Construction work at night / road workers

Construction in the dark

Construction in the dark is a task that many construction workers in the UK are likely to have face at some point in their careers. This could be to undertake road works during the night or in winter when the daylight hours are shorter and those working past 5PM are forced into working in low light and darker conditions.

Working in the dark is therefore commonplace in the UK but that does not diminish the risks the workers face whilst working in poor visibility and employers and site managers should make sure that their workforce is equipped for working in dark conditions.

Worker risks:

worker using jackhammer / Working at night

One area that needs to be considered when workers are operating in the dark is that they are less likely to be alert to dangers. A lack of light will obviously lead to poorer vision, this requires greater concentration for the person to focus on the task, these risks are likely to be magnified in high-risk situations where concentration is key or with tasks that require high attention to detail.

For those that are working nightshifts, especially those that are strung together, fatigue can be another cause of increased risk. Often workers will offer to work nights to allow them more time with families or to free up their day for leisure. This however can lead to them being extremely fatigued whilst working. It’s important that those who work nights do their best to get the same amount of sleep during the day as they would on a normal evening. Creating a quiet, dark room for sleeping during the day will help improve their ability to sleep during the day and reduce the risk of fatigue during working hours.

Vehicles & Machinery:

Orange excavator digger working at night on the street

The next area of risk is perhaps the most serious. Using vehicles and machinery in low light greatly increases the risk to the operator and those around them. Most vehicles have blind spots and those used in construction often suffer from this hindrance to a greater extent due to their shape and sometimes the equipment they’re carrying.

All these issues are magnified when working in poor visibility and therefore making sure all workers are alert and wearing high visibility clothing is crucial to helping the driver spot fellow workers.

For those who are operating machinery, making sure suitable lighting is in place is paramount. Often using machinery comes with enough risks but using them in poor lighting greatly increases this risk. Make sure that if you’re operating machinery, you are happy with the lighting conditions and do not carry out work in which you have poor visibility.

Poor artificial lighting:

Although this is not as common, in some cases the artificial lighting used can often cause more issues than it is solving. Too much artificial light can cause glare, especially for those who are working with metals and reflective materials.

If the artificial light is too bright or causing lots of glare, workers vision may be impeded and it can also lead to headaches and stress, which will both increase the risks of mistakes, poor quality work and low productivity.

Managing night work:

To help reduce risks to your workforce, here is a checklist that managers can use to identify risks and safety practices that should be considered.

  1. Require daytime managers to periodically work at night – managers who have experience with the challenges of managing a site during the day may have additional input on how to reduce risks of a nightshift.
  2. Continue to evaluate your working environment – conduct comprehensive reviews of your workplace. Consider any near misses or accidents you may have had. Review lighting, temperature and poor airflow which may lead to fatigue.
  3. Put shift work safety at the forefront – Make sure that your sites are mandated and discussed at safety meetings. Also, include a seat for someone who works night shifts.
  4. Promote sleep and napping – Promoting the importance of good sleep following a night shift to help reduce risks to themselves and others. The appeal of having the ‘day off’ can lead to workers operating on next to no sleep.
  5. Allow short breaks – Working at night requires added concentration and over the course of a shift this can lead to greater risk. Allow workers 30 minutes of extra break so they can have a rest, eat, and recover.
  6. Access worker schedules – No shift work is optimal, but those who are required to go from nights to days and back to nights are likely to suffer from poor sleeping patterns. Allow these workers a day off in between shifts or consider changing their shifts less often.
  7. Monitor overtime – If you have workers who are offering to do nights as overtime, make sure to monitor the hours they’re doing. If they are following day shifts with nights, then you may have to tell them to reduce the work they’re doing and allow them a break.
  8. Standardise shift changes – Issues can often occur on sites where one set of shift workers end, and another starts. Poor communication can lead to issues being missed and risks increased.
  9. Don’t forget the drive home – After the shift has finished, workers will also have to drive home. Following a nightshift, the chances of falling asleep at the wheel increase. Make space for workers to nap before commuting home and promote car share to reduce the number of cars on the road.
SMAS Worksafe / AJC Group annoucement

The AJC Group choose SMAS Worksafe for supply chain management

SMAS Worksafe are delighted to announce that The AJC Group have chosen to make SMAS Worksafe their SSIP Scheme of choice.

The AJC Group are one of Dorset and Hampshire’s leading property development companies. With over 40 years combined experience within the industry, they are committed to delivering lasting change, transforming lives and landscapes through the construction of high quality private and affordable homes.

As from 1st October, all contractors and suppliers working with The AJC Group will be required to hold a valid SSIP certificate with SMAS Worksafe as a minimum requirement.

“AJC are always looking at new and improved ways of working more efficiently with our Contractors to ensure their health & safety. The partnership we have with SMAS Worksafe to manage our Contractors’ Health & Safety Stage 1 requirements is something that we feel can help reduce the stress on us, knowing SMAS Worksafe are managing our contractor’s health & safety gives us great peace of mind.” George Bravington – Health & Safety Advisor, The AJC Group.

SMAS Worksafe will shortly initiate an onboarding campaign for all contractor and suppliers who work with The AJC Group and support them through the process of obtaining an SSIP certificate with them.

“We are extremely pleased to have gained The AJC Group as a new client. The partnership shows our continued commitment to helping house-building clients manage their contractors to create a safe workplace.” Mark Claridge – Partnership Manager, SMAS Ltd

To find out more about how SMAS can support your supply chain procurement and management systems contact Mark at markclaridge@smasltd.com or 01752 393404

Stonebond Properties Client Testimonial

Client Testimonial: Stonebond Properties

Client Testimonial: Stonebond Properties

SMAS Worksafe offer more than just SSIP for contractors. We also offer our clients a cost free supply chain management solution which includes monthly site reports for all of your contractors and access to the SMAS Worksafe portal for finding new contractors you might require. As a client you also have the ability to choose the level of accreditation you wish your contractors to have, this could be just health & safety or include areas such as environmental and quality management. 

Stonebond properties have chosen to make SMAS Worksafe their SSIP accreditation of choice and we help them to manage their current supply list and give them access to our portal to find new contractors when needed. 

Stonebond are a medium size business with major growth ambitions. They now operate across multiple regions (Chelmsford, St Albans and Sevenoaks) with an ambitious target of 1,300 completions by 2025.

They hold a niche position in the market focusing on schemes of between 20 to 200 units with a ‘sweet spot’ of between 60 to 80 units; a size not typically large enough for volume housebuilders but equally too large for smaller SMEs.

The business takes pride in its sustainable commitment to housebuilding and holds itself to account through a range of demanding objectives with any new development. Adopting a comprehensive set of measures outlined through the National TOMS Framework. This focuses on four key themes: local jobs and skills, supporting regional business, creating healthier communities and protecting the environment.

By following this framework, the business ensures it is embedding social value into each new development, creating thriving communities which improve the quality of life and wellbeing of both residents, and the local community.

We spoke with Paul Kelly, the Commercial Director at Stonebond. Paul has been with the business since 2017 having previously worked 12 years with two other national housing developers.

On his role within Stonebond he said; “I am responsible for managing the commercial team and obviously making sure the commercial side of the business operates as smoothly as possible.

Stonebond Properties Logo
Ploughmans Reach Case Study / Stonebond
Casey House, Stonebond Properties

Visit their website:   https://www.stonebondproperties.com/

"The best benefits of working with SMAS Worksafe is having access to their online portal. We can quickly and easily find contractors and trades within specific regions which is great for a business with multiple sites all over the UK."
Paul Kelly / Commercial Director for Stonebond Properties
Paul Kelly
Commercial Director

Stonebond properties have requested that all their contractors use SMAS Worksafe for their SSIP scheme. This allows them to skip any comparisons between different accreditations and manage all of their contractors in one place. We then keep them updated with monthly compliance reports that let them know the current SSIP status of everyone on their sites. 

“Before we were approached by SMAS Worksafe about supply chain management though SSIP we had an external H&S advisor, commercially we would still request site specific and company RAMS prior to contract letting but switching to SSIP has made the task much easier.

We can send all new contractor’s straight to SMAS Worksafe for certification and if we’re looking on the SMAS Worksafe portal for contractors we know they already meet our requirements – it’s an easy process.

The monthly compliance reports are also extremely useful for staying on top of our site safety. We receive site by site reports that tell us the status of every contractors SSIP assessment, including if they’re close to renewal. This makes our lives extremely easy; we can send the reports to the site managers and they are able to chat with anyone who may be needed to take action.”


"SMAS Worksafe are a well-known industry brand, and this gives both us and our subcontractors confidence that the working environment they’re working under is safe and supported by a leading member of SSIP."
Paul Kelly / Commercial Director for Stonebond Properties
Paul Kelly
Commercial Director
Stonebond Properties Housing

Have you used the SMAS Worksafe portal to find new contractors? If yes, how was the process?

“We often use the SMAS Worksafe portal to find new contractors, as previously mentioned being able to find contractors for our different regions is useful. The portal is also incredibly easy to use interface which saves us time, we can easily filter for what we’re looking for and don’t have to worry about them now having SSIP with SMAS Worksafe, which means we don’t waste time looking for contractors who don’t meet our health & safety requirements.”

Would recommend SMAS Worksafe’s supply chain management to other clients?

“Yes, they’re a well organised and very efficient helpful team who have made our search for finding and vetting contractors incredibly easy. If you’re struggling to source contractors or spending lots of time checking accreditations then I highly recommend contacting SMAS Worksafe. It’s  a really simple process and we haven’t had any issues with the service they provide.”

Stonebond Properties

If you would like to learn more about SMAS Worksafe’s supply chain management solutions, please get in touch with us. We offer a no fee management solution and allow you the flexibility to choose your required accreditation level. 

Call us on: 01752 697370 and select partnerships


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    Sustainable Construction / Solar Pannels

    Sustainable construction

    The construction industry is one of the largest sectors when it comes to using materials and having an impact on the environment and there is a huge push on sustainable construction, with the aim of becoming net zero by 2050 looming over all developments. But what are the keys to sustainable construction and what challenges are we going face trying to achieve the ambitious goal of becoming net zero by 2050.

     

    Why sustainability in construction matters

    The construction industry is at the forefront of building new societies and creating the future world we live in. Due to the constant need for construction and the impact it has on the future of our planet, making the construction industry sustainable is vital for the future health of our planet.

    In fact, the building and construction industry accounts for an incredible 40% of CO2 emissions and according to the Supply Chain Sustainability School, building and construction works in countries which are part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) use:

    • 25-40% of total energy
    • 30% of raw materials
    • 30-40% of global greenhouse gas emissions
    • 30-40% of solid waste generation.

     

    Building a sustainable construction industry

     

    To create a truly sustainable construction industry the first step that needs to be taken is the sourcing of materials and making sure that where

    Sustainable Construction, Low angle green apartments

    possible the materials used to build our future have come in some capacity from our past, such as recycled materials. As mentioned previously, construction is responsible for 25-40% of the worlds energy usage and therefore finding a renewal energy source is another big step in helping to create a sustainable site.

    During projects themselves, care must be taken regarding waste, not just the amount of waste but also how it is being disposed. Can the materials be recycled and used further down the line? Is there a way in which we can dispose of the materials in a less impactful way to the environment? These are questions you should be considering if you’re responsible for the removal of materials.

    You should also consider how you’re impacting the environment whilst carry out work such as creating dust, destroying natural habitat and the energy consumptions you’re using. The thought of sustainable construction is to create an environmentally friendly construction site and well as finished project.

     

    What are the challenges?

    Adapting to these new methods is something that is going to take time and won’t happen overnight. Not only will they take time to implement and change, but they are also expensive. Using renewal materials and sourcing renewable energy all comes at great costs and although might save you money in the long run, businesses will often take a large financial hit to change from the current processes.

     

    Government plans

    Sustainable Construction - turning down CO2 dial

    Building a sustainable future is something the UK government is doing its best to tackle. They have set out plans which would see the United Kingdom be net-zero in carbon emissions by 2050. The ‘net zero’ plan would see any emissions balanced by schemes to offset an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage to negate the negative effects if CO2.

    As part of this initiative all homes and businesses will have to meet rigorous new energy efficiency standards to lower energy consumption and bills, helping to protect the environment.

    These new standards include radically improving the energy performance of new homes with low carbon heating, reduce emissions and be zero carbon ready by 2025. This would see roughly a 75-80% reduction in carbon emissions to the current level of housing.

    Existing homes will also be subject to higher standards. There will be significant improvement on the standard for extensions, making homes warmer and reducing bills. The requirement for replacement, repairs and parts to be more energy efficient, including windows and building services such as heat pumps and fixed lighting.