Managing Health and Safety in the Construction Industry
Date: 15th June 2017 | Categories: Health and Safety
In April 2015, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) came into force. These regulations apply to all construction projects regardless of their size. Under CDM a Construction Phase Plan must be produced to manage health and safety throughout the whole of the project. This document should include key information to managing the hazards and controlling the risks.
It was reported by the HSE that in the period of 2015/2016 43 workers were killed in the construction sector, which is why it is increasingly important to effectively manage health and safety on all construction projects.
Fined for Health & Safety Failings
Last month, two companies were fined more than £700,000 and spared jail following the deaths of four workers on a construction site in Great Yarmouth, on 21st January 2011. The four workers died after the large steel structure that they were working on collapsed, causing all four workers to be crushed. It was reported that earlier in the day health and safety concerns were raised but nothing was done about it, and prior to this soil slippage had been witnessed and again no further action was taken.
This case highlights the importance of constantly reviewing and assessing the hazards on-site as each day could pose different hazards for your workers. The Construction Phase Plan needs to be reviewed, revised, and updated throughout the whole of the project. It was found from the investigation carried out by the HSE that they had failed to properly plan, design, manage and monitor the construction works and consequently resulted in the workers losing their lives.
What should go into a Construction Phase Plan?
When the Principal Contractor is producing the Construction Phase Plan it is essential that the Principal Designer and the Client provide key information about the site.
- A description of the project should be stated explaining the scope of the works including, the dates of how long the works will take place and the management structure of the project.
- The safety standards and the objectives of the project must be clearly stated.
- The general duties of the Principal Contractor must be documented.
- To ensure that all workers understand key information about managing health and safety there must be a section in the plan stating where the safety notices will be displayed, along with a policy statement, i.e. on the notice board in the staff room.
- Overall, there must be procedures in place to carry out daily checks assessing the hazards on-site, as each day could pose a different hazard i.e. the weather or change in ground level.
The Construction Phase Plan must contain arrangements for:
- Access/egress to the site and how this is managed to avoid unauthorised access to the site;
- The procedure for managing deliveries on-site;
- The management of hazards on-site and the controls to reduce the risk;
- Training, including site inductions;
- Safety meetings and welfare facilities – these should include any concerns on health and safety, and to carry out further training from toolbox talks;
- What to do in the event of an emergency including fire, and the procedures;
- First Aid provisions and the reporting, investigation of accidents, incidents, and near misses;
- Production of Risk Assessments and Method Statements;
- Vetting of any contractors involved with arrangements in place about the sharing of key information between the parties to manage health and safety and site rules;
- The site rules for all workers to follow.
A well-structured Construction Phase Plan helps to ensure that the project is properly managed and that the Principal Designer controls the foreseeable risks in the construction phase and in the maintenance of the structure.
Any hazards that they identify should be designed out during the initial stage or throughout the project as so far as is reasonably practicable. Under the CDM regulations the Client, the Principal Contractor and the Principal Designer all have a duty to liaise with one another to properly plan, design, manage and monitor the risks on-site.
Our Head of Health & Safety, Gemma Walsh CMIOSH has provided the following advice for businesses:
“There is still an air of uncertainty amongst companies who must remain compliant with the CDM 2015 Regulations, there are many tools which will help you in becoming compliant. For example, the CITB wizard will enable you to create a Construction Phase Plan, however this will not be sufficient for larger construction jobs. Wirehouse can assist you in the preparation of a comprehensive Construction Phase Plan and advise and support you through each stage of a construction job”.