New to Construction Health and Safety?

14th September 2017

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New to Construction Health and Safety?

HSE wants everyone at work to be healthy and safe – bringing money and other benefits to your business.
Good practice in construction health and safety makes sound business sense. You can:

● Protect your workers from the suffering caused by accidents and ill health
● Reduce absences and sick leave
● Retain staff
● Maintain your organisation’s reputation
● Boost productivity and profits
● Reduce your insurance premiums and legal costs
The HSE don’t want to spoil your fun, close your business down or burden you with lots of paperwork.

Health and safety is relevant to all businesses. So, if you are an employer – or are self employed – you are responsible for the health, safety and welfare of employees and any others who may be affected by what you do. This includes employees, casual or part time workers, trainees, customers, neighbours, sales people and members of the public.

What to do first
HSE aims to make it as easy as we can for you to make your construction site safe, healthy and legal.

Here are sections of the Construction Health and Safety made simple, step-by-step guide


This guide from the HSE is for employers and those who want some basic information on what they must do to make sure their businesses comply with health and safety law.

Managing health and safety doesn’t have to be complicated, costly or time consuming. In fact it’s easier than you think. If you have taken reasonable steps to prevent accidents or harm to your employees (and the injury or illness was caused after 1 October 2013), you shouldn’t have to pay compensation.

For many businesses, all that’s required is a basic series of practical tasks that protect people from harm and at the same time protect the future success and the growth of your business. This guide will take you through the steps and help you make sure you have done what you need to – and no more.

In general, health and safety laws apply to all businesses. As an employer, or a self-employed person, you are responsible for health and safety in your business. Health and safety laws are there to protect you, your employees and the public from workplace dangers.

The approach you take should be proportionate to the size of your business and the nature of your business activity. For most small, low-risk businesses the steps you need to take are straightforward. If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write down your risk assessment or your construction health and safety policy.

Decide who will help you with your duties
As an employer, you must appoint someone competent to help you meet your health and safety duties. A competent person is someone with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to manage construction health and safety.

Write a health and safety policy for your business
Describing how you will manage health and safety in your business will let your staff and others know about your commitment to health and safety. This will be your health and safety policy. It should clearly say who does what, when and how.

If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write down your health and safety policy. Templates are available on-line to download.

Control the risks in your business
You must control the health and safety risks in your workplace. To do this you need to think about what, in your business, might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm.

This is known as a risk assessment. You are probably already taking steps to protect your employees, but your risk assessment will tell you whether you have covered all you need to.

A risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. Here is a link to our web page for details of how we can help you.

Construction Health and safety

Consult your employees
You have to consult all your employees on health and safety. This does not need to be complicated. You can do this by listening and talking to them about:
● health and safety and the work they do;
● how risks are controlled;
● the best ways of providing information and training.

Consultation is a two-way process, allowing staff to raise concerns and influence decisions on the management of health and safety.

Your employees are often the best people to understand risks in the workplace and involving them in making decisions shows them that you take their health and safety seriously.

In a very small business, you might choose to consult your employees directly. Alternatively, you might consult through a health and safety representative, chosen by your employees or selected by a trade union. As an employer, you cannot
decide who will be the representative.

These pages include:
● advice on what you should be doing;
● a step-by-step guide;
● case studies.

Provide training and information
Everyone who works for you needs to know how to work safely and without risks to health. You must provide clear instructions and information, and adequate training, for your employees.

Consider how much training is necessary. A proportionate approach is needed, for example a low-risk business would not need lengthy technical training. Providing simple information or instructions is likely to be sufficient.

Don’t forget contractors and self-employed people who may be working for you and make sure everyone has the right level of information on:
● hazards and risks they may face, if any;
● measures in place to deal with those hazards and risks, if necessary;
● how to follow any emergency procedures.

When you provide training, ask your employees what they think about it, to make sure it’s relevant and effective. Keeping training records will help you to identify when refresher training might be needed.

Construction Health and safety training should take place during working hours and it must not be paid for by employees. We provide many different types of training, from Manual Handling to machine operations. Working at Heights to Fire training – to provide your employees with the confidence and expertise to use a fire extinguisher.

Some of your staff may have particular health and safety training needs, for example:
● new recruits;
● people changing jobs or taking on extra responsibilities;
● young employees, who are particularly vulnerable to accidents;
● health and safety representatives.

Provide the right workplace facilities
You must provide the right workplace facilities for everyone in your workplace.

Basic things you need to consider are outlined below.
Welfare facilities
● toilets and hand basins, with soap and towels or a hand-dryer;
● drinking water;
● a place to store clothing (and somewhere to change if special clothing is worn for work);
● somewhere to rest and eat meals.
Health issues
To have a healthy working environment, make sure there is:
● good ventilation – a supply of fresh, clean air drawn from outside or a ventilation system;
● a reasonable working temperature (usually at least 16 ºC, or 13 ºC for strenuous work, unless other laws require lower temperatures);
● lighting suitable for the work being carried out;
● enough room space and suitable workstations and seating;
● a clean workplace with appropriate waste containers.
Safety issues
To keep your workplace safe you must:
● properly maintain your premises and work equipment;
● keep floors and traffic routes free from obstruction;
● have windows that can be opened and also cleaned safely;
● make sure that any transparent (eg glass) doors or walls are protected or made of safety material.

Make arrangements for first aid, accidents and ill health
First aid
You must have first-aid arrangements in your workplace.
You are responsible for making sure your employees receive immediate attention if they are taken ill or are injured at work. Accidents and illness can happen at any time and first aid can save lives and prevent minor injuries from becoming major ones.

Your arrangements will depend on the particular circumstances in your workplace and you need to assess what your first-aid needs are.
As a minimum, you must have:
● a suitably stocked first-aid box;
● an appointed person to take charge of first-aid arrangements;
● information for all employees giving details of first-aid arrangements.
You might decide that you need a first-aider. This is someone who has been trained by a competent first-aid training provider.

Display the health and safety law poster
If you employ anyone, you must display the health and safety law poster, or provide each worker with a copy of the equivalent pocket card. You must display the poster where your workers can easily read it.

Get insurance for your business
If your business has employees you will probably need employers’ liability insurance. If an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result of the work they do for you, they can claim compensation from you.

How do you get employers’ liability insurance?
You can buy employers’ liability insurance through insurers or intermediaries like brokers or trade associations. You may find that it often comes as part of an insurance package designed to cover a range of business needs.

Keep your business up to date
Following news and events in your industry will help you keep your construction health and safety policies and risk assessments up to date. You can access HSE news in the way that suits you best:
RSS news feeds to your computer or mobile
● Free ebulletins

Throughout September we are supporting #Safetember, See danger, speak up! the initiative launched by the Fork Lift Truck Association and backed by the HSE with events throughout the month.

We will also be issuing articles relating to the Construction industry and related features, we hope you have found this article on Construction Health and Safety of interest, a full publication is available to download from the HSE website.

As always our office staff are available for you to Contact Us and are happy to discuss any of your training queries.

Warm regards The Kentra Team

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