Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: An Overview
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Published: Mon, 02 Jul 2018
Substructures are anything constructed below DPC or ground floor level for example foundations or cellar floors on social housing or even tunnels for commercial use. Substructure legislations include the town and country planning legislation, Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 and COSHH.
The Town and Country Planning legislation means that the towns and developments will be planned appropriately and safely bearing in mind fellow housing owners that may be affected by any developments. Planning is necessary to ensure that the buildings and the environment is safe, secure and happy amongst the public. Local authorities are responsible through their planning committees to decide whether a new building or an alteration to an existing building is needed and suitable. Planning permission is not always required, for example internal alterations or work which does not change the appearance of the outside of a property does not require planning permission. Extending or altering the shape of a building, planning permission will be required and if failed to apply for or have a planning application you may risk having the building demolished by the council or planning committee. Some developments even make sure that other property owners are happy by keeping fencing a certain height and shape for them not to contact planning permission. Some old fashioned houses may also be affected by this legislation as you may not be legally allowed to put a new, modern, contemporary house in an old, vintage village or near any other old existing houses as it does not fit in or the neighbours may have objected. This legislation applies before construction as you have to apply for planning permission before a building is built to see whether it fits in, it is safe and suitable for the location and the public however during construction it also applies as housing developers apply for planning permission on site for temporary roads or compounds to help planning committees keep the existing properties safe and happy too.
The Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974 means that you should promote, stimulate and encourage high standards of health and safety in places of work. It protects employees and the public from work activities that may cause danger to them in that very moment or in the future. Everyone must abide by the act or you may be prosecuted for not doing so if someone has an injury because of you. The act means that the employers have a duty of ensuring that there employees are safe and secure within the work place. Depending on the type of work place you must wear protection, for instance if the job is construction related the employer must provide you with PPE like a hard hat, steel toe cap boots and a hi-vis. They must also ensure that all your equipment and materials are safe, handled well and have had recent services and lastly they must provide you with training, supervision or simply a site induction which includes details of your job, the health and safety on site and the site rules. Site managers or your employer must provide a written safety policy or risk assessment and depending on your age a young person’s risk assessment. Employees objectives are to take care of their own health and safety, and that of others, cooperate with their employer and not to interfere with anything provided in the interest of health and safety. A HSE is a health and safety executive, this person observes and monitors the site under strict instructions and guidelines under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. If the HSE are unhappy they are allowed to shut the site down completely. They have the right to have entry, close the site, see documents and take copies, size substances and ask questions. They even produce an improvement or prohibition notice. Both employers and employees may face prosecution if the site is unfit by the HSE. This act applies before construction as the employer has to provide everyone with PPE, inspect the site to see if it is safe before construction starts and set up risk assessments and first aid boxes however during construction this applies as the employer doesn’t want any accidents or illnesses on site, they would like the PPE to protect their workers, the equipment to be safe, serviced and used well, the fences to protect the public and the vehicles have reversing sirens to protect everyone.
COSHH stands for the control of substances hazardous to health. COSHH covers any chemicals used on site for instance adhesive glues or paint thinners. Every chemical that is used on site must have a risk assessed by the site manager on behalf of the COSHH act. The regulations recommend that you do a risk assessment, decide what precautions are needed for example PPE, prevent or control exposure for example dust masks or gloves, ensure that control measures are maintained and used, monitor exposure through measurements, carry out regular health tests for example blood tests, prepare plans and procedures if an accident was to occur and ensure the employees are properly informed and trained usually by the HSE. A prime example of a hazardous substance is asbestos which is now banned due to the harm it does to your body when inhaled. The fibres within the material are the parts of the asbestos that are dangerous. Some products require careful control like the extraction of asbestos like some foam product instillations. This act applies before construction as the site manager needs to know if there is any products already on the site that may need to be removed or a risk assessment done for them however during construction it still applies as the chemicals and materials brought on site during the build may be hazardous too and may need to be risk assessed.
Superstructures are all the elements visible above the substructure level for example a multi storey building, a social house or even a sky scraper. Superstructure legislations include Building regulations, RIDOR and Construction design management regulations 2008.
Building regulations apply in England and wales and these promote standards for most aspects of a building’s construction process, energy efficiency in buildings, the needs of all people even including the disabled. The regulations apply to most new buildings, and many alterations of existing buildings, whether domestic, commercial or industrial. The types of work that do need to comply with the building regulations is the erection or extension of a building, the installation or extension of a service or fitting which is controlled under the regulations, an alteration involving work which will temporarily or permanently affect the on-going compliance of the building, service or fitting with the requirements relating to structure, fire, or access to and use of buildings, the insertion of insulation into a cavity wall and the underpinning of the foundations of a building. All buildings within this list must meet the requirements as they are for danger purposes for example a fire escape and air supplies for the combustion for some appliances. The main requirements come in 14 parts:
Part A – Structure
Part B – Fire safety
Part C – Site preparation and resistance to moisture
Part D – Toxic substances
Part E – Resistance to the passage of sound
Part F – Ventilation
Part G – Hygiene
Part H – Drainage and waste disposal
Part J – Combustion appliances and fuel storage systems
Part K – Protection from falling, collision and impact
Part L – Conservation of fuel and power
Part M – Access to and use of buildings
Part N – Glazing – safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning
Part P – Electrical safety
This regulation applies before construction as the planning department need to put in the fire escapes e.t.c.. however during construction it still applies as the building regs managers or the HSE may test the products to see if they meet the standards.
RIDDOR stands for reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations. RIDDOR covers deaths, major injuries; accidents resulting in an over-three-day injury, diseases, dangerous occurrences and gas accidents. If an accident did happen an accident investigation must be done as it is a legal requirement under the RIDDOR regulations. If a member of public is hurt or killed the HSE must be informed. Over three days injuries must be reported to the HSE too. When you report the injuries under RIDDOR you must issue the date and time, a brief description of what happened, put the name and address of the person injured and the date and method of reporting. The injuries listed as RIDDOR are fractures other than fingers, thumbs or toes, amputation, dislocation of shoulder, hip, knee or spine, loss or sight temporarily or permanently and chemical or hot metal burns to the eye that is penetrating. This regulation applies before construction as the site manger may need to write out methods of what to do in the event of certain injuries however during construction this will carry on as the site manager may need to write a report after an injury or inform the HSE.
Construction design and management regulations 2008 aim to reduce the large numbers of serious, fatal accidents and cases of ill health which occur in construction. CDM places responsibilities on key members such as the design and management teams to keep the projects running safely and smoothly. CDM duties are to select and appoint a planning supervisor and principal contractor that will both allocate adequate resources for health and safety, be satisfied that the designers and contractors arrange for work to be done smoothly and safely, provide the planning supervisor with information on health and safety and ensure the health and safety files are up to date and construction starts and ends well. This regulation applies before construction as the planning, contractors and site managers need to organise who’s doing what and when however during they must all make sure it is running as they planned without any health and safety risks.
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