What you need to do?
The law requires smaller builders to:
- Manage hazards and risk – You must plan, manage and monitor your construction work so it is done safely and without risks to health;
- Inform and train your workforce – Give information and training on risks, precautions and rules; and
- co-operate with the client or home occupier – The business client has legal duties and is obliged to co-operate with you and have arrangements for managing the work. It also makes sense to work closely with the home occupier to meet your responsibilities for site safety.
What you need to know?
Smaller builders must be competent to carry out their work safely. You should not accept work for which you do not have the necessary health and safety competency.
Most fatal injuries in the construction industry now occur on smaller building projects involving refurbishment of existing homes and workplaces. Over 60% of those deaths involve falls from ladders, scaffolds, working platforms, roof edges and falls through fragile roofs or roof lights.
Other fatal injuries on such projects arise from the collapse of excavations, lifting operations, electricity and mobile plant.
Manage hazards and risk
As a smaller builder, you are a contractor under Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) 2007 and you must:
- Plan, manage and monitor your construction work so that health and safety risks are controlled;
- Set lead times – inform any sub-contractors of the minimum amount of time that will be allowed for planning and preparation;
- Prevent site access – check that steps have been taken to prevent access by unauthorised persons to the site; and
- Arrange welfare facilities – make sure adequate welfare facilities are in place for your workforce.
- Protecting the public
Inform and train your workforce
You must also provide your workforce with the information and training they need to secure health and safety. This includes:
- site induction – where not provided by another;
- risks and precautions – information on risks identified in assessments, and the necessary precautions;
- site rules; and
- emergency procedures.
Cooperating with the client or home occupier
Close co-operation and co-ordination among everyone involved in a project can help to prevent injury and ill-health.
Business clients – have safety responsibilities on even the shortest of projects and will need to check the arrangements made by the smaller builder for managing the work.
For example, if there is a risk of falling through a fragile roof or roof light the client will need to know how the smaller builder plans to manage the risk and ensure the safety of the workers and those in his premises. This will require effective co-operation.
Home occupiers – the home occupier has no responsibility for workplace safety. However, the smaller builder and occupier have a common interest in making sure the building work does not put residents at risk. Close co-operation will help achieve this objective.
For example, you will want to leave the site in a safe condition at the end of the day and ensure that the residents are not put at risk while your work is in progress. The occupier will need to know of and co-operate with your plans.