The Advisory Service’s Team Leader Paul Kilby explains how to make sure the visitors to your workplace are as safe as your workers. This article appeared in the August 2021 edition of Workplace Issues.
Do you have visitors, customers, family members or other members of the public coming into your workplace? If so, have you thought about how to control their access to ensure their health and safety?
It’s not just the safety of your workers that you need to manage. If you have site management policies or procedures, these must clearly state how you will ensure the safety of any visitors to your workplace.
A good start is having clear signage that directs visitors to your front office or reception. Sign them in and out for security and emergency management reasons (so you know who is on site). If your visitors are moving to other locations on site, away from your reception area (and this includes contractors who are going to other areas of your site to do work), note this location on your sign-in register.
Think about where visitors arrive at and enter your workplace, then consider the routes and movements of workplace vehicles such as trucks, forklifts and mobile plant. Do these operate in the same area that visitors enter? A good idea would be to have a designated car parking area away from busy operations; another option to consider is having one-way car thoroughfares.
Make sure any option you implement is clearly designated by signage and line markings. Clear yellow lines are often used to delineate pedestrian walkways from vehicle thoroughfares. If there are blind corners, consider two-way mirrors, bollards and/or fencing to help prevent any incident between vehicles and people.
It may be appropriate to provide your visitors with personal protective equipment such as hi-vis vests (for example, if trucks, forklifts and mobile plant are operating), helmets, and hearing or eye protection, depending on the circumstances.
If your visitor is unfamiliar with your site, or is going to an area where significant hazards are present, it may be appropriate to have one of your workers accompany them.
If you have a workshop or warehouse at your workplace, keep visitors out of these areas because of the hazards likely to be there (such as equipment, chemicals or vehicles, or tasks such as welding). Have clear signage and if possible, install a physical barrier such as a gate, roller door, chain or retractable barrier strip at the entrance and exit points.
Avoid bringing your visitors (especially children) into areas with moving machinery, or make sure they are accompanied at all times.