Christmas shutdown – is your site ready?

Christmas is nearly upon us, therefore it is time to start planning your Christmas shutdown, the Christmas break is when the majority of construction sites around the UK shutdown for the longest period.

Before you head home for a well-earned break, there are a few things that should be considered to hopefully avoid being rudely interrupted during the festive period.

The checklist below will help minimise risks posed during this break and prompt a review of Health & Safety documents.

Ensure Site is Secure

Leave your site locked up, as secure as possible and ensure that all site fencing is secured and undamaged, fencing or hoardings is a good deterrent to avoid unwanted visitors such as children and thieves, if access is made difficult, they are likely to lose interest and not enter your site.

Check Signage

You should already have signage in place on your site but whist ensuring that your site is secure use this opportunity to review your site signage and ensure that it clearly defines the potential hazards. Warning signs are unlikely to prevent entry into your site, but they could help protect your firm in the event that someone does enter your site and injure themselves whilst trespassing.

Plan for Bad Weather

The UK’s weather is unpredictable, so it is best to plan for all eventualities including high winds, freezing temperatures and even the possibility of snow. Make sure stacked items are secured, remove any materials from roofs and scaffolds, if material cannot be removed ensure that they are secured in position. Make sure that any pipes that aren’t sufficiently lagged are left unpressurised to avoid frozen and burst pipes.

Secure Tools and Equipment

Leaving tools onsite at any time is risky but leaving them over the Christmas period is not recommended, make sure you and your labour removes as many tools from your site prior to the break as possible. Ensure that all equipment is secured from theft or against tampering, employees are trained to use the equipment you have onsite, trespassers may not be therefore it is best to try and prevent the equipment from being used, should someone enter your site.

Suspend Hires

Remember to off hire or suspend all hired equipment as possible, this will save hire costs and if possible, provide the opportunity for the hire company to be able to collect their equipment and take responsibility for it over the festive period.

Review of H&S

Christmas is generally a quieter time onsite and could provide a great opportunity for a review of all Health and Safety documents to ensure that they are still valid for the works that are being completed or planned for next year. Has any methods of work changed from what was planned or has the work developed into other works which is not cover, if this is the case the H&S documents need to be updated to reflect the changes.

A review of the site induction is good practice to ensure that it is still relevant for the site including a review of the site logistics and fire plan to ensure no changes are required to reflect the current site.

Check operative training cards to ensure that they are still in date and valid, this could be completed at the beginning of the new year along with a refresher site induction to remind the work force of the site hazards and focus them on being back to work after the break.

Plan now for a successful Christmas shutdown and enjoy your festive break.

Christmas shutdown

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