Operating plant equipment? Health and Safety tips for a construction site

plant equipment - construction site

Currently, the construction sector is one of the biggest work sectors in the UK. Employing over 3.1 million people, staying safe is vital in order to maintain a safe working environment for all employees.

Due to the type of work carried out, it is considered one of the most dangerous roles to work in. Employees are exposed to large amounts of plant equipment, health hazards including falling materials, trip hazards and structural failures.

There are plenty of ways to keep safe on a construction site. However it’s making sure all workers adhere to them. We’ve put together a list of our top tips for a safe construction site.

PPE for plant equipment users

Before you begin operating any plant equipment, all operators need to be supplied with and dressed in the correct workwear.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial for any construction worker. If you’re walking around the construction site, assisting another worker or operating plant machinery, it is important to wear the following PPE:

  • Boots (steel toe or composite toe to protect your feet from any falling objects)
  • High-visibility clothing
  • Ear protection – Depending on the amount of noise, foam earplugs or earmuffs will do the job
  • Eye projection which could include safety glasses, goggles or even a face shield
  • Hard hat or another form of head protection
  • Gloves where appropriate

If you love your job, why would you put yourself at risk when working? All workers should be wearing the above safety gear. If you see anyone not wearing this, it is important that it is reported to an onsite supervisor or manager.

Working Area

All construction sites will differ in size, but it is key to adhere to the same health and safety procedures. 

Health and Safety Signs

Any working construction site should have safety signs clearly displayed. Often these signs would include large vehicles turning and moving, the potential of falling materials and even if any gas or other chemicals may be present.

Moving plant equipment

All workers should be constantly aware of their surroundings. Construction sites can change rapidly, new machines can be brought in, moved around, and it’s important to keep up with changes. You wouldn’t want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Operating plant equipment

When it comes to operating construction machinery, the operator needs to have full visibility from the cab. They should be able to see if there are any workers near or walking towards their work area. 

Most machines are fitted with an idle switch to turn the machine off safely, which we highly recommend using. Komatsu excavators are also fitted with a red safety lock lever that is pulled down to disengage any controls. This is useful to prevent any accidents from happening.

Machine Maintenance

All machinery needs to be up to date when it comes to maintenance. Should a faulty machine be used for operating, it could cause serious harm to the operator, and anyone around. All plant equipment should be checked the following faults:

  • Any oil or water tank issues
  • engine failures
  • hoses and pipes should be checked to ensure they are in full working order 


To work in the construction sector, operators will need to hold the correct qualifications.

To maintain safety standards on a construction site, operators will need to obtain a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) Card. This card provides proof that operators have the correct skills and training to complete their job. A CSCS test certificate is valid for 2 years from the pass date. An operator will then need to apply for the CSCS card, which will then be valid for 5 years.

Having the correct training in construction is crucial for your own safety. It is beneficial to make a note of all of your qualifications and when they expire. Maintaining in-date qualifications are just as important as gaining additional skills. If you need to update any certificates, or you’re looking to gain new qualifications, our sister company, Diggerland Plant Training School is the company to contact. With a large range of NPORS plant equipment courses available, operators will be able to train up in a variety of new skills.

By following the safety tips mentioned, all construction sites can be safe and secure for all operators. Plenty of rules can be enforced further to the ones above, however safety should always be the first priority no matter what.

How can International Plant Sales help you?

If you’re looking for safe, trusted plant equipment to add to your fleet, you’re in luck! 

Here at International Plant Sales we stock the following machines:

  • Excavators (Mini, Midi, Tracked, Long Reach)
  • Road Rollers
  • Dumper Trucks
  • Telehandlers
  • Backhoe Loaders

All of our machines have low hours, one previous owner, have a manufacturer’s service history and include a warranty on all major components. If you require a specific machine, get in contact with us today to find out what we can offer, and get a quote.

All information correct as of: 22nd September 2020.

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