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Site safety crucial to prevent further tragedy

Proper site security is crucial in preventing further tragedies, as highlighted by the recent unfortunate incident at a construction site in Leeds.

Following the death of a seven-year-old, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has emphasised the importance of site security.

Howard Civil Engineering was fined £600,000 due to safety lapses.

According to the HSE inquiry, the young boy suffocated after becoming caught in a discharge pipe on the site.

The investigation revealed inadequate fencing failed to prevent unauthorised entry.

Howard Civil Engineering were liable for not meeting the necessary fencing requirements.

The Occupiers’ Liability Acts of 1957 and 1984 stipulates businesses have a legal duty to ensure the safety and security of individuals on their premises.  Whether they are authorised visitors or not. Even in cases where trespassers enter criminally, the building firm may still face prosecution if harm comes to them.

This incident has shed light on a concerning trend of trespassing incidents. Not only by children viewing construction sites as playgrounds but also by “urban explorers” seeking climbing activities and recording videos for social media.

Many contractors have resorted to obtaining injunctions to prevent unauthorized access to their sites.

However, the cost of securing an injunction can be around £30,000 per construction site.

To address these security challenges, construction companies must prioritize the erection of adequate fencing to prevent trespassing.

Hoarding plays a vital role in concealing construction operations, making the site less appealing to trespassers.

They can be supplied as buried and freestanding wooden or steel panels, as well as water-filled barriers.

These barriers serve legal requirements, enhance aesthetics, facilitate normal activities around the construction area, and promote site safety and public security.

In addition to hoarding, CCTV systems and intruder alarms provided by companies like SafeSite Facilities offer enhanced security measures for construction sites. CCTV towers, standalone cameras, and mobile wireless camera systems can complement hoardings by deterring intruders, preventing theft and vandalism. These systems employ trespass detection with automatic alarms and spoken warnings, making intruders aware that they are being monitored in real-time. Remote monitoring allows security personnel to quickly respond to any suspicious activity.

Scaffold alarms are also gaining popularity. They are wirelessly linked to a dedicated 24-hour monitoring station and feature built-in cameras for visual identification, capturing photographs when alarm beams are crossed. Wireless detection cameras utilising AI technology, such as SafeSite Facilities’ The Minder Wireless Alarm, provide advanced intrusion detection capabilities without requiring a power grid or WiFi connectivity. These cameras record high-definition video upon detecting movement and use AI software to analyse the footage, reducing false alarms and enabling prompt response from keyholders, security guards, and the police if necessary.

The HSE inspector, Paul Yeadon, emphasized the industry’s responsibility to ensure that children cannot access construction sites and face inherent risks. Proper hoardings, in compliance with legal requirements, combined with state-of-the-art security cameras and scaffold alert systems, can help construction companies fulfil their duty of keeping the public safe.

It is crucial for the construction industry to invest in comprehensive site security measures, including fencing, CCTV systems, and intruder alarms. By doing so, they can minimize the risk of tragedies, protect their sites from unauthorized access and criminal activities, and contribute to a safer environment for everyone involved. For more information on construction site security solutions, visit our CCTV and alarms page.

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