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'Tis the season to be cautious of construction

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Taking the time to remind your family to be aware of potential hazards — and taking some small and simple steps to avoid them — goes a long way to prevent a catastrophe.

Construction season is well underway in Manitoba. While we usually equate construction season with road construction, the summer months are also the busiest time for residential construction as well.

Residential construction season doesn’t just involve new homes being built in new communities. It also includes swimming-pool installations, landscaping projects, driveway repairs and major home-renovation projects. That means residential construction — and the common hazards that can come with it — may be present in any neighbourhood over the summer months. With kids out of school, now is a great time to remind people of all ages to keep an eye out for potential hazards that can pop up during short-term construction projects.

Vehicles, equipment and materials used on construction sites can pose a hazard to workers, drivers and pedestrians on residential roadways while construction is taking place. These hazards can include backing onto roadways with equipment, machines that are parked on the road and trailers that are parked on the road. If equipment will be working on the road, a safety buffer area will usually be marked off to alert drivers, pedestrians and workers that equipment will be nearby. Equipment should have back-up alarms to alert those in the area that the vehicle is backing on to the street. Please be on the lookout for these situations while driving, biking or walking in residential neighbourhoods.

It is also common that building material, such as gravel or rock, may need to be temporarily deposited on the roadway for a short period of time during construction. If you have children, please remind them that piles of gravel or stone on streets or driveways are potentially dangerous and should not be played on. Equipment is usually nearby to move these materials and there is a potential for the pile to shift. The best way to avoid any mishap is to ensure children do not go near piles of sand, gravel or stone. Construction fences are also sometimes attractive for curious children. Please remind kids that the fences should not be touched and that everyone should keep a safe distance away from active construction sites. Taking the time to remind your family to be aware of potential hazards — and taking some small and simple steps to avoid them — goes a long way to prevent a catastrophe.

From all of us at the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association, Happy Canada Day and have a safe summer!

Lanny McInnes is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.

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