With Christmas fast approaching, building sites rush to complete projects before the holiday period, as employees take time off to be with loved ones. This rush however, means that preparing your site for the Christmas period can often be an afterthought.

However, it’s likely to be the longest period that a building site is left unattended. Here, workwear brand Scruffs share their top tips on how you can keep your site safe this Christmas.

Lock your site

£1 million worth of equipment is stolen from building sites every week in the UK; and Christmas is a prime time for opportunists to strike, with sites left empty.

Before you close for the holidays, help to keep your site as safe as possible by checking that both your alarm and CCTV are working properly – and set them. You should also make sure that your fence is secure, and most importantly: lock your site with heavy duty locks when you leave.

A secure site is less likely to be burgled, for the simple fact that many thieves are opportunists, and will only strike if the moment is right.

It’s also worth clearly displaying an emergency contact number on your fencing so that should anything happen, someone can quickly be notified.

Hide machinery

Opportunists strike if there’s something worth stealing; and machinery and power tools found on building sites can be hugely tempting, as they’re very expensive.

Before you leave for the Christmas period, you should remove hand tools, machinery and vehicles from your site.

If it isn’t possible to remove all equipment, then ensure you stow it away in a secure storage facility, such as a shipping container. For vehicles left on-site, make sure one employee takes the keys home with them, so trespassers can’t drive off in them.

Switch off electricity

The average yearly electricity bill of an industrial company is high, at £7,346. When sites are shut down over Christmas, there’s no need to leave electricity running, as it will just push your bills higher.

If none of your employees are working this Christmas, then turn your electricity off. Realistically, machinery and other power tools don’t need to be on standby, and the lights don’t need to be left on. All they’re doing is costing you extra money.

Clear trip hazards

The last thing you want to happen in the new year is to return to work on the building site, fall over and injure yourself.

During 2016/17, there were over 5,000 injuries in the construction industry, with 41% of non-fatal injuries caused by trips or slips.

Help to reduce this figure by minimising the risk of potential trip hazards before you close for the Christmas period.

Clearly signpost uneven surfaces, remove trailing cables out of the way of walkways, and use cable guards where required. You should also check that your lighting is as bright as it could be, as dim lighting can mask hazards, and increase the likelihood of falls.

Remove Flammable Objects

One of the many dangers faced by construction sites is the risk of a fire, mainly due to the amount of dry timber found.

Before you shut for the holidays, remove any flammable objects: ensure skips are empty, paper is recycled and there no wooden pallets lying around – all of which could help to start and spread a fire.

Christmas is a time to be enjoyed with loved ones, but it’s also likely to be the longest period of time your building site is left empty. These five tips won’t take long to implement, but they will help to give you peace of mind that your site is as safe as it can possibly be over Christmas.