Construction is one of the most dangerous industries in the United Kingdom. According to statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2015-16, construction injuries accounted for over 18 per cent of all fatal injuries in the workplace and roughly 10 per cent of all reported major injuries.
HSE inspectors have the right to enter worksites without prior notice, although many will give notice where appropriate. It is your responsibility to be prepared when inspectors come.
What to Expect During an Inspection
Generally, inspectors will look at the worksite and its activities, how you are managing health and safety and whether you are complying with health and safety laws. Inspectors may also talk to workers and take photographs and samples. Some may offer guidance or advice. If there is a problem with health and safety, inspectors may serve enforcement notices.
What Inspectors Look For
The following are examples of risk management that inspectors look for at construction sites:
1. General risk management
• Agree on risk control measures with contractors and subcontractors.
• Communicate the agreed-upon risk control measures to the workforce.
• Install/assemble all equipment correctly
• Inspect equipment regularly and arrange maintenance as necessary.
2. Working at height
• Follow the Work at Height Regulations hierarchy, which includes avoiding work at height where possible and using work equipment or other measures to minimise the distances and prevent negative results of a fall when work at height cannot be avoided.
• Take proper precautions, such as edge protection on scaffolding.
• Make sure ladders, if used, are the correct type, in good condition, set on firm, level ground, properly secured and set at the correct length and angle for the job.
• Keep walkways, stairs and work areas clear of debris and other obstructions.
• Store materials safely in a place where they are out of the way.
• Ensure walkways are even, and gritted if icy.
4. Welfare facilities
• Keep facilities warm, well-lit and well-ventilated.
• Provide a place to change, dry and store clothing.
• Provide clean and working toilets, soap, towels and washbasins with hot and cold running water.
5. Personal protective equipment (PPE)
• Provide appropriate PPE to workers, including hard hats, ear protectors, masks and gloves.
• Ensure PPE is in good condition.
• Ensure that your workers are wearing and using PPE correctly.
The HSE provides additional inspection guidance on its website, http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction.
In particular, you may want to look at any new legislation which may affect you as a construction business, such as the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015
For more information about complying with health and safety law and preparing for inspections, contact A-Plan Commercial today.