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Health, Safety and Welfare for the Construction Industry
Health, Safety and Welfare for the construction industry
- State the typical organisational health and safety policies and procedural documents that would be considered by the construction site as part of management strategy in order to maintain health, safety and welfare.
Construction is a dangerous industry; in 1995 the Construction Design and Management regulations came into force to attempt to help to reduce the number of accidents both serious and fatal and ill health. The aim of the regulations was to place certain duties on the designers and client of the projects as well as the contractor who will be carrying out the works. The construction industries safety record between the years 1981 – 1992 was poor, nearly 1400 people had fatal accidents, which accumulated to 140 deaths per year. Current health and safety legislation is based on the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The Health and Safety at work act is an enabling which means that the government can issue subordinate laws under it. The laws have built up over a duration of time making them more relevant to modern day employment and the construction practice. The purpose of the Health and Safety at Work act was to provide a safe working environment and improve working conditions by securing the health, safety and welfare of the workers, protecting visitors and persons around the work place, controlling hazardous substances and controlling emissions. Under the Health and Safety at Work Act the employer has to ensure the required health and safety of their employers whilst at work. Inspection may take place on site and carried out by a union Health and Safety representative. Before they go on site the representative must give a reasonable notice in writing as to when they intend to carry out the inspection of the workplace. The frequency of the inspections depends on the nature of the work, if the work environment is of low risk inspections may be less often than workplaces with high risk.
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To be compliant with the legal requirements certain records and certificates are required such as records of inspection, accident books, records of scaffold inspections and records of inspection of excavations.
Record of inspections
Safety Inspections are carried out on site, they are necessary as they ensure that all certificates are up-to-date including lifting equipment and scaffolds. Inspections should be undertaken every week or when certain items such as lifting equipment have been moved or erected and when scaffolds have been subjected to bad weather to see if any structural changes should be made. The inspection is the responsibility of the Health and Safety Executive.
To ensure that lifting operation will be safe and successful, all lifting equipment should be checked and maintained to prevent failure. If the equipment is not inspected, it can lead to serious injuries or fatalities. Due to the number of injuries occurring from poor equipment the Health and safety law have placed obligations on those who provide, control and use the lifting equipment to manage risks and reduce their occurrence. The users of the equipment may have to undertake pre-checks before using any equipment to ensure that they are compliant with using it, also the employers should ensure that before the use of the equipment it is thoroughly examined. Checks are vital to verify that the lifting equipment can continue to be used safely. For the lifting equipment and its accessories to be deemed as safe to use, thorough examinations need to be carried out throughout the equipment’s life time including before it is used for the first time and after assembly. If the equipment is less than a year old, it only has to be tested when it is erected. There are standard procedures and criteria that needs to be met which a competent person will follow when undertaking examinations and making judgements to ensure that the equipment can be continued to be used safely such as functional checks, visual examinations and measurements of wear. Examination schemes don’t need to be preserved in a form of a document, however there needs to be a written copy to show the relevant authority.
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When excavations are being carried out on site, precautions are required to be maintained. A competent person must inspect the support or battering excavation, no work can start unless the excavation is deemed as safe. Before work begins the client must provide the contractor with the relevant information to carry out the excavation such as the ground conditions, the location of existing services and underground structures. Excavations should also be inspected after any event that can affect their strength. A record of inspection will be required along with any faults that are found.
Scaffolds need to be erected to a general recognised standard configuration which is a requirement of the Work at Height Regulations. The scaffold users and hirers have the responsibility to ensure that all of the scaffolding has been inspected before use, subjected to bad weather and at an interval of no more than 7 days thereafter. All scaffold inspections should be carried out by a competent person whose training and knowledge is appropriate for the type and complexity of the scaffold. The scaffold inspection report should note any defects or matters that could give a rise to risk to health and safety and any corrective actions taken.
There needs to be an accident book on any site that has ten or more persons at the same time. Employers and employees can use this book to record details of injuries and near misses on site. The accident book is a vital document that can be used to record accident information as part of their management of health and safety. All details of injuries must be recorded as a requirement under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. The law changed on the 6th of April 2012 stating if a worker sustains an injury from an accident and becomes incapacitated for more than seven days it needs to be reported to RIDDOR. The book needs to be available for inspection at all times and should be kept for a minimum of 3 years after the last entry. When reporting injury information details such as the name and address of the person injured, a description of what happened and the date and time of the injury need to be noted.
Induction & Training
An induction is required to help the employee understand the rules and regulations of the site. All employees, workers and visitors must have one before they are allowed on the site. If people are uninformed about the sites activity it may cause a hazard in an event of an emergency. The induction includes information on certain aspects of the site and other information such as site rules, first aid, hazards, waste removal, working hours, facilities and evacuation procedures. Training is a vital element of health and safety. Employees who have the appropriate training and equipment usually result in a workforce with a lower accident rate than a workforce who has not had the appropriate training. Training can take the form of a tool box talk which involves the employees gathering in a meeting area to discuss hazards, control measures and any other high-risk activity on site.
Health & Safety Policy
If an employer has five or more workers they must prepare a health and safety policy. A company’s health and safety policy should demonstrate an ongoing commitment to improve health and safety at work throughout the organisation. The policy should state a company’s intent on the required behaviour and approach it demands between health and safety and business performances. The policy also must be reviewed and revised regularly and needs to be given to all employees. If the policy is not provided a fine up to £20,000 could be issued in a Magistrates Court. A Health and Safety Policy should consist of a general statement of the works to be carried out, detailed arrangements of procedures and systems and company structure and obligations of employees. General responsibilities of the employer and the employee should be outlined and signed and dated by the person within the company who has the responsibility for health and safety.
For the health and safety policy to be effective there must be a framework that is clear to all employees. An organisation chart will be used to show the administration for the sites size and complexity and the obligation of the employees. At the company I work for (Mulalley & Co LTD) we have one for the site I’m currently working on showing the operations manager, project manager, senior site manager and the site manager.
The policy should also clarify what the chain of command is in terms of health and safety managements, the identity of personnel who are accountable for ensuring arrangements for safe working are drawn up, monitored and implemented, aspects of health and safety each level of employee must manage and the arrangements for employee representation in relation to health and safety.
It is important that health and safety systems are in place in order to deal with hazards and risks related to the nature of works that are carried out. The Health and Safety Policy sets out the practical arrangements that will need to be implemented such as procedures for reporting accidents, fire and emergency evacuation procedures, provisions of welfare, arrangements for first aid, staff training, detailed instructions for operation of plant and equipment and procedures for dealing with subcontractors and visitors to the site. The policy also needs to be in compliance with Regulations including COSHH, manual handling, ‘six pack’ and the noise at work regulations. Appendices can give more detail to specific provisions outlined in the policy; however there is no requirement to add any to a Health and Safety policy.
- Determine typical certification requirements such as CSCS cards, hot permit, crane, fork lifting and other site operations that require health and safety compliance.
Employers have an obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to provide training as far as reasonably practical to their employees. Health and Safety training helps improve performance and motivation of employees. Given the proper training it allows the employee to have an understanding on how to perform specific tasks, the reason it is being carried out and the risks and hazards that can occur. The construction and common law have placed a duty on employers to ensure that young persons are adequately trained as they are particularly vulnerable in the build environment as they have come from school or college.
The CSCS card scheme covers more than 220 occupations which includes management and supervision. The card will prove that the holder is competent enough in their work and has the health and safety awareness required to work on site. The card is used widely across construction sites; workers who do not carry one will not be allowed to work on site.
CSCS is a voluntary registration scheme whereby trainees, workers, managers, supervisors, visiting professional etc., can obtain the relevant colour card which enables them to gain access to Major Contractors Group sites. (Cooke and Williams, 2009). A health and safety awareness test must be completed and passed in order to obtain the card. There are different types of card for each operative to match their roles such as apprentice, labourer, manager, experienced worker, trainee, skilled worker, advanced craft, technical supervisor and supervisory. All CSCS Card are valid for 5 years.
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A permit to work is a document that is issued by a person who is in charge of a particular work area. The permit will detail who is working in the area and will list any precautions that will need to be taken. It also must note if there is any isolation of services that maybe required. The permits are used to safely control certain activities on large projects and sites. Sites with several levels and floors may require the permit to list the different trades and all the people that are working in a particular area, in order for the supervisors to plan safely. Hot work permits are a means of being able to keep track of construction activities that will involve hot works and that they are being conducted safely. Hot work permits cover works such as welding, cutting and grinding; before hot works can be carried out the supervisor must check to see if anyone is scheduled to work in the same area at the same time, if that is the case the works will have to be rearranged if possible. Welders should check that no one is working on the floors below them before they st art any works to avoid accidents. The permit also allows the supervisor to be aware of what isolation will be required, when the work will be finished and what safety measures will be required. Permits are usually used for working on roofs, confined spaces, sewer works, gas installations and electrical installations. Some permits require the operative who is carrying out the works to sign the permit, which allows the supervisor to know who is working on site in an event of an emergency. The permit will show a list of the control measures that will need to be in place before the permit can be authorised. The permit must be signed of at the end of the day by all who have been working on it so that the supervisor knows that the works have been completed. For a permit to be issued a risk assessment and a method statement need to have been carried out to highlight the hazards and the control measures needed to reduce risk.
The law requires that all lifting operations that involve lifting equipment must be planned out by a competent person, appropriately supervised and carried out in a safe manner. Cranes and its lifting accessories must be tested, adequately strong and examined and inspected. All persons who operate the crane and who are involved in the slinging loads and direct lifting operations must be trained and competent enough to do so. Cranes hold two main hazards on construction site; the falling of load and the collapse of the crane, both have significant potential for fatal injuries. When a crane is hired out the responsibility for the safe lifting operations is shared between the crane hirer and the crane user. Employers are responsible for ensuring the certification and qualifications of any operator that is on their site. Employers also have the responsibility to provide the certification at no extra cost to the operator. CITB offer courses for the required training for Tower cranes and mobile cranes which cover how to operate the crane safely, recognise signals for controlling the crane, carry out minor adjustments and understand the capabilities of the equipment and any relevant safety precautions. Upon successful completion of the course the operative will be entitled to receive a CPCS Red Trained Operator Card.
A forklift driver loads and unloads goods on site. Their main duties include moving, stacking and checking goods whilst performing daily equipment checks. The operative must complete an approved forklift training course before they can use the truck which will be provided by their employer. The training will be composed of formal, practical and evaluation stages to be awarded the certification. The formal element consists of classroom training, the practical component consists of hands-on skill-building and finally the evaluation process consists of being evaluated by a trainer and if successful the operative will take a final test which if successful will lead to certification.
- Determine the training needs, site induction and relevant health and safety certification requirements for the project
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 the employer is required to provide information, training, instruction and supervision necessary to ensure the health and safety of their employees as far as reasonably practical. The employers are required to consider the employees abilities to perform allocated tasks and provide the appropriate training when the employee first starts at a company, when they are given new tasks to carry out, when they have to employ new working practices and when they have to use new plant or materials. Training should be provided in working hours and should be given to permanent and temporary staff. Motivation and performance of employees improves when carrying out health and safety training. The training help the employee understand how to perform specific tasks, the hazards and risks involved and the reason it is being carried out. The law and construction legislation requires the employers to ensure that young workers are adequately trained. Young people who have just left school or college are particularly vulnerable when entering a new and different environment from what they have been in at school or college.
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The range of training can vary due to the size and type of the company and the potential hazards that can arise from the work being carried out. Employees all have different levels within a company; there are many types of training to meet their various levels such as vocational training, academic training and accredited qualifications by NEBOSH. When training is given to employees a training plan and programme must be in place to state the objectives of providing the different types of planning. The training that is carried out should be at the appropriate level of the course that is being given. There are different types of training such as induction training, management training, supervisor training and training for employees.
All new employees must have an induction; the induction will include a tour of the site, fire and emergency evacuation procedures, introduction of the company’s health and safety policy, details of specific hazards on site and permit to work procedures.
Managers should receive training on Health and Safety Legislations, cost benefits analysis of accident prevention, risk management systems, safety procedures and audits, monitoring and revising safety plans and policies and motivation of staff relating to safety.
Supervisors require training for certain procedures such as common law duties of care, health and safety law and regulations, hazard identification, methods of risk assessment, accident reporting and investigations, inspection procedures and fire precautions.
All employees require training so that they are aware of site risks. Training can include how to identify a hazard, what to do when an accident occurs, how to maintain PPE, emergency procedures and fire procedures.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1997 the employers have to carry out risk assessments of task that are carried out by young workers before they start the task. Employers must take into account that young workers usually have no experience working with the equipment and machinery and no experience in identifying hazards. The work place will be a total different experience that they have experienced at school or college. Under common law and construction legislation the employer must ensure that young persons are appropriately and accurately trained. Supervision of young employees is vital especially when they first start on site. The sufficient supervision must be in place to correct or prevent any poor working habits that arise. The young employee must not fool around or play practical jokes in the workplace. If they are ever in doubt what to do they should ask their supervisor for instructions.
- Produce a typical Health and Safety policy document for the site and briefly explain training needed on a risk assessment and risk level conducted on the following site operations.
- Steel Fixing (Steel fixer)
- Excavation (Ground worker)
- Erecting Scaffold (Scaffold worker)
- Lift installer
- Services – steel pipe worker
- Services – electrician
- Services – Plumber
Hazard identification tools are used to identify hazards and the controls required for a specific task. Part of the risk assessment process needs to assess the harm that could come from a hazard. Risks are rated by their likelihood that the hazard will cause harm and where it will occur. Severity and likelihood are rated from a scale from 1 to 4 you then multiply the likelihood by the severity to work out the potential risk.
Steel Fixer (Steel fixing)
|General Planning||Insufficient Training, planning and improvisation||Injuries due to inexperience, failure to provide appropriate equipment and inadequate consultation.||
|Lifting steel reinforcement to the workface||Lifting steel using crane||Injury to operatives from the loads being lowered onto the deck or fall of load||
|Cutting steel reinforcement||Operating angle grinder or drop saw||Electric shock, electrocution or burns||
|Slips or Jumps||Poor access||Slips, trips and falls; strains and sprains; manual handling injuries||
Risk Severity: 2 x 3 = requires further measures
Excavation groundwork (ground worker)
|Excavation of soil||Loose materials||Falling in excavation||
|Fixing temporary support||Getting in the excavation||collapses||
Risk Severity: 3 x 2 = requires further measures
|Scaffold installation||Fall hazards||Falling||
|Slips or trips||Poor access||Strains and sprains; slips and trips||
Risk Severity: 3 x 4 = Too dangerous to continue with
|Lift installation||Moving/rotating machinery||Cuts||
|Confined spaces||Noxious fumes, reduced oxygen levels, or a risk of fire.||
|Leaks||Liquids and gases||
Risk Severity: 4 x 4 = Too dangerous to continue with
Services – Steel Pipe Worker
|Pipe Fitting||fluids||Liquids and gases||
Risk Severity: 2 x 4 = requires further measures
Services – Electrician
|Working at height||Ground base which the ladder is supported with is not firm enough||Falls, sprains and strains||
|Using 110v Power tools||Extension cables||trips||
Risk Severity 4 x 3 = To dangerous to continue with
Services – Plumber
|Removal of existing plumbing services||Confined spaces||Asbestos, gas leaks||
Risk severity 2 x 2 = Okay with existing controls
- Health and safety should be second nature and not just an arduous tasks
Describe by giving an examples of suitable methods of recording health and safety inspections and data.
Employers are required under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations to report relevant enforcing authority and to keep records of work-related deaths, accidents, diseases, dangerous occurrences and injuries to the general public which are causes by an accident at the work place. The information that is provided by reports enables the Health and Safety executive and local authority to identify where and how risks arise and to investigate the accident. With the information provided from the reports the authorities are able to provide help and guidance on how to reduce injury and ill health in the work place. Details of all reportable incidents need to be recorded and include information such as the date, time and place of the accident, personal details of those involved, the method of reporting and a brief description of the event. Records can be kept in any form as long as they conform to the data protection requirements. One method of reporting and meeting the requirements is using the site accident book. The site accident book is used by employees and employers to record the details of near misses and injuries on site. The accident book is a part of the management of health and safety which requires all details of injuries to be recorded. The accident book needs to be available for inspection at all times and needs to be kept for at least 3 years after the last entry.
When reporting an incident a HSE approved form must be filled out related to the accident, dangerous occurrence, disease or gas incident that has occurred. Responsible personal should complete the form and send it to the HSE so it can be submitted to the RIDDOR database. Reports include:
- F2508 – Report of an Injury
- F2508A – Report of a case of disease
- F2508G1 – Report of flammable gas incidents
- F2508G2 – Report of a dangerous gas fitting
- F2533/F2534 – Safety representatives – inspection/report form
The RIDDOR Regulations give guidance on the injuries that need to be recorded. Minor injuries are described as injuries that keep an operative off of work for more than 3 days and major injuries include fractures, amputations, dislocations, loss of sight and illness requiring medical treatment. It is important that a construction company collects accident data; it will help aid to prevent future accidents also the client will need to make it a requirement as it is a part of their tender procedure which allows them to check for the company’s competency. If a member of the public is killed or hospitalised the HSE must notified by telephone straight away.
Explain the need for toolbox talks, daily site updates/evaluations and constant updating of training.
Control measures need to be in place on site to enforce safe systems. Having control measures on site helps to prevent, reduce, mitigate and eliminate health and safety risks. Workplace procedures need to be developed, implemented, maintained and checked to see if they are working. Daily site updates need to take place to ensure that the site is running safely and efficiently. It is a legal requirement for employers and the self-employed to carry out risk assessments to identify the possible risks that can arise from the works that they will carry out. Employers must look at the work activities that have potential to cause harm and decide what actions should be taken to meet the legal obligations. The Health and Safety at Work Act requires the employers to carry out an examination of their work activities and record their findings of the assessment. It is important to involve operatives who carry out the works in the risk assessment as they will be able to bring their own experience and knowledge of the activity.
Toolbox talks are used as a safe system of work; they identify hazards and keep all employees informed of the dangers on site. The toolbox talk gives opportunity to management and the safety department to communicate to the employees on how they can carry out their works and tasks safer and better. Toolbox talks should focus on single topics and be held regularly for a greater impact. The purpose of a toolbox talk is to keep health and safety a priority and to provide an open environment so that issues can be raised. The toolbox talks allow feedback from the workforce and make the workers feel involved in their safety which should have a positive effect on their compliance to health and safety measures which in turn should reduce accidents on site. Talks should be held at the start of a shift in order to make the workers aware of the health and safety risks they may face during the working day. A toolbox talk usually lasts for 10 minutes to present the toolbox talk and then at the end questions and feedback will be held for 5 minutes. The talks should be based upon the accident reports as they should highlight the areas of concern such as delivering a talk on good housekeeping to avoid hazards such as:
- Site organisation
- Slips, trips and falls
- Working at height
- Structural stability
Training allows operatives to learn how to carry out something in the appropriate and correct manor. Providing training helps the operative understand how to work safely, meet legal duties and have health and safety become second nature to them. If training is carried out effectively it will ensure that operatives will be competent in health and safety, avoid the distress that accidents and ill health can cause and avoid financial costs of accidents and ill health such as loss of production. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires that operatives are provided with information, training, instruction and supervision necessary in order to ensure the health and safety of all employees. Whether an employer or self-employed they need to know how to identify hazards. They need to understand the health and safety policy and how health and safety should be managed. Training can also be given regarding a specific hazard and how the risks can be controlled. New employees will require training on how to work safely which includes arrangements for first aid, fire and excavation. Health and safety training on site is vital in construction as it aids in preventing accidents and ill health for everyone on site. Over 200 people are killed each year in accidents at work, one million people are injured and two million suffer from illness caused by their work. By providing the appropriate health and safety information and training it helps to ensure that site workers are not injured or made ill by the work they do, develop a health and safety culture, manage health and safety better and to meet legal duties.
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3.1: Hazard Identification
What is a hazard?
A hazard is something that has the potential to cause harm. Hazards allow risks to rise; in construction there are plenty of risks that can occur whilst carrying out work activities such as from working at height, asbestos, excavations, working from a ladder, plant, vehicles and toxic substances. A risk is the likelihood of harm from a hazard being realised. The level of risk is determined by the likelihood of harm occurring, the number of people that could be exposed to the hazard and the potential severity and harm. There are two categories that hazards are grouped in generic and specific. Hazards are spotted by determining if it has the potential to cause harm, if the assessor deems the activity to have any signs of risk it’s a hazard. It requires a considerable amount of experience and knowledge to identify a hazard, guidance is given by HSE guidance, legislation, British standards, Approve code of practices and the company accident book. The purpose of a risk assessment is to identify hazards that are associated with tasks as they are actually performed. When identifying hazards it is vital that the significant hazards which can cause injury or ill health are considered. The most common hazards on site that are associated with injury or diseases can result in conditions such as impact injuries, cuts, joint strain, burns, noise and toxic effects. Some hazards can be prevented across the whole of the site and the others are specific to a certain work activity.
Describe the methods of hazard identification that would be appropriate for this investigation and the methods used to identify hazards giving your reason of choice.
Construction is a hazardous work place, over the past couple of years, time and cost have made it difficult for the contractors to meet deadlines and make a profit. The maintenance of health and safety of employees and others must be adequately managed during the construction process. Hazard identification and the assessment of risks are vital components of any health and safety management system which helps ensure prevention of ill health, injury and death. The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 places the responsibility of the risk assessments to the employers. The risk assessments must identify, assess and record all the tasks that are to be performed to complete a job, identify hazards involved with each task, identify who could be exposed to these hazards, assess the risks of these hazards, assess existing and new control measures, record findings and monitor review and revise the risk assessments.
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When carrying out the risk assessment the first stage will be to identify the tasks that will be performed. Usually the task identification is done when planning the construction work and its associated resources such as plant, material and labour. The tasks are broken down sufficiently and each one is examined to determine where it is to be performed; what materials, plant and equipment will be used. It may not always be necessary to break all tasks down individually. However, it is always to be advised to divide the operations that will be taking place in the workplace into manageable sections. When all the tasks have been identified the associated hazards must be considered. The usual source of construction hazards is when normal working practices are changed. When identifying the hazards it is a good idea for the person to have a check list. The check list should include access, management, hazardous substances, mechanical considerations, general requirements and other hazards. Hazard identification initial stage is to walk around the site to identify what could be expected to cause harm. Talking to operatives who are carrying out the tasks is an important part of hazard identification as they are experienced and their experience may help identify potential problems that may not be obvious. The assessments of hazards vary depending on the assessor’s knowledge and experience of the operations, experience of risk assessments and their attitude towards risk. It is very unlikely that all hazards will be eliminated; by using a range of hazard identification techniques on the project the number of unidentified hazards should be small. There are various methods that can be undertaken to identify hazards such as safety tours, safety inspections, safety sampling, safety audits, material data sheets, accident investigation reports and ill health records. Only people with the adequate knowledge of the type of work or construction process should carry out the hazard identification survey. When whole site hazards are identified and the risk assessments are completed the specific work activities will be simplified as some of the risks will have already been dealt with.
3.2 Identify the hazards associated with the construction process
Different workplaces produce different hazards; construction is a hazardous industry, over the past 10 years there were 870 fatal injuries to workers. Fatal injuries included falling from height, struck by moving vehicles, overturning plant and falling objects. The number of non-fatal accidents over the past 10 years totalled up to 38,684 to workers and included slips, trips and falls on the same level, falling objects, falling from height and manual handling.
Slips and Trips
Slips and trips can happen for a number of reasons, the majority of them occur when there are obstructions in walkways and uneven surfaces, wet surfaces, trailing cables and changes in level. Contractors or others who are in control of the construction site must manage the work so that operatives can move safely around the site. Several Thousand construction workers are injured each year following a trip or slip whilst at work on a building site (Hse.gov.uk, 2016). They can be avoided by having effective management of working areas and access routes such as footpaths and stairways, good housekeeping and planning deliveries. The health and safety law requires that the risks in the work place are managed. Barking and Dagenham College provide a variety of facilities for educational, leisure and residential use. During the day it can be busy with a large number of people moving around at the same time and often rushing. Slips and trips can be caused by poor lighting, obstructions, wet surfaces, unsuitable footwear and members of staff and students carrying heavy objects.
Noise is a major hazard in the construction industry. Noise is a form of pollution that could cause environmental disturbance to people living around the construction site. Although the noise pollution is only temporary measures must be put into place to reduce the construction noise. Excessive noise can cause long term hearing problems and can be a major distraction.
Working at height
Construction work usually requires an operative to work at height. Working at height is not only dangerous because the accidents can be fatal but also it has the danger of objects such as tools and plant from falling which can injure people on the grounds below. The risks associated from working at height are often increased by access and mobility being restricted. Training such as safety awareness is vital for employees who are required to work at height. Personal protective equipment such as a harness must be used for working at height. The operative will wear the harness which contains a lanyard which is secured to a fixing point that will support a fall.
During works such as refurbishments on commercial and domestic buildings people are at risk of being electrocuted, on average three construction workers are electrocuted each year. People who also work near overhead power cables and lines are also at risk. Electrocutions also can arise from unqualified electricians.
Materials and plant are being constantly moved and lifted around site. Depending on the objects size and weight certain materials and plant will require to be carried and lifted by machinery such as fork lift trucks and cranes. Manual handling involves more than Lowering and lifting, it includes carrying, holding, reaching, rolling, throwing and pushing and pulling. Certain injuries can occur if manual handling is carryout improper including hernias, fractures wounds and strains and sprains. The risk of injury can be reduced by organising the operation and breaking it down into stages such as planning the lift, assessing the operation to be performed and lifting the load in the required way.
3.3 Explain the use of standard format of identification and recording hazards which might cause harm
As part of managing the health and safety of an organisation, the risks need to be controlled in the workplace. In order to control risks you need to think about what may cause harm to people and decide on what reasonable steps are required to prevent that harm. By law a risk assessment needs to be carried out. A risk assessment identifies sensible measures to control risks in the workplace. When carrying out the risk assessment the assessor will need to consider how accidents and risks can occur and what are more likely and which will cause the most harm. Some risks may require particular control measures under regulation. The assessment can help identify where you need to look at the certain risks and the particular control measures in more detail. The control measures can be assessed separately but can be considered as part of the overall risk assessment.
To identify hazards in the work place a good starting point would be to have a walk around the workplace and think about any hazards that can occur by access the activities or processes used that could possibly injure anyone or harm their health. Hazards can include working at height, machinery, asbestos and working with chemicals. Depending on the type of work being carried out there maybe more risks to consider. Employees or other visitors such as contractors or clients might be harmed during the works; it may be useful to ask them what they think the hazards maybe as they could have noticed something that is not obvious to the assessor. For each hazard that is identified, it needs to be clear who might be harmed. Once the hazards have been identified they must be evaluated to see how likely it is that harm will occur. Generally, you will need to do everything reasonably practical to protect people from harm which means balancing the level of risk against the measures needed to control the risk in terms of time and money.
There needs to be a record of significant findings, how people may be harmed by them and what has been put in place to control the risks. Records produced should be simple and focused on controls. It comes in useful at a later date, if you have more than five employees you are required by law to write it down. Any paperwork that is produced should help communicate and manage the risks in the organisation. When writing down findings they must be clear and simple. The risk assessment should show the checks that were made, who might be affected, the remaining risk, the employees or representatives involved and how you dealt with the hazard. If the risk assessment shows a number of hazards they will need to be put in order of importance and address the most serious risks first. There needs to be long-terms solutions for the risks with the biggest consequences as well as those risks that are the most likely to cause accidents or ill health. Improvements should be established whether they are improvements that can be implemented quickly or even temporarily until more reliable controls can be put into place. The greater the hazard the more reliable and robust measures to control the risk of an injury occurring will need to be.
3.4 Hazards that cannot be eliminated
It is vital that some of the common hazards are found on construction sites are well understood such as working in a confined space, working in excavations, working at height and working over water.
Working in a confined space
A confined space is any space of an enclosed nature where there is a potential risk of death or serious injury from hazardous substance or dangerous conditions such as lack of oxygen. Confined spaces include trenches, pits, sewers and chambers. Work in confined spaces kills 15 people every year in the UK. In addition a number of people are seriously injured including operative who try to rescue other operative when an incident occurs. Dangers can arise in confined spaces for various reasons; they usually fall into two main categories lack of oxygen or poisonous, vapours, fumes or gases. Common sources when lack of oxygen incidents occur usually when there is a reaction between oxygen and some soils or a reaction between groundwater and limestone. Poisonous vapours, fumes or gases incidents occur when there is a build-up of gases in sewers, pits and manholes or gases leaking into trenches and pits dug in contaminated land. These hazards could exist due to the nature of the space or the nature of work being carried out such as fumes created by welding or use of power tools in wet spaces increasing the chance of an electric shock. Working in confined spaces is covered by the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997, if the work is unavoidable it should take into account of the identified hazards and the precautions needed to reduce the risk of injury. Everyone who will be involved in the work will require to be properly trained and instructed to make sure they know what to do and how to do it safely. Certain points should be considered for when setting up a safe system of work such as a supervisor in place and given the responsibility for the operation, operative must be given training and the entrance to the confined space must be big enough to allow operatives and extra ventilation to ensure adequate air supply. There also needs to be adequate emergency arrangements in place, if an incident occurs in a confined space the operatives could be exposed to serious and immediate danger, which is why it is essential to have effective arrangements in place such as attaching rescue harness to operative prior to entry and setting up adequate communication systems.
Working in excavations
An excavation is a void that is formed by the removal of soil or rock. Excavations include pits, trenches and holes formed for bored piles. Excavation is usually one of the first tasks that is carried out on a construction site, digging pits for foundations and trenches for drains usually contain hazards such as falling into the excavation and collapsing of the sides. A safe system of work is vital for all excavation works, attention must be paid to ground conditions, the depth of excavation, the type of work being carried out and the type of support to be used. If possible works should be done outside of the excavation to minimise the risk of collapse. The time the excavation is open should be minimised by backfilling the excavation as soon as possible after the work in the excavation is complete. When operatives carry out work in an excavation, they must be protected either by sloping slides that are at a safe angle or having suitable support in place. Temporary supports and sheeting materials are used to maintain stability of the sides of the excavation. The installation and removal of the supports should be done outside of the excavation. No one should enter the excavation until the installation is completed. Excavations should be inspected at the start of every shift to ensure that it is still safe to work in.
Working at height
In construction a large number of accidents occur with operative who are working at height. Over the past 10 years falls from height have accounted for between 34 – 59% of all fatalities in the construction industry. Activities that require working at height such as roof works and repairs, maintenance and demolition works need to have control measures in place to protect the people working at height. In some cases more than one method of protection may be used such as barriers, protection covers, personal protective equipment and measures to catch a falling operative.
Edge protection systems are erected around the perimeter of the building structure or around the void within the building structure. They are usually constructed from some sort of guardrail that is between 900 – 1100mm above the working surface. The guardrail should have a mid-rail which will help prevent operatives from falling between the guardrail and the working surface. Toeboards should also be used to prevent items and people falling off the working surface below the mid-rail.
All holes on floor and roof slabs should be covered to prevent operatives from falling through them. The cover that is used to protect the holes should be capable of supporting the impact of a person falling onto it. The covers are usually solid sheeting or steel or plywood and should be fixed securely around the hole with signs to warn operatives of the hazard. If it is not possible to operate on working platforms such as scaffolds or scissor lifts, personal fall protection systems should be used. When the operatives use the protection systems they will require adequate training to ensure that the equipment is worn and used correctly. There are two types of fall protection equipment used travel restriction devices and fall arrest systems, both are designed to prevent operatives from getting into falling situations. The measures should only be used if it is not possible to use the other methods of fall protection such as safety nets and catching platforms.
Working over water
When working near or over water there is a risk of drowning. Where there is a risk of drowning measure need to be in place to prevent it from happening. Control measures such as adequate supervision, required working platforms, carefully controlled electrical equipment and adequate lighting will be needed. Operatives must be trained in emergency precautions including how to raise the alarm in an incident and emergency drills. It is not permitted for lone working; at least two operatives must be present so that one can raise the alarm. Suitable rescue equipment should be in position and checked prior to starting work.
4.1 You are asked to monitor and review risk assessment in light of changes to circumstances for the construction process such as:
- Mounting of roof trusses on a windy day
- Concreting excavation trench on a wet day
- Building external walling on a hot day
- Concreting below while scaffolders are scaffolding above
Mounting of roofing trusses on a windy day
Working on roof trusses can be very dangerous, in construction falls account for more deaths and injuries than anything else with roofers accounting for 24% of them. Any fall from roof works inevitably involves at least a serious injury. Falls occur from the edges of roofs, through gaps or holes or through fragile roof materials and roof lights. Many people have been injured seriously by material falling or thrown from roofs. Accidents can occur when a roof is being constructed, maintained, cleaned and whist inspecting them. Any work that is carried out on a roof is of high risk because it involves working at height. The Work at Height Regulations 2005 sets out a hierarchy that needs to be followed when planning any works at height. When planning works at height consideration must be made including avoiding work at height where possible and the required equipment or measures to prevent falls. A risk assessment should be carried out on all roof works even if there is not a great deal required. More complex jobs will to be assessed in much more depth. All roof works are dangerous and it is vital that all the risks are identified during the risk assessment.
The Work at Height Regulations 2005 specifically state that works should not be carried out in weather conditions that could endanger the health and safety of workers such as rain, ice or windy conditions. Anyone carrying a roof sheet can easily be blown off the roof if they are caught in a gust of wind. Materials should not be left on the roof when the site is closed, if materials are left on the roof they need to be secured so they can’t be blown off.
Concreting excavation trench on a wet day
The law says you must prevent danger to workers in or around excavations. To have the required precautions maintained, a competent person must inspect excavation supports at the start of the working shift. No work should take place until the excavation is safe. Commercial clients must provide certain information to the contractors before the works begin which should include the ground conditions, underground structures and existing services locations. In construction every year operative are either seriously injured or killed and falling materials whilst working in excavations, the risks of working in an excavation include the excavation collapsing and burying or injuring people, materials or objects falling into the excavation, people or plant falling into the excavation and ground strength. Underground and overhead services can also present a fire, explosion electrical or other hazards and they will need to be assessed and managed. The edges of excavations should be protected with the appropriate barriers where people are most likely to fall into them. The guard rails and toe boards should be inserted into the ground next to the excavation side or guard rails connected to the sides of the trench blocks.
Before digging any trench pit, tunnel or any other excavations, a decision must be made as to what temporary will be required and what precautions need to be taken. All the equipment and precautions needed should be available on site before work can start. To make the excavation safer the sides of the excavation should be at an angle of repose. The angle of the slope should be less than the natural angle of repose in granular soils. In wet ground conditions a considerably flatter slope will be required
A competent person should inspect the excavation at the start of the working shift; the person should have the understanding of the dangers and necessary precautions that should be taken. The excavations should also be inspected after an event that could affect its strength such as weather conditions such as rain. A record of the inspection will be required and any faults that are found should be noted.
Building external walling on a hot day
When working outdoors the weather can have a serious effect on employee’s health if the risks have not been managed or considered. The impact of the weather can be immediate or over a period of time. When working outdoors it can have an influence an individual’s effectiveness, in these circumstances some of the most effective ways of managing these environments is to introduce administrative controls. When working in a hot environment, considerations such as rescheduling work to cooler times of the day, provide frequent rest breaks and shading rest areas, provide free access to cool drinking areas, encourage removal of PPE when in safe resting to help encourage heat loss and educate workers to recognise early symptoms of heat stress.
Heat stress occurs when the body’s means of controlling its internal temperature starts to fail. As well as air temperature, factors such as work rate, humidity and clothing worn while working may lead to heat stress (Hse.gov.uk, 2016)
It may not be obvious to someone passing through the work place that there is a risk of heat stress. When heat stress occurs the body reacts to heat by increasing the blood flow to the skin’s surface causing the body to sweat which results in cooling as the sweat evaporates from the body’s surface and heat is carried to the surface of the body from within by the increased blood flow. Operatives wearing personal protective equipment and carrying out heavy works in hot and humid conditions could be at risk because sweat evaporation is restricted by the type of PPE and the humidity of the environment. Their heart rate will increase, body core temperature will rise and eventually it will reach a point when the body’s control mechanism itself starts to fail.
Another factor when working in heat is the sunlight as it can cause skin damage including sun burn, blistering and skin ageing. Sunlight in the long term can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK with over 50,000 cases every year.
Over time people adapt to the hot climate by sweating more and change their behaviour to cool down such as having cool drinks, sitting in shade and removing clothing. However depending on the works that need to be carried out it may not be possible to remove clothing such as during asbestos removal. A risk assessment will need to be carried out to control the risks in the workplace by using a heat stress checklist.
Concreting below while scaffolders are scaffolding above
The local authority usually gives permission for the scaffold to be erected on pavements or footpaths, which can cause problems with access. Steps need to be taken in order to reduce hazards with items such as tube ends and threads on fittings. All joints should be wrapped and protected in order to keep persons safe from the sharp edges. Plastic protective cups should be placed in or over the ends of the tubes. In most cases the scaffold is design to have ledger braces to be omitted at the ground level so that people can pass under the scaffold. It is not sufficient enough to warn people just by placing safety signs on the scaffold even if they meet the requirements of the Health and Safety Regulations. Employers must have acted to reduce the hazards as far a reasonably practical. Supplementary lights should be installed on the scaffold where it has been erected in a place where the public have access.
All working platforms and decking should be boarded closely to their full width and free from tripping hazards. The spaces between the scaffold boards should be kept as small as possible and in any case should not exceed 25mm. the boards also should be securely fixed to prevent risk to any person below. Protection to the public and employees should be in place against falling objects and materials should be in place by the use of nets, toeboards, brick guards and protective fans. Where there is concreting works happening below checks must be made to see if the ground is suitable enough. Initial ground inspections and levelling is essential to reduce the amount of jack levelling is essential to reduce the amount of jack levelling and adjustment required during scaffold erection. The main hazards that occurs from working at height are people and objects falling onto people below. These hazards can occur as a result of poor or no adequate edge protection, or objects being stored poorly.
5.1 Produce a risk assessment for different workplaces and forms of work
All employers must conduct a risk assessment. If you have fewer than five employees you don’t have to write anything down.
We have started off the risk assessment for you by including a sample entry for a common hazard to illustrate what is expected (the sample entry is taken from an office-based business). Look at how this might apply to your business, continue by identifying the hazards that are the real priorities in your case and complete the table to suit. You can print and save this template so you can easily review and update the information as and when required. You may find our example risk assessments a useful guide (http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/casestudies). Simply choose the example closest to your business.
|What are the hazards?
|Who might be harmed and how?
|What are you already doing?
|Do you need to do anything else to control this risk?
|Action by who?
|Action by when?
|Slips and trips||Staff and visitors may be injured if they trip over objects or slip on spillages.||General good housekeeping is carried out.
All areas well lit, including stairs.
No trailing leads or cables.
Staff keeps work areas clear, eg no boxes
|Better housekeeping in staff kitchen
Arrange for loose carpet tile on second floor to be repaired/replaced.
|All staff, supervisor to monitor
|Falling from height||Serious injury or even fatal
injury could occur if a worker falls
||Supervisor to speak regularly to site
manager to arrange scaffold alterations and
ensure that weekly inspections have been
|Dust from cutting bricks||Dust exposure could cause silicosis.||
|Hazard to eyes,
|Bricklayers could suffer eye injury through flying brick fragments.||
||Use of goggles to be monitored by supervisor.||DT||2/06/2016||2/06/2016|
|Noise from use of equipment,||Workers using grinders, may suffer hearing loss||
||Supervisor to monitor and talk to site manager if noisy work does start close by.||Noise from use of equipment,|
Risk Assessment 2:
Employers with five or more employees must have a written health and safety policy and risk assessment.
It is important you discuss your assessment and proposed actions with staff or their representatives.
You should review your risk assessment if you think it might no longer be valid, eg following an accident in the workplace, or if there are any significant changes to the hazards in your workplace, such as new equipment or work activities.
For further information and to view our example risk assessments go to http://www.hse.gov.uk/risk/casestudies/
(Cooke and Williams, 2009) – Cooke, B. and Williams, P. (2009). Construction planning, programming and control. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell.
(Hse.gov.uk, 2016) – Hse.gov.uk. (2016). Slips and trips – HSE – Slips and trips – HSE. [online] Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/ [Accessed 13 Jun. 2016].
(Hse.gov.uk, 2016) – Hse.gov.uk. (2016). Slips and trips – HSE – Slips and trips – HSE. [online] Available at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/slips/ [Accessed 13 Jun. 2016].
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