Whether you’re passing a construction site in a car, on a bike or on a walk to work, it’s hard to miss the hustle and bustle of the workers, machines and activity of a the site. As adults, we’re used to seeing the uniforms and various stages of building, with workers on scaffolding or running around with hard hats from place to place. Construction is so commonplace these days that it’s easy to forget how full of wonder a construction site can be for a child. Taking some minor steps can ensure you keep kids safe on construction sites.
Children tend to be attracted to everything a construction site promises: loud noises, big machines and a sense of newness and adventure. But as an adult, can you think of a worse place to have a child roam free? The people, machinery and general activity make it a very unsafe place for a child. In fact, the construction industry is #2 in the United States for fatal injuries in workers younger than 18. Here are three ways to keep kids safe on construction sites.
1. Educate children on the ins and out of construction sites.
Imagine seeing a construction site for the very first time or watching a construction site over time to see something come to life. It’s a really cool transformation, one that adults can sometimes lose track of after experiencing early-morning construction zones or dealing with permits on remodels of their home. Biased or not, it’s hard to deny that construction sites can be a thing of wonder.
That excitement and wonder that children inevitably have is why it’s so important to educate them on how exactly a construction site is run. Recently, a school in Europe’s United Kingdom ran a program that explained the kind of details that go into construction project planning, how workers stay safe and how they can stay safe while learning about opportunities in the industry as well. The goal was not to use scare tactics but rather education on just how complex a construction site can be, especially when it comes to safety.
2. Implement daily safety checks to keep employees and children safe.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget your keys in your front door or in your car, especially if your hands are full. These little “mistakes” adults make aren’t necessarily harmful to them because an adult knows how to operate a car, or likely has ownership of what’s behind the front door. Even though unfortunate incidents like burglaries can happen, there’s no immediate threat if another adult finds your car keys in the ignition.
But if a child were to happen upon them, their curiosity might get the best of them. The same can happen on a construction site. However, the consequences may be much worse, depending on which machine they happen to discover. Part of a good lock-up routine at any construction sites includes checking all electronic machinery to be in the “OFF” position, as to not waste energy, and more importantly, to keep all who enter, including children, safe.
3. Follow your company’s policy on bringing children to work.
Almost every office these days has some form of “take your kids to work” day, where employees can bring their younger family members into their place of work for fun activities like scavenger hunts, pizza lunches and other things children tend to enjoy that you don’t find everyday in the common workplace. For employees of construction sites, this kind of day may be held somewhere else or maybe not at all due to the nature of the job.
It’s important to know your company policy on bringing children to the site, and it’s even more important to follow the given guidelines. As an adult, you may feel you know what’s best for your child. But keep in mind that your company’s policies are created with the safety of the staff in mind. Following the policy, even when you think it’s safe for you and your child, is the best course of action to take to set the best example for your child.
4. Use technology to monitor your site during non-working hours
With advances in technology tools like video surveillance systems have become extremely valuable in detecting unwanted intrusions. In the past, construction sites were often monitored during off hours by a security guard. But today there are other options that are far less expensive and can protect a much larger area than any one person.
Utilizing some form of temporary monitored surveillance camera system will provide immediate alerts and dispatching of law enforcement or project managers when a child is observed trespassing on a construction site. Typically you should expect a live monitored system to run about 60%+ less than hiring a guard to patrol the site.
For adults that are passionate about building, working with their hands and creating something from scratch, construction is a career and job that will satisfy all of those wants in a profession. But as an adult, it’s important to understand where you and your company draw the line when it comes to kids on constructions sites. With some education, monitoring and a good policy, your construction site can be safe and efficient for all.
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