Construction site hazards

How to stay safe on a construction site

The construction industry provides a workplace environment that presents high risks and hazards to workers; often requiring the use of heavy tools, large machinery and plant, as well as coming into contact with hazardous materials. It is important to be able to identify hazards on a construction site – and understand how to avoid them. Learn more about how to stay safe on a construction site from our detailed guide.

Top building site hazards to be aware of

  • Working at height
    Working at height is one of the most common construction site hazards. In 2015/16, The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that over a quarter of fatalities at work were from falling from height. Working at height must be properly supervised, planned and should be avoided, where possible. Equipment with extra safety measures, such as double guard rails for scaffolding, should be used to reduce risk of fatalities, and safety nets can be used to minimise the consequences of a fall.
  • Noise
    You don’t need to work on a construction site to be familiar with the high noise levels that come from this sort of work. However, noise is a common construction hazard – as loud and repetitive noises can cause long-term hearing problems. Therefore, the right ear protective equipment must be used. Loud noises from building work can also create distractions, which can lead to accidents. Employers are required to carry out a comprehensive noise risk assessment, which will lead to issuing the correct PPE for the job.
  • Moving objects
    As building sites are ever-changing environments, they can quickly become hectic workplaces when objects are continually moving. This could include overhead lifting equipment, diggers and supply vehicles. Workers should avoid working closely to these objects if possible, while being constantly vigilant of their surroundings and wearing PPE where necessary – for example, a high visibility jacket to ensure they are seen more easily.
  • Instability
    Slips, trips and falls are common construction site hazards. This is due to the instability of the environment construction workers are subjected to – for example, uneven terrain and incomplete buildings. Stairwells and footpaths should be used in order to avoid falls as well as providing designated walkways, such as temporary zebra crossings, for construction workers to travel around the site safely. Obstacles, such as excess material and cables, should be removed to avoid instability – and wet or slippery surfaces should be treated with grit and properly sign posted.
  • HAVS
    Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), also known as ‘blue finger’, is a disease which debilitates the blood vessels, joints and nerves. This is usually caused by the prolonged and consistent use of hand power tools, which provide a vibration through the hand and arm. HAVS can be prevented by wearing the appropriate protection equipment when using vibrating tools, and the equipment itself being regularly assessed and maintained.
  • Electricity
    Naturally with a construction site, there will likely be electricity running through various circuits, especially through electrical live parts, which is something workers need to be aware of. This can be a hazard if you touch the live parts directly or come into contact with overhead or underground power cables, which can cause electric shocks. This can then lead to falls from ladders, scaffolds or other work platforms, which can in turn lead to fatalities.
  • Asbestos
    Asbestos is a natural fibrous rock that can often be found hidden in public buildings that construction workers will have to come into contact with. This harmful material initially acts as an insulator, keeping heat in or the cold out, but is one of the biggest occupational disease risks to construction workers. It can lead to mesothelioma – a cancer of the lung lining – and asbestos-related lung cancer; both of which are almost always fatal. Employers must undertake a risk assessment of the site to ensure there is no asbestos, or, if there is, that this is identified and recorded, and anyone carrying out work in the area is notified.
  • Respiratory diseases
    With building sites comes the risk of airborne fibres and materials, which can cause damage to your lungs, and cause respiratory problems. As the dust on construction sites is often not easy to spot with the naked eye, it’s hard to know that it contains a toxic mixture of hazardous materials, which can lead to diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, silicosis or asthma. Employers not only need to issue PPE, but they must ensure that this PPE is used by their workers.
  • Unintended collapse
    Excavations and trenches can collapse unintentionally on construction sites at any time, which can lead to workers being buried or seriously injured. This is especially common with building demolitions or buildings under construction. Precautions must be taken before construction work starts on these buildings, including considering what support is best suited for the trench ensuring the trench is secure; and regular inspections of any excavations to be completed before and after the work shift.

Now we’ve covered the top building site hazards to be aware of, and how to stay safe on a construction site, familiarise yourself with our construction site safety solutions to ensure you are as safe as you can be on site. From Avalon safety barriers to highwayman cones, Oxford Plastics’ wide selection has you covered. Get in touch with a member of our expert team for more information on avoiding construction hazards.

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Steel road plates vs plastic road plates

When it comes to covering trenches or holes, it’s likely a road plate will be applied to ensure that the area can operate effectively, and it does not pose a danger to the public. However, which type of road plate should you use? And what are the benefits and disadvantages of both? Learn more from our guide will compare steel road plates to plastic road plates.

Which road plate should you use?

So, what are the best type of road plates to use? Using the correct road plate for the trench or hole you are covering is vital – as, by using the wrong type of plate, this can lead to complications. Here at Oxford Plastics, we specialise in safe, simple and compliant equipment that is 100% plastic. Here’s some of the reasons why plastic road plates are more beneficial to use than steel road plates:

  • Stability – steel road plates (due to the rigid nature of their material) can be a lot less stable than plastic road plates. This can create an uneven surface, which can be dangerous to vehicle or pedestrians who are travelling over it.
  • Noise pollution – typically, steel road plates also create a lot more noise pollution than plastic road plates would. In some places around the world, in New York city for example, if the noise decibels reach a certain level, large fines can be put into place. Whereas plastic road plates have significantly reduced noise pollution.
  • Man-power – plastic road plates are typically a lot lighter and easier to move than steel road plates. This means that, to fit a plastic road plate, you would only ever require one person – and they would be able to move this on their own. However, a steel road plate would require more people – which may not always be feasible at short notice. Similar to the noise decibel fine, in New York city, if a pothole is not covered in a timely fashion then substantial fines can be put into place. If people are lifting a steel road plate to cover a pothole, this is likely to take more time as more people will be required to help – with a plastic plate, this would allow a single person to cover the pothole, and respond as quickly, as is necessary.
  • Durability – there is a greater durability with plastic road plates than there is with steel. Steel will bend and degrade after a period of time, but plastic road plates will retain their shape and structure for a longer period of time. They have been designed this way in order to make the road plates more durable and effective, providing a better solution for construction workers and road users.

Now you’ve learnt the benefits of choosing plastic road plates over steel road plates, browse our full selection of plastic road plates now. As well as road plates, here at Oxford Plastics, we also supply a wide range of trench covers and wheelchair ramps. For more information on our plastic road plates, get in touch with a member of our expert team today.

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Trench Grid – Amey Utilities’ 2020 Challenge winner

Recently, we embarked on a journey with one of the UK’s biggest utility companies, Amey. They supply utilities such as water, gas and electricity to homes across the nation. They strive on making journeys better by maintaining and improving roads, railways and airports. They also keep facilities running smoothly, and improving social housing and schools.

The brief…

Amey approached us with a common issue that was found on streetworks sites across the country. When digging a trench on public grounds, there was a risk that was created when leaving a site overnight. Even with clear barrier systems in place and signage warning people of the works being carried out, the open trench was still an issue that needed addressing.

So how did we do it?

Firstly, we needed to fully understand Amey’s requirements and what exactly they were looking for. This research phase is something Oxford Plastics are well versed in as we have developed numerous products with end-users, most notably the LowPro 15/10 Trench Cover which was developed with Cadent (previously known as National Grid). The LowPro 15/10 also went onto win the Street Works Future Award too. Check out our blog on the award here!

We believe partnering with real-life users of our products is the best way to find out how our products are being used, what issues there are within the markets and areas that cause a risk to the safety of workers and the public.

The end result – Trench Grid

Once we had carried out our extensive R&D process, we finally produced a product to eliminate the safety issues of leaving a trench overnight. Trench Grid was born. With the ability to span across a 1-meter trench with a maximum depth of 1.2-meters, it provides a safe solution to the public when leaving a trench overnight.

It also complies with the Oxford Plastic Systems drop-test where a 45kg weight is released from a test rig and allowed to free-fall a minimum of 1.2m under gravity onto the surface of the test sample and held for at least five minutes.

Though the TrenchGrid is a SECONDARY PROTECTION measure, for primary protection, refer to the LowPro Trench Cover & Road Plate range such as the LowPro 12/8 Footway Board, LowPro 11/11 Footway Board and the LowPro 15/10 Driveway Board.

 

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LowPro 15/10 Award Winning Trench Cover

Why size matters when it comes to site products

With so much to consider when planning street works, thinking about the size of products you’re using on site may not be at the top of your agenda. However, using compact, stackable products can be a gamechanger in street works. Keeping all elements of your site as efficient as possible – from materials to workforce to transport – can carry huge benefits financially and environmentally.

Travel less with compact, stackable products

An immediate positive of using compact, stackable materials such as the Oxford Plastics Chapter 8 Street Works range, is reduced travel. Products including EnduraSign, LowPro trench covers and SafeGate barriers are all designed with your site in mind, ensuring you can load more in a van and carry more to site while taking compliance and industry guidance into account.

All of our products are made to the highest of standards, ensuring durability and quality while remaining compact, easy to transport and importantly, easy to install. Stackable products allow you to get everything you need to site in less trips – saving you time and money.

LowPro 15/10 Award Winning Trench Cover

Increase efficiency onsite

Portable, one-person lift products increase efficiency on sites with a limited workforce. Lightweight, easy to install or erect products save time in installation, reduce the risk off onsite injury and ensure the safety of the general public – it’s a win-win!

Running an efficient site shouldn’t be complicated and using products that reduce both work for onsite staff and travel to and from the site, while increasing safety and meeting compliance standards can be a huge step in the right direction.

Chapter 8 Street Works compliant  

Chapter 8 Street Works compliant refers to codes of practice created by the Department of Transport to ensure regulation of signage, lighting and guarding of street works and road works on all highways and roads. The regulations are designed to ensure the safety of site staff and operatives, as well as the public and are directed at site operatives, supervisors, managers, planners and designers.

Using any of the Oxford Plastics Chapter 8 Street Works range ensures your site equipment is compliant, safe and durable.

To find out how to increase safety and efficiency on your site with our compliant, compact, stackable solutions, contact us today.

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EnduraSign Xtra – Miles Above The Rest

Having compliant, reliable equipment is fundamental in Street Works to make sure the job runs without avoidable issues. Neil Derrick, Senior General Foreman for Morgan Sindall, tried the new EnduraSign Xtra from Oxford Plastics and was extremely impressed with the results.

Durable, stable & weighted

“I have checked all signs this morning after a massive storm overnight and they have all stayed in place and erect,” said Neil. Over 1 month, and through a series of stormy nights, Neil deployed 21 EnduraSign Xtras along Station Road in Cardiff. Despite the stormy weather, the EnduraSign Xtra stayed put.

Saves time, money & improves site safety

“The EnduraSign Xtra makes a massive, massive difference; they stand the wind. In the last month since I’ve been using them not a single one has been blown over. It’s also about the company image, and your site doesn’t get fined by the Street Works Inspector. The metal signs with 2 sandbags blow down every day – I used to spend an hour each day to pick them up. The metal ones are too rigid – they’re quite dangerous, but the EnduraSign Xtra flexes if it’s hit by traffic.” – Neil Derrick – Morgan Sindall

Old Vs New

     

The EnduraSign Xtra is fitted with 2 EnduraSign Ballasts which give the temporary street works sign category A wind-resistance.

Get in touch!

Find out more information on the EnduraSign Xtra here. Want to find your local stockist or receive a price list for the EnduraSign Xtra? Get in touch here.

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construction site

Preparing your Construction Site for the Change in Season

As the nights draw in and the temperature drops, many of us around the UK will be making adjustments to accommodate the changing weather. From wrapping up warmer, to protecting ourselves from wet, or icy conditions – the change in season can require a change in habits, particularly on a construction site where safety is of high importance.

Plan ahead this Autumn

It’s the perfect time of year to revisit your risk assessments and review any potential hazards on your site, taking into account a change of conditions. In wet, icy weather walkways can become slippery, sites waterlogged and equipment can become hazardous and brittle as it fights against the colder weather.

Planning ahead by ensuring quality, durable materials are used on site, workers are using the correct safety gear and that walkways and main areas of your site are sufficiently covered can significantly reduce the risk of accidents. Not only will this tick that vital site safety box, but will also ensure your projects stay on track, avoiding unexpected delays due to equipment failure.

Quality materials for keeping workers, and pedestrians, safe

We often talk about using quality materials on site – the right products can be the difference between a productive project and one rife with problems and risks! And this is truer than ever as the weather changes. For example, the use of ground protection on site can reduce slippery surfaces, prevent damage to the ground and make access easier – however, these benefits are reduced if your ground protection isn’t suitable for heavy duty use, or isn’t equipped with anti-slip.

The materials you use can help a project run smoothly, without any unexpected slips, hazard or damage – so ensure you use materials suitable for your site.

Stay up-to-date

The one thing you can’t control on your site is the weather. With floods, snow and ice all presenting risks – knowing what to expect each week, or day, can help you plan accordingly. Checking for weather updates in advance means you can keep your workforce updated, take action if you need to reschedule or ensure you have the correct materials onsite to deal with any adverse weather when work can be continued.

Oxford Plastics offer a range of ground protection material that help ensure your site is safe and protected. Learn more about our track mats and ground protection mats, including the EnduraGrid and EnduraMat here.

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Come and see our products at the Speedy Expo, stand L20

The annual Speedy Hire exhibition in Liverpool, Speedy Expo, is just around the corner on the 30th and 31st of October. At the expo, they will be showcasing industry-leading technology such as tools, equipment, lifting and materials handling equipment, temporary lighting equipment, temporary power generation and much more.

This year, Oxford Plastics will be attending the Speedy Expo, bringing along some of our innovative products. Many of our UK based products are researched and designed in collaboration with the Department of Transport and industry leaders from JAG, HAUC, NJUG & REMA. We ensure all of our products have a use for the end-user and solves many complications associated with traditional equipment.

Below are some of the products we’ll be bringing to Speedy Expo:

LowPro® 23/05 Road Plate

The 23/05 LowPro® is a modular system of singular linking units, this road plate trench cover is suitable for 44 tonnes vehicles over a 1200mm trench. No expensive machinery necessary as the 23/05 LowPro® weighs only 65kg and can be lifted and installed by two people.

The anti-slide technology, on the underside and edges of the Road Plate, is made from a soft, flexible, rubber material which grips the surface reducing unwanted movement. Rubber edges can be replaced to extend the life of your LowPro®. Also, the anti-slide technology complies with HAUC 2018/01 Advice Note.

The anti-slip surface provides secure access, and hi-vis yellow alerts drivers to reduce their speed. The Road Plate is currently used in Highways, Street Works and Utilities sites. The innovative and patented Flexi-Edge reduces noise pollution, making the LowPro® 23/05 Road Plate also ideal for residential areas. The 23/05 LowPro® must be bolted down for carriageway use.

LowPro® 15/05 Road Plate

The 15/05 LowPro® is a modular system of singular linking units, this road plate trench cover is suitable for 44 tonnes vehicles over a 700mm trench.

At 44kgs this LowPro® is far lighter and easier to handle than a steel plate. No need for expensive specialist lifting equipment, the LowPro® 15/05 can be installed in minutes with a 2-person lift.

Similar to the LowPro® 23/05 Road Plate, it also features the anti-slip surface ensuring secure and safe access and in the high visibility yellow for clarity.

LowPro® 15/10 Safe Cover

The Award-Winning LowPro® 15/10 Trench Cover uses our patented Flexi-Edge technology and is a suitable driveway board for 3.5 tonnes vehicles over a 900mm trench.

Cadent (previously known as National Grid) commissioned Oxford Plastics to create a pedestrian & driveway board. It should be capable of supporting 1 wheel of a 3.5 tonnes vehicle and use Oxford’s patented Flexi-Edge technology. We enlisted the feedback of Utilities and contractors throughout the design process, and so the LowPro® 15/10 was born!

The LowPro® 15/10 complies with National Grid Footway Board Specification. T/SP/E/42. It does not need to be bolted into place, reducing installation time.

This LowPro® is a lightweight and easy-to-handle alternative to the steel plate. This trench cover is installed in seconds with an easy 2 person lift, with no need for specialist lifting equipment.

Avalon® Barrier

Compliant with chapter 8 legislation

The Avalon® is our most versatile and popular safety barrier. It is compliant with Chapter 8 legislation and suitable for a wide range of indoor and outdoor pedestrian applications. Common uses include Construction, Excavation, Street Works, Events and Utilities sites.

Different widths to meet your needs

The Avalon® barrier is available in 2m, 1m and 0.5m wide. Avalon® pedestrian barriers are available with the standard Avalon® linking system or the tube end linking system.

Customisable to match your brand

This safety barrier is customisable; select a colour using our Custom Tool. Choose from our range barrier feet; ClearPath® Feet, ClearPath® Extra Feet and Standard Feet.

Ballast options for high-winds

For added stability, you can add Oxford Ballast Trays, Stability Bar or 1 of our StrongWall® bases, these conform to BS 8442:2006.

Lantis Barrier

  • Recycled plastic pedestrian barrier
  • 85% PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic)
  • Outlasts metal barriers
  • Available in several colours
  • Set up & take down quickly
  • Modular & repairable
  • Available in bespoke lengths: 0.5m > 4m
  • Heavy-duty feet for uneven ground
  • Or HiVis anti-trip feet for crowd-control
  • Connects to your existing metal pedestrian barrier fleet

EnduraSign

Long-life, temporary and patented plastic traffic sign. The EnduraSign fits all sign shapes.

The traffic sign allows for sign faces to be changed and is suitable for square, round, rectangular and triangular signs.

The all-plastic road traffic sign will not conduct electricity or rust over its lifetime. The road works sign is easy and safe to handle with no sharp edges. The simple folding system means quick deployment and easy storage.

 

Not able to attend the Speedy Expo? Why not get in touch to see how our innovative products can help you. Get in contact today!

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2019 the year for sustainability across festivals

As the UK festival season comes to a close, sites are packed down and attendees put the (biodegradable) glitter and tents away for another year, we reflect on some of our 2019 eco-highlights. Having supplied some of the UK’s most popular festivals with temporary fencing solutions, Oxford Plastics has travelled far and wide this summer – witnessing some of the biggest moments and names. From an appearance by David Attenborough at Glastonbury to environmental and sustainability changes across the entire festival scene – 2019 has been a summer to remember…

Glastonbury goes plastic free

With more than 60 tonnes of paper and card, 32 tonnes of glass, 40 tonnes of plastic bottles and 45 tonnes of cans recycled after Glastonbury’s 2017 festival, this year’s return marked one of the biggest changes in its history. Hoping to reduce the huge numbers of waste and recycled material at the event, in 2019 organisers introduced a series of new environmental measures, including banning traders from using and selling single-use plastics and ensuring all bin bags used on site are made from recycled materials.

Here at Oxford Plastics, we continue to use recycled plastics and PVC in a range of our products, in efforts to reduce our own carbon footprint, as well as that of our customers. Ensuring our products can be used time and time again not only reduces waste but also increases ROI, stability and performance of all our premium materials.

The rise of eco-friendly glitter

By 2021, over 60 festivals in the UK have vowed to ban all non-biodegradable glitter from sites. With glitter one of the biggest and longest-standing festival trends, visitors won’t be rushing to ditch the sparkles anytime soon, and the rise of eco-friendly brands means they won’t have to. Companies across the UK (and beyond) are launching biodegradable glitter, allowing the trend to live on without the environmental damage.

Ensuring site sustainability beyond attendees and vendors

To truly have a positive environmental impact, festival organisers will need to change more than rules for attendees and vendors. The stats prove that festivals, while something many enjoy across the UK, are huge contributors of waste. Hosted on large, often rural sites and requiring extensive amounts of kit and equipment in order to create the festival space, organisers need to consider equipment used and travel to and from the location when considering potential waste and environmental footprint.

Working with suppliers that are committed to reducing their own environmental impact is a good start. Ensuring that single-use plastic is considered beyond plastic bottles and in relation to materials used onsite can also help to keep the site itself sustainable. 
To find out how Oxford Plastics can support your 2020 events season, or more about our sustainability solutions across other industries, get in touch today.

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CSJV Minimum Standards | StrongWall Barrier

As a major project in the construction industry, HS2 requires world-leading standards and quality. Striving to ensure HS2 uses the very best safety equipment available and leading the industry into a new era of construction.

Oxford Plastics StrongWall

The minimum requirement for Footway or Footpath closures, pedestrians or staff segregation and dedicated walkways.

All barriers MUST be of the same style and be in no other colour than red or white. All bases will preferably be yellow.

All barriers MUST use the displayed StrongWall style base and be connected through the entire barriered area.

 

Where extra security is required Heras style fencing can be used in conjunction with the standard StrongWall style barrier.

When fencing is added to the barriers all safety features including fence clamps MUST be used.

Graphics or promotional displays may be attached to the fencing provided no public site lines are affected.

HS2 is a Costain & Skanska Joint Venture Project: CSJV.

For more information regarding our temporary barrier, temporary fence and plastic barrier products click here

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The benefits of premium construction materials

With many factors contributing to the success or failure of a construction project, including weather, workforce, client demands and materials used on site, taking control of what you can is crucial. While you may not be able to regulate the weather with ease, you can invest in quality materials for your site to ensure a smoother job. 

Keeping your construction site running smoothly

Investing in premium products for your construction site brings a range of benefits – including reducing the risk of failure. On a site where product failure can halt a project and cause injury to the workforce or public, ensuring good quality materials are used is crucial. 

For example, trench covers ensure a site remains safe and accessible in pedestrian, domestic, residential, footpath and driveway applications. However, skimp on the trench cover and this fact no longer remains true. With cheaper, lower quality products reaching ultimate failure at as low as 483kg (compared to a minimum 800kg ultimate failure on the LowPro(R) 12/8 trench cover), there is no guarantee that the product will withstand heavy pressure on site – resulting in broken, unusable materials and a potential halt to work or injury to workforce.

Saving money with quality construction materials 

While premium products often come at a premium price, evidence shows they are more likely to save your business money in the long run. With quality materials proven to pass more safety regulations, last longer and not need replacing as often, they are often an investment worth making. 

Not only does the quality of the product save you money, but it’s performance on site can also ensure you’re not paying out for unexpected costs. Trench covers reaching ultimate failure and breaking mid-job can result in time and money spent on repair or legalities, while having to halt a job can mean that completion is delayed and additional payments must be made to your workforce or on materials that are required for a longer time period. 

Working in urban and residential environments

Construction often takes place in already populated environments, meaning the safety, wellbeing and convenience of residents and pedestrians must be taken into account. Many products designed to make a construction site safe and accessible aren’t made for consideration of the public. For example, steel plates used to cover uneven surfaces are often noisy, can be easily knocked out of place and are inconvenient for residents nearby. 

By using quality plastic road plates and trench covers instead, unnecessary noise is reduced, materials are more likely to stay in place and the site is less likely to receive complaints – and fines. 

Investing in quality materials brings a range of benefits to your site. If you’re not sure of the right product for you and want to ensure value for money, Oxford Plastics can help you find the ideal fit here. Alternatively, get in touch to discuss your site requirements and how we can help provide quality construction site materials.  

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