Construction site security fencing

Guidance for duty holders on the need to provide appropriate site security measures, such as temporary fencing, on construction sites. It can help you identify and manage on-site hazards to ensure a safer workplace for everyone.

Risks

A construction site can be a dangerous place to work due to changing and ongoing risks. Risks include:

  • demolition of existing structures
  • excavations
  • slips, trips and falls
  • temporary electrical installations
  • partially constructed structures
  • stored construction materials
  • on-site plant and equipment

Legal duties

The Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 requires, amongst other things, that a person who has management or control of a workplace, such as a builder with management or control of a construction site, ensures, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace and the means for entering and leaving it are safe and without risks to health.

This general duty applies even when work is not taking place, such as outside of working hours. It also extends to members of the public, who may enter an unoccupied construction site, exposing them to serious health and safety risks.

The principles of health and safety protection require that members of the public, along with employees and other persons at work, are given the highest level of protection against risks to their health and safety that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.

When assessing risks to the public, employers should consider the possibility of children entering an unoccupied construction site. Employers should note that risks may increase when the site is located near:

  • a school, including a route travelled by children to and from school
  • parks or recreational areas
  • built up areas

Controlling risks

The most acceptable method to control risk of entry and exit from a construction site adopted by industry is the use of appropriate temporary site security fencing.

Security fencing can effectively control unauthorised entry onto an unoccupied construction site and can discourage or prevent people from entering the site, including young children.

Other controls, such as surveillance by security personnel, should only be considered for short duration periods where it is not reasonably practicable to provide security fencing.

Security fencing

When a security fence is used to control unauthorised entry onto a construction site, it should be:

  • at least 1.8m high. For demolition purposes, a higher fence maybe required depending on the risk. Refer to Compliance code: Demolition.
  • well-constructed. Gates and joints in fence sections should be securely connected, without any weak points for entry
  • proprietary systems should be installed as per manufacturers’ specifications
  • stable and able to withstand anticipated loads or forces, such as strong winds
  • difficult to climb and prevent access from underneath

Fencing with signage and shade cloth type coverings may require additional support to resist wind loadings.

Sheets of reinforcing mesh should not be used as site fencing because they may allow adequate hand and foot hold for children to climb over. Protruding ends may also cause injury.

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