Health and Safety Guidelines protect staff at work. Relating to the construction industry, they help reduce risk of death and serious injury by providing a series of legislation to ensure work is delivered in a safe environment. Health and Safety Guidelines are the responsibility of all people on site including employees, casual staff, part-time workers, trainees and the public although there are specific legal requirements for different individuals working on site.
The Health and Safety Executive
Health and Safety Guidelines are managed by the HSE, or Health and Safety Executive.
The HSE is a national independent watchdog related to health, safety and illness. The HSE regulates business and activity and can initiate prosecution. It covers all workplaces including factories and building sites, covering both the public and private sectors.
HSE Guidelines establish different legal responsibilities depending on the role of the individual working on site or on different parts of the project including a small builder, client, principal contractor, contractor, CDM Coordinator, designer, contractor and worker. HSE Guidelines come into force at set times of the project for different individuals.
At the most basic level, the HSE Guidelines manage hazards and risks in the workplace and on a fixed term project, like a construction projects. It sets responsibilities for informing and training the workforce, cooperating with the client, who may be a home-owner if it is a domestic project. It establishes responsibility to plan, manage and monitor. The HSE cites that the majority of accidents, injuries and deaths in the workplace, particularly in construction, are caused by a failure to adequately plan properly.
Therefore it is incorporated into HSE Guidelines to set appropriate lead times, including all planning and preparation, as well as preventing site access and welfare facilities for all members of staff. In terms of site management, HSE Guidelines cover protecting the site from public access, and having clear signage about the nature of work taking place, particularly if the site is in public, on the street for example. It also covers site induction, explaining each of the risks and potential hazards to all those who will be working on the site and any precautions to take, as well as setting and establishing site rules along with emergency procedures.
The client’s legal requirements for HSE Guidelines come into place from conception of the project, before the initial design stage and through to completion. The client is required to assess the competency of all those hired to work on the project and to appoint the CDM Coordinator.
The principal contractor’s main HSE requirements include project management, contractor engagement and workforce engagement. They are responsible for putting the plan in place, monitoring and managing each section of the construction project. As well as leading on all planning and strategic development, the principal contractor is also responsible for reviewing and revising the health and safety procedure. They need to include any time for planning and preparation for contractors into their delivery schedule as well as site rules and welfare facilities for all employees and those on site.
The CDM Coordinator is appointed by the client and their key role is advice and assistance in relation to HSE Guidelines. They are appointed pre-construction information and should be appointed as early as possible as well as ensuring all designers comply with guidelines.
The CDM Coordinator must give notice to the HSE as soon as they are appointed and become the point of contact for the HSE.