construction activity, consider the groundwater level. Also look out for soft alluvial soil next to rivers and floodplains.
- On brownfield sites, where construction previously took place, there may be poorly filled open pits or other underground hazards.
- On paved areas, like roads, pavements and car parks, consider the permanence of the ground. While the paving may look strong it may have been laid on weak ground. The edges of paved areas are usually particularly weak.
- In city or town areas there are always a number of hazards to consider including sewers, man holes, live services and tunnels.
Site inspection procedure and steps:
Site inspection procedure, what needs to be checked?
Before any work begins on site, the site needs to be walked in order to check for potential hazards and dangers. We would highly recommend the following checks as critical checkpoints on site:
1. Check ground conditions
- Ideally, an MEWP should be used on firm and level ground. Trenches, manholes and soft ground conditions can cause a MEWP to overturn.
- If holes or trenches are present on site, temporary covers or ramps may be needed to block the hazard. Ensure these are strong enough to take the whole (fully loaded with people & equipment) weight of the MEWP.
- Check the site for slopes and make sure that the MEWP you plan on using is rated for these slopes.
- Do not use a MEWP on a slope beyond the limits of the manufacturer’s specifications as this could lead to overturning – check gradeability % of machine to make certain.
- Bumps, floor obstructions, debris and electrical cables can also cause problems. Where possible, a clear path should be cleared to help the MEWP safely reach the area where it will be used.
- Always look out for underground services including sewers, drains, manholes, gas and water mains, which can all be damaged by the weight of the MEWP.
- Uncompacted fill that has been recently excavated can be very soft. Machinery can easily sink into this material.
2. Check overhead conditions
- When assessing a site, also consider overhead obstacles. Power lines are particularly dangerous.
- High voltage power lines are not insulated and carry high voltage electricity. Where possible, high voltage lines should be avoided completely.
- If a MEWP must pass under overhead electric lines, ground level barriers should be used to direct the machine to the area where it may pass under the overhead lines. Bunting and barriers are usually erected to keep machinery away from power lines.
3. Check weather conditions
- Heavy or prolonged rain can alter ground conditions and cause sinking. The ground should be checked if it is suspected that weather conditions are making it softer.
- Heavy winds are of particular concern to MEWP operators as they can cause the tipping of a machine. Build cladding and sheet materials can act as sails, making wind even more dangerous.
- Lightening is dangerous to site workers and work should be immediately put on hold during a lightning storm.
- Fog or smog could prevent visibility on site and weather conditions must be looked at closely.
4. Check for people and traffic on and around the site
- If the site is in an area accessible to the general public, special precautions need to be taken to warn and redirect people.
- Vehicles and traffic also need to be taken into consideration. Flag personnel should be used to redirect traffic.
- Using warning cones, hazard tape, signs and signal personnel to avoid people from site dangers.
What is a site inspection checklist?
When performing a construction site safety audit, a site inspection checklist should be used to check for potential hazards. This checklist will consider ground conditions, overhead conditions, weather conditions and other dangers.
Once the dangers have been identified, they can be eliminated or controlled.
A site inspection audit can save lives and prevent serious accents on site. Risk assessment does not end after the site inspection is complete. Daily and sometimes hourly checks need to be performed to ensure conditions have not changed.
A site inspection goes hand-in-hand with a MEWP safety check and other on site checks.