Regardless of career path, your first day on the job can be a nerve-wracking experience; however, for those setting foot in the construction industry, extra care and attention is often required. That said, pursuing a job in the construction industry provides ample flexibility and countless opportunities for acquiring various valuable skills, from commercial awareness to architectural problem-solving. With that in mind, here are some things to consider for your first day on-site so that you can enjoy your introduction to a gratifying career path safely and confidently.
Before you arrive for your first day at work, researching the company or operation may be worthwhile to get an insight into their expectations of you as an employee. That said, it is advisable to research any company you intend to work for before the interview stage to acquaint yourself with management’s business model and values. A comprehensive understanding of your company and work environment leads to increased confidence, productivity and a higher likelihood of being noticed by your superiors.
Arrive On Time
Few things look less professional than turning up late for your first day at work. Arrive on site with plenty of time to spare, ideally around 15 minutes before your starting time. If you’re slightly unsure of the site location, leave earlier than you think is necessary – this will also account for traffic delays and public transport issues.
It is the responsibility of the employer to provide the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to all employees whose health and safety may be at risk. Construction site PPE often involves hard hats, eye protection, ear protection, gloves, steel toe-capped boots and high-visibility clothing. It is your responsibility as an employee to ensure you are wearing the provided PPE at all times. While failure to use PPE correctly can be grounds for disciplinary action, it is also in your best interest to protect the safety of yourself and your colleagues.
In terms of your general clothing, wear something weather appropriate and comfortable if you haven’t yet been provided with a company uniform.
Construction work can often be physically demanding, making hydration vital to your physical well-being. You may be working long hours in all weather conditions and temperatures, including oppressive heat. Dehydration can cause tiredness, dizziness and light-headedness – all symptoms that can be extremely dangerous when working with heavy machinery and hazardous substances. Stay hydrated by replenishing your fluid levels with water, avoiding diuretics such as tea, coffee and sugary soda.
If you’re unsure about any aspect of your role, it is vital that you ask for clarification before putting yourself and others at risk. Many career paths allow you to learn and progress as you work. Nobody expects you to be an expert on your first day; however, skilled construction and building trades are rife with injury reports when unsafe working practices are allowed to continue. Make yourself aware of the company’s policies and procedures, from the construction traffic management plan to the fire safety policy.
On the subject of safety, it is crucial to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Perhaps this is not your first time on a construction site. In that case, you will be well aware of the potential risks and hazards. For the inexperienced worker, vigilance is key – keep clear of plant machinery and always heed warning signs.
Don’t Underestimate The Workload
As mentioned previously, construction work can be profoundly physically demanding as it involves varying degrees of manual labour. From roofing to demolition to waste disposal, your job may involve a lot of bending, climbing and lifting heavy loads. To protect your health and well-being, follow the correct procedures and pace yourself for long working hours.
Be Open To Learn
Being open to learn and grow as an individual are highly valuable characteristics, and employees who strive for self-improvement seldom go unappreciated. Being open to workplace learning and development speaks volumes about your work ethic and enthusiasm for your trade. Express your eagerness to acquire new skills, such as the control and safe operation of plant machinery or project management.