Construction Sites May Be Subject To Pre-Start Health And Safety Reviews

On a constructions site, in order to ensure a certain standard is upheld and to prevent hazardous conditions an inspection of construction equipment takes place prior to the start of construction. In some locations pre-start health and safety reviews are becoming more regulated. Compliance has become more and more demanding for new construction.

There is always the chance of injury and possibly loss of life on the location of any construction site. It may be true that most workers accept this as part of the everyday occupational hazard of a construction job. However, site supervisors and construction project managers are required to order and pass an inspection to diligently verify that the equipment used is up to a particular standard of safety.

The required inspection cannot be performed by a random worker simply by dint of experience or hard work. A qualified engineer or engineering company is deemed the level of expertise necessary to be sure that a site and its equipment meet certain conditions.

The inspection is called a review and that is just what it is. Based on the laws and compliancy prerequisites of a given state or local government, equipment that does not meet the conditions of safety must be repaired to fit what is deemed necessary. Under some regulations faulty equipment must be removed from the site or replaced. This can happen all the time on construction sites all over North America.

So far, there is not one standard for all building sites across the spectrum of locations worldwide. Every year more and more jurisdictions are upgrading their standards to ensure possibly better conditions. These higher standards are saving lives on a regular basis.

New construction and change order paperwork will likely be very effected by pre-start health and safety reviews. Failure to follow local guidelines can be costly. Indeed, a construction can be cited with a fine, run the risk of receiving tickets and may be forced to halt the job altogether. Every job site should be in compliance with any notices they are given to get their equipment up to a good level of safety. When work is brought to a stop, so is the workers pay.

Every supervisor and construction project manager should have an inspection done on ever job that they work on. This insures a great level of safety for their workers and themselves physically and can help keep them stable financially as well. And hopefully every job can finish on time!

Health and Safety Risk Assessment

The requirement to carry out risk assessments has been a fundamental part of United Kingdom health and safety legislation for a good number of years now, but is the requirement to carry out risk assessments truly embedded in the health and safety culture?

Having carried out numerous health and safety incident investigations I would suggest that there is still some way to go before a risk assessment is regarded as just one of the tools an employee needs to use, in a similar manner to which an electrician may consider a screwdriver one of his tools. The most common denominator between all the major incidents I have investigated involves risk assessment. There was no assessment, it was not suitable or sufficient, it was not available to those doing the work, was not understood by those carrying out the task or it was not followed.

In a world where as people we are continually assessing risk (for example before crossing a road, or driving our cars), why in the field of work, do we so often fail to assess risk? I would suggest that despite the huge amounts of money some companies spend on health and safety training, there are still a number of employees who feel that they need to get the job done, are doing the right thing by getting “stuck in”, in short, helping the company out. But in doing so they expose themselves and others to the risk of injury and their employers to breaches of health and safety regulations and possible enforcement action.

So how do we improve this situation? One option is that managers at all levels are visible, they get onto the shopfloor and talk to employees when they are carrying out their duties. By discussing the tasks employees are undertaking, managers are able to establish how risk assessments are playing a part in how the job is carried out and the control measures that have been adopted. This further allows managers to understand any shortcomings and highlight where improvements can be made.

Training can play a vital part, helping to ensure that all employees are able to, at the least, understand the risk assessments pertaining to the tasks they carry out. Better still, train all employees to be able to carry out risk assessments. Although a management duty, employees are often best placed to carry out assessments and should wherever possible be involved in the process. The real improvements will be made when employees feel empowered to challenge their colleagues, perhaps one of the most straightforward, but most difficult things to do at work.

Continually reinforcing the message that risk assessment is vital to improve health and safety, will in time lead to an employee taking a few minutes to assess the situation before starting a task, as being the norm. This in turn should lead to a reduction in harm, improved health and safety standards and increased profitability.

Kevin Barton Associates Ltd, health & safety support,