Health And Safety In Construction Industry

Due to the nature of the industry, construction inevitably incurs many casualties through various means. Having specific health and safety co-ordinators is not necessarily the only means in attempting to keep incidents low. Everybody within the construction industry must ensure they play their part by performing tasks safely with prior preparation or training where required. Ultimately; everybody has a responsibility to upstand health and safety within their own roles.


A client can be either a domestic client, who has work carried out in their home etc, or can be a commercial client, who are an organisation that request work. Clients request work from contractors to complete work on their behalf.

Clients must maintain a responsibility in which they ensure contracts and jobs are allocated to reputable and well-co-ordinated organisations. They must ensure contractors they choose for their projects have safe, effective and reliable equipment to carry out tasks to maintain the levels of health and safety required. Larger commercial projects should be contracted to larger firms to meet the demands of the projects. For example, a large office block erection should not be contracted to a local builder with a work force of 2 due to inadequate workforce compromising safety. Clients must ensure they choose organisations which contain a skilled workforce to meet the project needs and who are qualified within the relevant trade and can deliver projects safely. Commercial clients should maintain and review the management of health and safety throughout the project.


A designer can be engineers, architects, quantity surveyors or anyone who contributes to design work of a project from conception to the construction phase.

Consultants who are contracted in to design and plan the project must ensure the client is aware of the CDM client duties. Designers must convey information to principal designers in the pre-construction phase of any health and safety issues. They must consider the user of the project (e. g. workers in a building) and how interaction with consumer and building must be safe. They must ensure all legislation is adhered to within the design conception stages and all regulations are followed. Designers should provide the client and contractors with a construction phase plan and co-ordinate with principal designers and contractors to check designs are compatible with health and safety standards. Designers must also consider the build stages and if the design is feasible and whether it will compromise safety when being constructed. Risk assessments should be carried out to eliminate any areas that seem to be comprising health and safety. They must also ensure maintenance is considered and how the building or parts of the building like lighting will be maintained. If a light bulb is not reachable there may be safety issues and will cause injury. Designers must take maintenance of the product into account allowing the consumer to have a safe experience when upholding the building.

Health and Safety Officer

This role was formally known as the CDM Co-ordinator which was removed in 2015 under new legislation. The H&S officer has the responsibility to manage and co-ordinate all health and safety issues within the site. They should be carrying out risk assessments and recording any hazards on site and trying to solve how to reduce these. If hazards or defects to plant etc is detected, they must arrange for this to be rectified immediately. Site inspections should be carried out at regular intervals to ensure procedures are being implemented safely, arrange any site-specific training to be delivered to new starters or sub-contractors. H&S officers will be contributing to ensure their company and site team is meeting HSE legislation and ensuring any developments in regulations are incorporated into company H&S legislation. For my example, the health and safety officer at my company arranged for me to go on a Fire Marshal training course for me to become a qualified Fire Marshal. Any training such as this and first aid or incident co-ordinator training is arranged through a H&S officer who should be one of the primary contacts.

Site manager

A site manager is an individual who is responsible for overseeing and managing the works on a site and ensuring they are meeting health and safety requirements. A site manager’s responsibilities are to prepare, manage, review and co-ordinate the entire construction phase. They must ensure risks are eliminated by working with the client and principal designer and have ongoing procedures to manage health and safety on a site. They have a duty to engage with workers around health and safety and to ensure workers have the relevant training where required to do their jobs safely. They are accountable to site inductions and must provide briefings to workers to alleviate any risks and incidents to occur. Site managers must ensure workers feel competent and flag any workers with incompetence and arrange remedial training if necessary.

Sub-contractor – are all workers that are involved directly with the construction of a project. Contractors must ensure they are aware of site rules and procedures they must carry out on site. They should be well trained and safe to carry out their job. Due to contractors usually being temporary workers on a site, the rules and guidelines may be different from other places, so it is the host, site manager or health and safety co-ordinator’s responsibility to sure all contractors are provided with the relevant information. Contractors must ensure if they are not given a site briefing and been told about the guidelines on that site, they should seek the information and actively ask for the training. They should not undertake tasks without sufficient training and if they feel they require remedial training they must ensure a site manager or supervisor is notified. They should look to manage risks and report anything that they deem to be unsafe to eliminate any incidents that occur. Construction companies should confirm they have the correct equipment for the job such as PPE and machinery they require to their roles safely. They should feel well trained and confident enough to carry out their tasks.

HSE Executive – the health and safety executive is a body which was formed to regulate, monitor and enforce health, safety and welfare in the workplace. It was formed under the HASAWA in 1974 and its main responsibilities include to advise, inspect and to enforce health and safety acts. They have the authority to inspect construction sites with police presence if required and regulate legislation so that incidents are kept to a minimum in the industry. If regulations are breached they have the power to fine or stop construction works until sufficient action has been done to rectify issues. They are entitled to seize any equipment and demand any relevant documentation to be produced. HSE have a duty to uphold high standards regarding health and safety issues and to ensure there is adequate enforcement procedures to prevent incidents from occurring at construction sites. HSE also act a health and safety counsellor and can advise on any matters which need clarifying. They can support and help develop H&S legislation in specific cases and can even help develop new PPE products if employers feel there is a vulnerable area of H&S present.

15 July 2020
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