Once the supply of leftover turkey dries up and the fireworks haze has cleared, you’ll probably be facing the reality of lacing up your boots and heading back into work.
As the festive season is the longest period that most construction sites will shut down, there are a few things that you’ll need to think about, and ways you’ll need to prepare, ahead of returning to site.
Dan Goodfellow, Group Manager for Products at Coates, shares these tips for getting 2023 off to a safe and efficient start.
If you manage to have the break that you need, it’s likely that you’ll be returning to work in a different mental state than when you left. Dan urges people to remember that complacency can kill in high-risk environments, and highlights the importance of revisiting the safety basics before returning to site.
“Loading and unloading construction materials and equipment is an example of one of the most high-risk construction tasks,” Dan explains. “What’s more concerning is that it is one of the first activities that will happen on construction sites across the country on the first day back at work, when many people will still be mentally gearing back up.”
“Construction workers, truck drivers, transport operators and everyone else that’s involved in the Chain of Responsibility (CoR) will need to have their wits about them from the moment they clock back on in 2023,” he continues. “This means being vigilant about setting up exclusion zones, using a spotter whenever possible, and following best practice for load restraint and other high-risk construction activities.”
To help everyone in the transport supply chain learn how to load their heavy vehicle safely, Coates is launching a new edition of its Load Restraint Guide in the first quarter.
Finding damaged or stolen equipment (or other forms of vandalism) on returning to site can really set your project back. Thankfully, there are some easy and cost-effective solutions to help manage site security over the break.
“Equipment like security cameras, temporary fencing and site lighting can serve as deterrents to prevent people from illegally accessing your site,” says Dan. “Coates can also supply innovative lighting solutions like timed solar street lighting towers that eliminate the need to run generators during the shutdown.”
Construction businesses should start planning their supply of construction materials and equipment for 2023 as early as possible.
“There are still significant global supply chain restraints, and the lead time on some equipment has now become extraordinarily long,” says Dan. “You can’t just assume that if you have a job coming up, you’ll be able to get what you need, or that you’ll be able to get it on time and budget. Transport will also be in high demand during the first weeks back, so construction businesses need to be looking ahead, planning ahead, and booking ahead.”
According to Dan, Coates is continually looking to the market to understand customer and major project pipelines, and investing in growing its fleet accordingly. “Because Coates takes a long-term view of its fleet and supply chain, we have already started to receive some of the equipment that our customers will be needing next year,” he says.
With severe labour shortages and the ‘great re-evaluation’ in full swing, the construction workforce is another area worth thinking about and mapping out.
“There’s been quite a lot of change and pressure on the construction industry lately, and Christmas can be a time when people re-assess their work situation, their work-life balance and what’s important to them,” says Dan. “You might find that the workforce you thought you would have going into 2023 ends up looking quite different, so when you’re taking on new projects remember to also check in with your team.”
When you’re staffing up for 2023, it also pays to stay across any changes that might affect you or your workforce. For example, quotas have now been set in Victoria for the inclusion of women in construction, with 2023 marked as a year for recruitment, and penalties will then be in place by 2024. Subscribe to your relevant regulatory bodies for updates on legislative changes that might affect you.
Sustainability remains a focus area for Coates and its customers, and with metrics increasingly being built into public sector projects there will be even more demand for environmentally-friendly equipment options and innovations going into 2023.
“Emissions targets might feel a long way away, but they’re really not, and understanding what you need to work towards, and which products and solutions are available to help you achieve this is the first step,” says Dan. “Whether it’s better quality and lower emission engines, or more sustainable types of fuels, customers should be thinking about how they can do things better, and turning Coates to help inform their greener choices.”
Dan also notes high demand for the more sustainable and innovative tools and equipment in Coates’ fleet, making booking ahead critical. “If you do forget to order something and remember midway through your Christmas lunch, don’t fret,” says Dan. “Tools like Coates Connect and Hire Now let customers to do everything online, connecting you with what you need, where and when you need it.”
To keep customers informed throughout the year, Coates also hosts events such as the Engineering Solutions’ Lunch & Learn series. These events create forums where customers can learn about new products and innovations, ask questions, and get the answers they need direct from industry experts.
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