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Make sure you - and others - stay safe

Date: 22 December 2017

How do H&S regulations, legal duties and other influences impact on your safety at work?

Safety at work is the No.1 priority for everyone involved in the building trade and plasterers share the responsibility for minimising risk and eliminating the hazards that can affect our own health and that of others.

Employers have a duty to keep you safe and healthy through information, instruction and training, but this responsibility doesn’t start and finish there. As an employee have a legal duty to:

  • Take care of your own health and safety – and that of others
  • Wear the necessary personal protective equipment
  • Take part in all necessary training
  • Use tools and equipment correctly, and report any defects
  • Do not misuse anything provided for your health, safety and welfare

Self-employed plasterers have responsibilities too

Being self-employed doesn’t exempt you from these responsibilities: you have legal duties in relation to your health and safety and you are obliged to ensure that your work doesn’t put others at risk, whether this be other professionals working nearby, customers or members of the public.

Identifying and minimising risks

All trades present their own specific on-site risks and plastering is no different. Awareness is perhaps the most important first step but needs to be backed up by training that in turn leads to best practice. Following are just some of the areas of potential risk:

  • Working at heights: Different practices relate to working from ladders, scaffolding and other access equipment and you should be aware of these.
  • Chemicals / dermatitis: Direct contact with mortar can result in dermatitis and burns; be sure to wear the correct CE marked PVC gloves when handling mortar.
  • Dust and flying particles: Inhaling dust can cause serious respiratory problems including lung tissue damage, and lead to eye injuries too. Be sure to wear goggles at all times as well as the correct type of dust mask.

Personal Protective Equipment

PPE should only be seen as a final safety net – risk elimination is the ultimate objective – but it’s there for a reason. Whether it’s hard hats, safety boots, or hi-vis jackets, PPE is there for your protection.

Fitness and stress-related issues

Safety at work isn’t just a matter of managing interaction with your surroundings, it’s also directly connected to your existing health and wellbeing. In a physical job like plastering, fitness itself is important, however health isn’t just physical.

Mental wellness is critical, in and outside of work. Stress is a big factor and if disregarded can impact on your ability to do a job safely. Stress affects your work performance and can lead to poor decision making, lack of concentration causing a rise in mistakes, leaving you and your colleagues prone to accidents.

Men’s Journal have a great article aimed to tackle stress and exercise your mind, have a read of it here.

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