There are a number of reasons why you may visit a construction site. Maybe you’re taking progress photos, meeting with the contractors, or taking a tour. No matter the purpose, there are ways to prepare and guidelines to follow to prevent disturbing the laborers or being seriously injured.
Make sure you know who you’re meeting with and where. Have this person’s contact information readily available. Sometimes it’s hard to navigate a construction site or find an appropriate place to park. If you have access to plans or blueprints of the site, study them and bring them with you. You don’t want to be wandering aimlessly around a dangerous site or driving in areas where vehicles aren’t allowed.
Ask what safety equipment is required. Every location differs and you want to be prepared. Without the proper protective equipment you may not be allowed on site. Hard hats, safety glasses, reflective vests, and steel toe boots are a few pieces you may need. If you don’t have any, ask your contact if you can borrow them.
Carry small, helpful tools. You may need a flashlight to see into a dark room or in between walls if the electricity hasn’t been installed yet. A tape measure will come in handy if you need to know whether your desk is going to fit through the door frame of your new office. If you want to reference a site later on, taking pictures with a small camera is beneficial.
Use the bathroom. This may sound silly, but do you really want to use the portable toilets on site? Sometimes the field office will have a private bathroom, but it might not be accessible to visitors. And even if bathrooms in the building have been installed, it’s unlikely they’re ready to be used.
AT THE SITE
Check in and check out. Report to the field office or check in with the person you’re meeting. It’s imperative that the supervisor keeps track of who’s been on site in case of theft, emergency, or accidents. You also want to stick with the group you’re touring with or the person showing you around the site as they’re responsible for you.
Mind your business and don’t get involved. Unless you have the authority to give direction, don’t tell the laborers what they should and shouldn’t be doing. They know more about the project than you do so it’s not only disrespectful, but could potentially cause serious problems if they take your advice.
Watch your step and stay alert. Construction sites are very dangerous. Keep an eye out for holes in the floor, exposed nails, and low overheads. Equipment operators are focused on their load, not on pedestrians, so you must move out of the way or face the consequences.
Avoid touching or taking anything. Construction material and equipment can be extremely expensive. You don’t want to be responsible for removing or damaging something from the site that will cost the owner or contractor big bucks. You should also be careful of what you touch. You don’t want to be electrocuted or accidentally leave a hand print in wet cement.
Ask before taking photos or videos. People are very particular about their privacy. Some sites may contain confidential information or material. The owner or contractor may be wary of what you plan to do with those pictures and videos. Or maybe someone simply doesn’t want to be on camera.
Shoes. Hard-soled boots or steel toe boots are necessary. Nails can penetrate soft-soled sneakers and steel toes will protect your feet in case something is dropped. Open-toed, open-heeled, and high-heeled shoes are forbidden.
Hard hat. You want to keep that cranium safe. Head injuries can be fatal. Make sure it fits snugly around your head and doesn’t fall off when you look up, down, and around.
Safety vest. This component isn’t necessary at every site but it’s good to keep handy, just in case.
Safety glasses. Again, these aren’t always required but it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you wear prescription glasses, you can probably get away with just wearing those. But most safety glasses fit over them.
Long sleeves and long pants. These will protect your skin from scrapes or burns. No piece of clothing should have holes in them. Also, clothes that are too loose have the potential to get caught on something, so make sure everything fits comfortably.
All in all, make sure you’re kind, courteous, self-aware, and use common sense. Every single construction site is unique so these guidelines may not apply to all, but follow them as precautionary measures.