The Legislation Governing Health And Safety Construction Essay

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The Health and Safety Authority offer employees and employers an extensive range of occupational health and safety legislations and also administer and enforce the associated codes of practice. The European Construction Industry Federation along with Irish acts produces the present legislative requirements for health and safety in Ireland

As the construction industry has one of the worst occupational safety and health records it is important to take on this topic and research it with a broad perspective in relating to legislations and the importance of safety in the construction industry.

This chapter opens in giving adequate information on where European based legislations came into play for us as it gives a background of te laws being introduced. Section two then looks into our national based legislations and what is required in our country today. Section three openly dives into the individuals tasks involved in keeping a project safe from the design stage through to the construction stage. Section four moves onto looking at safety plans and necessary safety cards, as Section five switches the attention onto the General Advertising laws. It gives some standard obligations which must be considered as the chapter then concludes with section six giving concluding remarks.

5.1 background to Health and Safety legislation internationally

The first European directives relating to health and safety in the workplace were decided on the foundation of the general market administration provisions. The reason this was is because there was an absence of a certain legislative capability in the agreement in the area of Health and Safety in the workplace until the mid-1980s. Up to then the occupational health and safety was looked at as an add-on to market agreements and the economic policies of the European Economic Community. (European Agency for Health & Safety at Work)

A gigantic step forward was the introduction of the Single European Act 1987 as it brought forward new legal provisions on social policy which aimed at improvement, particularly in the working sector, relating to the health and safety of employees. By adding this provision into the agreement, the position and value of safe working conditions was made clear. In addition, the development of social chapter approved the European Commission to endorse social cooperation between employers and labour representatives at a European level.

The European Framework Directive on Safety and Health at Work (Directive 89/391 EEC) was accepted in 1989 and was a considerable breakthrough in improving Health and Safety at in the workplace. It assures minimum Health and Safety necessities all over Europe while Member States are have permission to keep or develop more severe measures.

Directive 89/391 - OSH "Framework Directive ". An introduction of procedures was brought about on the 12th June 1989 to reassure improvements in the health and safety of workers in their workplace - "Framework Directive". In 1989 certain requirements of the Framework Directive brought about substantial innovation which included some of the following:

(European Agency for Health & Safety at Work)

The Directive aims to establish an equal level of safety and health for the benefit of all workers (the only exceptions are domestic workers and certain public and military services).

The Directive obliges employers to take appropriate preventive measures to make work safer and healthier.

Table 5.1.1 Salient Requirements from Directive 89/391 (European Agency for Health & Safety at Work)

5.2 National Health and Safety Legislation

Health and Safety in the construction work is governed mainly by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations, 2005. It should also be noted that construction is also subject to the requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 1995 and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Genera Application) Regulations, 1993 as well as other acts such as Noise Regulations, Asbestos Regulations and Chemical Agents Regulation.

When relating to construction health and safety, which is carried out in section 19 of the Safety statement, all employers are obliged to identify hazards in their workplace under which is under his/her control. They are required to assess the risks which are present and caused by those hazards and must have possession of a printed assessment (which is known and referred to the Act as a "risk assessment") of the risks to the safety, health and welfare at work of their employees which includes the safety, health and welfare of any individual worker or group of workers who may be subjected to anything out of the ordinary.

Section 19 in the Safety statement is based on the risk assessment which requires all employers including small contractors to carry the assessment out. Irrespective of the size of the company, most features of the regulations are applicable to all contractors and must be obeyed by all to guarantee the safety everyone including the workers along with the general public. (Oireachtas - Irish Statute Book)

5.3 General Duties

In general, small contractors (which consist of 20 employees or less) will follow the following regarding the health and safety in their sector:

Should maintain and provide a safe workplace and also provide safe equipment along with machinery.

Their workplace should be managed to provide a safe and healthy environment for employees.

They should ensure that the risks are assessed and an adequate safety statement is put forward which is updated to standard.

They are obliged to provide and uphold good welfare facilities for workers.

They should have prepared in advance procedures which take care of emergency situations.

They should provide training and information to employees.

It is important that they report serious accidents to the Health and Safety Authority

Table 5.1.2 Salient Requirements for Small Contractors (www.irishstatutebook.ie)

5.3.1 Duties of Client at Design Stage

Responsibilities for Health and Safety begin with the client. There is a requirement of the client to employ a project supervisor to oversee and co-ordinate health and safety matters during the two distinctive stages of the project which are

The Design Stage

The Construction Stage

These appointments should be in writing and with the written consent of the relevant parties. It is vitally important that clients make enquiries about the Health and Safety competence and the Health and Safety Training of the Project Supervisors appointed.

The client can appoint an alternative project supervisor for both of the stages, or could make one selection for the entire project. If capable of undertaking the role, the client may choose to appoint himself/herself as project supervisor for either or both the stages.

(Oireachtás - Irish Statute Book)

5.3.2 Duties of Project Supervisor at Design Stage

The core duties of the project supervisor appointed for the design stage are as follows.

To take account of the general principles of prevention during the design of the project and when estimating the period of time for completion of the project

To co-ordinate the other designers so as to ensure that they also take account of the general principles of prevention

To take account of any existing safety file or safety and health plan

To prepare a preliminary safety and health plan for the project supervisor at construction stage

To provide the project supervisor (construction stage) with any necessary information which is available and needs to be included in the safety file?

Table 5.3.2.1 Salient Duties of a Project Supervisor at the Design Stage (www.irishstatutebook.ie)

The Project Supervisor at the design stage should keep full documentation of how the above detailed duties have been complied with. She/he will need to carry out an assessment of the general design to identify any particular risks that are likely to arise. It is not reasonably practicable to eliminate or reduce these risks by altering the design of the project. The supervisor (at design stage) needs to be satisfied that these risks can be effectively controlled during construction.

A Safety & Health Plan must be arranged on a preliminary basis at the design stage and must provide the following information

General description of project

Estimated time scale of the project

Work involving any particular risks

Other work activities taking place on the site

5.3.3 Duties of the Contractor at Construction Stage

Health and safety in the workplace should be the mixed efforts of employers, workers and the general society to improve the well-being and health and safety of the people in our work. In order that a contractor in the construction sector has a successful project, it can improve upon by the basis of his/her employees working in a safe and healthy environment. The health and safety policy of the contractor should be influenced by all activities, which even include selecting the people, equipment and materials. The contractor should also look at the way work is undertaken as well as how he/she designs and provides goods and services. Writing up a statement of their policy should show the organisation and preparations for applying and checking health and safety standards as it should show the workers, and anyone else, the hazards which should be identified along with risk assessment. The core duties of the project supervisor should include: (Oireachtás - Irish Statute Book)

a co-operation with the supervisor of the project within the construction stage.

be to offer a copy of any applicable safety statement which has been prepared that is likely to come into effect of any safety, health or welfare areas of any worker on the work premises.

providing the supervisor of the project in the construction stage with adequate information relating to any accident or hazardous occurrence in which the contractor has a requirement to give notification report on.

providing the supervisor of the project, in writing, with the adequate and relevant information in order to prepare a safety file.

complying with instructions of the supervisor of the project for the design process along with the instructions through to the construction stage.

bringing all relevant information to the employers of any such rules which apply to them in the safety and health plan.

Table 5.3.3.1 Salient Duties of a Project Supervisor at Construction Stage (www.irishstatutebook.ie)

5.4 Safety and Health Plan

The Safety and Health Plan is concerned with the provisions in place for the management and co-ordination of health and safety matters on site. The plan set on a initial basis by the project supervisor (at design stage) must be developed prior to the publication of work by the project supervisor (construction stage) into a safety and health plan for the construction stage. The size and detail of the plan will depend on the size and the nature of the project.

The Safety and Health Plan must address the specific risks that are likely to arise and stipulate control measures for dealing with the risks. It must also address the common measures for matters such as access to site, the movement of vehicles, sharing of scaffolding and other equipment, as well as additional hazards likely to arise. The plan must also take account other work activities which take place on site, such as the clients activities.

In addition the plan must outline the provisions in place for ensuring co-ordination and co-operation between contractors. It is extremely important that the plan is specific to the site and reflects the dangers and the control measures specific to the particular site. (Oireachtas - Irish Statute Book)

5.4.1Awareness and skills certification

Along with the Safety and Health Plan it is essential that all contractors or people who work under an employer's direct control and work on a construction site will ensure that every person -

is in possession of a valid safety awareness registration card

is in possession of an appropriate valid construction skills registration card

has received site-specific safety induction instruction

Table 5.4.1.1 Tradesman Requirements (www.irishstatutebook.ie)

Upon the date in which a worker commences work on site, the contractor is obliged to ensure that the worker is in possession of -

(i)      the valid registration card

(ii)     other relevant certificates and documentation required under the relevant statutory provisions.

Table 5.4.1.2 Requirements on Site (www.irishstatutebook.ie)

5.4.2 Employees

It should be acknowledged that health and safety is every person's business. Being a worker you are legally required to design and to protect you and the people you work with. You are required to obey the following guidelines -

(Oireachtas - Irish Statute Book)

Co-operate with an employer or other people to ensure that the health and safety law is implemented

Don't engage in improper conduct that will endanger you or anyone else

Attend health and safety training and correctly use any equipment at work

Use protective clothing and equipment provided (safety helmet, harness or any other personal protective equipment provided for the person's safety and health)

Report any dangerous practices or situations that you are aware of to an appropriate person

Don't interfere or misuse any safety equipment at your workplace

Table 5.4.2.1 Workers obligations on Site (www.irishstatutebook.ie)

5.5 General Principles of Advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) is considered to be a watchdog introduced by our government here in Ireland to ensure adequate standards are kept on par in relation to keeping advertising laws in place. To complete their work, the ASAI have a range of advertising laws, whose nature is very wide, and they keep these legislations on track in relation to proper delivery of advertising.

The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland is a member of the EASA (European Advertising Standards Alliance) who bring 30 National European and Non-European organisations together along with 15 advertising and representing organisation industries in Europe. The EASE are based in Brussels, Belgium, and is a non-profit organisation.

The EASA is a sole authoritive voice of promoting self-regulation across the European Union for the assistance of consumer and business. The EASAs aims are to promote, support and spread self-regulation as well as improve best practice, take care of cross border complaints and offer information and research.

(European Advertising Standards Alliance)

Obligations which are involved

In order for advertising self-regulation to keep and further improve its part in making certain of the protection of the consumer, it must be acknowledged and accepted by Member States as paired to the existing laws.  EASA carefully works with the European Commission and Parliament ensuring that new legislation which affects the advertising industry offers possibility for and gives acknowledgment to self-regulation. 

When relating to codes which are in place regarding the communication and advertising skills which an organisation are obliged to follow relate to a list of General Rules. An insight into some of the salient rules are as follows:

They have duty to be legal, to be of decent nature, honest and truthful

They should be organised with a sense of obligation to consumers and society

They are obliged to respect the values of fair competition commonly acknowledged in business.

The codes should apply within the spirit of advertising as well as in the letter

Any marketing communication shouldn't bring advertising into disrespect

Principal responsibility for acknowledging the codes lie with the advertiser.

Table 5.5.1 Salient Codes relating to Advertising (European Advertising Standards Alliance)

The Codes cover a set of general instructions which are accompanied by additional necessities for specific sectors. Generally, the rules are intended to ensure that advertising communications are not misleading or generally offend.

An advertising communication which breaches the laws must be withdrawn or corrected as the media should refuse to distribute an advertising communication that fails in complying with code necessities. A member who does not accept ASAI judgments may be disciplined and may be subject to punishments which include charges and/or suspension from advertising.

(Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland)

5.6 Conclusion

A contractor who is responsible for a construction site workplace shall take all appropriate precautions to ensure that the site is safe and being deprived of any risk of injury to the health and safety of the people at work, taking into account numerous risks associated in such areas as the sites safety and access to construction sites, the protection from falling material and use of protective safety helmets, the installations of machinery and equipment, the lighting of work places along with numerous other risks involved.

Under the EU directives, every employer has responsibility for the health and safety of their employees. Directive 89/391 provides the general framework regarding health and safety management and risk assessment. In relating to this, employers have requirements to assess risks and hazards along with taking practical measures in protecting the health and safety their employees.

When relating to providing advertising in relation to the Health and Safety Campaigns, legislation also plays a huge role in order for the advert to stand out and follow all regulations. Every advertisement is obliged to follow the law in order not to mislead the viewer and all must be taken into consideration to ensure the laws are not breached.

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