What is your personal view on Health and Safety in construction? Like us I am sure you have heard many varied responses to the topic. Can it sometimes be a lack of understanding of the consequences that lead to the responses we hear?
THE FACTS AND FIGURES
Last year 35 people died on construction sites and there were over 44,000 musculoskeletal disorders that occurred which led to over 0.5 million lost work days due to injury.
This short blog aims to give you a heads up on just some of your legal requirements when in comes to Health and Safety. We all play a fundamental role in preventing fatalities and injuries on our sites. No one likes to watch anyone get hurt (or worse) so let us take a brief look at what the Law says about how we should manage Health and Safety (H&S) and minimum standards. There can be strict penalties, here are 4 considerations that will help you manage H&S correctly.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR H&S ON YOUR SITE
- The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations were updated in 2015. This does not cover all aspects of H&S, but it does apply to all construction projects regardless of their size. What is new is the definition of a commercial client and a domestic client. You need to be clear that for projects you are looking to turn a profit (IE. add value and sell) you are a commercial client. This means you need to have the same level of H&S as a multi-billion pound project such as Crossrail for the equivalent task risk levels.
- Appoint a Principle Designer and a Principle Contractor. Throughout all stages of the project from appointing a designer (Architect) through to building and maintaining the completed project you need to consider and manage H&S. This includes ensuring welfare is provided on site while construction is taking place to comply with the correct Regulations. Ensure you fully consider the resources and time required for the project at all stages so not to apply unnecessary pressure on contractors.
- Be aware of the H&S Pre-Construction Plan, this is relevant information gathered together about the project at the design stage which must consider likely risks and processes to manage them. An example being to carry out an asbestos survey, managing safe removal and obtaining certification for the H&S site file. Others include management of utilities, often basic information but essential to obtain, address and include in the H&S project file which can be inspected at any stage of your project by HSE.
- Before new Contractors start on site their H&S files must be checked by a competent person. When Contractors do start on site they must be inducted for H&S before any work is carried out, forms are signed and held on the site H&S file.
This list only covers a few key aspects which will give you a better understanding and allow you to be aware of the H&S requirement within a building / development project. This should help you avoid just some of the implications listed below for breaching H&S.
THE IMPLICATIONS OF NOT FULFILLING YOUR H&S DUTIES:
- Having a major injury or fatality on your site
- Personal impact of court cases
- Site closed by HSE while an investigation is carried out
- Financial impact that comes with time delays from site closures
- Unlimited fines and / or 2 years in prison. (If there is a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 it could go to either Lower or Higher Court. If this was to happen, it could hold potential penalties of unlimited fines (and / or 2 years in prison) for the failure of an individual not taking care of their own health and safety or that of someone else who is affected by their act of omissions. This includes any buy, refurb, sell projects.
SIMPLE APPROACH TO DEAL WITH THE REGULATIONS AND LAWS
- Educate yourself or someone in your team to manage H&S
- Seek professional advice from a competent person such as a H&S Consultant or a Project Manager. While this does not remove your responsibility under the Regulations it will definitely make the daunting process straight forward and the documentation checks, site checks, arrangements and reporting can all be carried out for you. Bringing a H&S consultant into your development power team is a wise decision.
CAN WE HELP YOU?
STEELE-PERKINS are experienced at Project Management, we offer a range of Pre-Construction and build stage Project Management services for home owners, self-builders, portfolio builders, property investors and developers.
We only work with clients and JV partners who genuinely want to ensure their projects are carried out safely while meeting other key project criteria such as quality, budgets and programmes. If we can help you, please contact us.
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