Keeping our Kids Safe From Construction Sites
Jackass star Steve-O was arrested last weekend when he caused emergency services to be called to a Hollywood construction site. The intrepid stunt performer seems to have taken things a step too far – he climbed up a crane that towered at least 100 ft. up from the ground in order to protest against SeaWorld. The initial emergency responders were unsure whether he actually needed rescuing or not – however, firefighters played it safe by preparing a cushion in case of a fall from height. Steve-O was streaming live video coverage of himself on his Facebook page as he climbed armed with an inflatable killer whale balloon. You really couldn’t make this stuff up!
While Steve-O was behaving in a totally irresponsible manner, setting a terrible example for his fans, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) here in the UK have been trying to draw attention to warnings about children playing on building sites. This is particularly relevant following last month’s tragic death of 7 year old Conley Thompson who slipped into a plastic pipe while exploring a construction site near his home.
According to figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) each year two or three children die here in the UK after managing to gain access to building sites and many more are injured. Although the number of fatalities has gone down in recent years, deaths do still occur on an annual basis and these are deaths that could be avoided.
If you think back to your own childhood, it’s probably easy to see why construction sites hold such an appeal for youngsters looking for somewhere to play – they look interesting and exciting and are usually full of items and equipment that looks as if they would serve as pretty handy swings or climbing frames. However, building sites are definitely not playgrounds and anybody who enters a site unauthorised is taking a risk.
While there are steps that businesses and construction site managers can take to make a site more secure and prevent children from gaining access, we have to remember that kids can be quite resourceful and they fit through smaller spaces than adults do. Before leaving for the day, managers should make sure that they lock away hazardous substances and that ladders and other access equipment are removed and stored safely where possible. It’s also vital that building sites are securely locked, that fences are regularly inspected for damage, etc.
Another great way of preventing children accessing building sites is for local businesses to engage with the local schools and communities to ensure that children and their parents are fully aware of just how dangerous a building site really is. Children are the responsibility of their parents and, as such, it really is up to the parents to know where their children are playing. As parents, if we allow our kids to play away from the home unsupervised, then it’s vital to make sure we make them aware of the dangers of entering any piece of land, building or site when they are not authorised to do so.