Where Will Health And Safety In The Construction Industry Take Us In The Year Ahead?

Where will Construction Industry Health and Safety take us in the year ahead?

Certainly CDM will figure high on the agenda following last years review especially with the eagerly awaited HSE consultation document now delayed until the spring. Can we expect sweeping changes or just a tepid tinkering as in the past? Certainly the signs are, given the political view of unnecessary and overly bureaucratic regulations and the Lofested report that major changes could be implemented. Could the role of the CDM Co-ordinator be rolled into the job of lead designer or even project manager rather than a standalone professional? Bear in mind the original concept was for the CDM-C to be a corporate role rather than that of an individual.

Many people in the industry will hope some sanity is bought to the continuing plethora of cards, including CPCS, and the pre-qualification schemes required to prove Health and Safety “competency”.

Will the industry bodies actually come together and take significant action to sweep away the bureaucracy and tick-box mentality that is engulfing the sector?

 There are now a vast variety of trade-specific skills cards, which employers often demand as evidence of the skills and health and safety “competence” of on-site operators. Recent research indicated that there are some 300 cards from over 40 certification schemes. Some are competence based, such as the scheme for scaffolders and plant operatives, but others are a record of having passed a test. Just because you have a card doesn’t mean you are competent. It’s also very difficult for site managers and smaller businesses who really don’t know what all of them mean. Similarly the questions in Client PQQs that ask for ridiculous information about the Health and Safety competence of qualified industry professionals, most of which adds little or no value and is merely a backside covering exercise.

The HSE has revealed details of what can be expected from the construction division during 2012/13. HSE Construction Inspectors will target asbestos; small sites/projects; refurbishment and major projects/large contractors and clients. In addition, inspectors will address any other serious uncontrolled risk identified at visits immediately.

The following risks and issues will number amongst HM Inspectors priorities during site visits:

Key risks – work at height; asbestos; welfare facilities; good order and respiratory risks;

Leadership – how effective directors and senior management are at leading health and safety;

Health risks – raising awareness and promoting knowledge of health risks in construction;

Worker involvement – encouraging effective worker involvement, so every worker plays an active role;

Contractor Competence – emphasis on the competence of organisations and individuals;

Temporary Works – managing temporary works through adequate management arrangements. 

 

Key areas of collaboration include:

  • Working Well Together – support to the WWT Campaign; (SR Partnership are active supporters and committee members of the WWT London and Southeast Group).
  • Building Control – reviewing collaboration agreement between HSE and the Building Control Alliance;
  • Lift installation – supply chain initiative following recent incidents;
  • Supplier and others – identify routes to deliver guidance and key messages to small sites;
  • Asbestos in retail – work with retail sector on the management of asbestos risk during refurb work; and

Training and CPD – work to improve the Health and Safety content for undergraduate courses and improved CPD.

Construction Skills and CPCS Card Specialist, John Green CMIOSH, Health and Safety Consultant with SR Partnership Ltd.