Health and Safety

A subject which is always guaranteed to induce a few yawns and one which is often maligned is Health and Safety. Although much of the legislation and guidance can seem at times to be overly wordy and complicated it is important to remember that the construction industry is one which is blighted with one of the worst health and safety records. Every year many people are killed or suffer debilitating injuries as a result of accidents on-site which in many cases could have been avoided.

Health and safety covers many aspects of the construction industry and no matter what area you choose to specialise in a thorough knowledge of the subject is more or less essential.

Construction Health and Safety Legislation

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

Working safely on a construction projectThe Health & Safety at Work Act places responsibility upon employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees, other people in the workplace and members of the public who may be affected by their work.

The act does not, however, absolve employees from their own personal responsibilities and as an employee or as someone working on site you have a duty under the act to ensure that you work in a safe manner and take into account the safety of those around you, wherever possible.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1994

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations apply to everyone at work, and require employers to plan, control, organise, monitor and review their work to ensure that it is carried out in the safest practical manner. This involves carrying out risk assessments to identify possible hazards and preparing method statements to outline how the works can be carried out in a safe manner.

The Construction (Design and management) Regulations 1994

CDM Regulations require for health and safety matters to be taken into account throughout all stages of the construction project – from the original conception and design through to the long term maintenance and upkeep of the finished building.

The Construction (Health Safety and Welfare) Regulations

The regulations place a responsibility upon employers and those who control the way works are carried out. They place a duty upon anyone to report health and safety hazards and also cover welfare facilities including toilets and washing facilities, transport routes, fire and emergency procedures.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005

The Work at Height Regulations apply where a person is working at height and/or where they need access to a place of work where there is a danger of falling.

The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989

These regulations specify when and where head protection must be worn.

The Lifting Operations and lifting Equipment Regulations 1998

Cover all forms of lifting equipment including those that lift people such as lifts and mechanically elevated platforms.

The Provisions and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

These regulations apply to machinery and work equipment in respect of guarding dangerous parts of work machinery, providing visibility and ensuring regular inspection.

The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002

COSHH places a responsibility upon employers to protect their employees, other people on-site and members of the public from exposure to harmful or hazardous substances.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Apply where materials are to be lifted or otherwise moved and to eliminate where possible the risk of injury. The regulations place a duty on everyone involved to ensure that proper equipment is used and to identify any potential hazards.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005

Place a responsibility upon employers to asses and prevent where possible the risk of noise exposure in the work place and to provide adequate ear protection as well as information and training to people exposed to noise.

The Control of Vibration at Work Regulations 2005

Provide a range of duties on employers to ensure that employees are not over exposed to constant vibration from plant and machinery.

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995

Require that certain types of accidents are reported to the Health and Safety Executive. Serious and fatal accidents must be reported at the first opportunity and some less serious where an injuries need to be reported within 10 days.

Further Reference


HSE Guide to construction site safetyHSE – Health and Safety in Construction 3rd Edition

The recently updated version of the Health and Safety Executive’s guide to construction safety legislation and best practice. The book is divided into four clear sections:

  • Preparing for Work – organising the site and notifying the HSE
  • Setting up the site – a thorough guide to safe access, welfare facilities, first aid, fire safety and injury reporting.
  • Construction Phase Health and Safety – managing site safety on a day to day basis.
  • Health and Safety Management and the Law – a brief, easy to read guide to all the relevant construction legislation.

The book is a useful guide to all aspects of site safety without being overly complicated and is a book you’ll refer to time and again.
Free to download from HSE Publications

An invaluable study aid for health and safety studentsIntroduction to Health and Safety in Construction (3rd Edition)

This invaluable study aid and reference book covers all the basics of health and safety in general as well as in the construction industry. Intended for students on the NEBOSH National Certificate the book is also suitable for students on the ONC and HNC courses – it’s also a good source of reference for anyone already employed in the industry.

The book includes a chapter dedicated to study skills with some handy check-lists, record sheets and report forms. There is also a set of sample revision questions and sample answers based on recent NEBOSH examination papers, as well as a good guide to all the relevant construction health and safety legislation.
Available from amazon