The importance of staying up to date with latest legislation and standards
Construction is statistically one of the most hazardous working environments, so adhering to current safety standards legislation and procedures is vital. It’s also vital for those in site supervisory roles to understand what these are and implement them, so industry recognised training for these personnel is important.
The reality of construction risk
According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) figures for 2016/17, some 60,000 construction workers sustain a non fatal injury each year with 30 fatalities – of which half were caused from working at height. This infographic from RoSPA (Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents) is also pretty revealing.
So even though much in the way of safety legislation applies to the construction industry now, there are still many safety related incidents. Therefore the importance of good safety practices can’t be overstated as poor safety is responsible for:
Lost time – major incidents often require investigation which can cause work on a construction site to cease while these are carried out – the HSE are within their rights to order a cessation of work whilst investigations are undertaken.
Lost income – possible penalties for construction firms missing deadlines if poor safety results in workers absent through injury or work being stopped to investigate safety incidents.
Increased expense – paying for more overtime or hiring more workers to make up for lost time in hold ups caused by safety related incidents or absenteeism.
Low morale – workers feeling they’re working in a dangerous environment lose morale and may quit while others are less likely to join a firm with a poor safety record.
Prosecution – firms can have legal action taken against them if they’re found not to be implementing required safety practices.
Knowing about the latest legislation applying to the construction industry and what safety procedures apply to various tasks, such as working at height and working with hazardous materials, is vital.
Training – construction managers and other supervisory personnel should ideally take a Site Management Safety Training Scheme course recognised by the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board).
Professionals running a SMSTS training course will train supervisory staff thoroughly in the following:
- Current legislation relating to the construction industry such as the Health and Safety at Work Act and others including Working at Height Regulations.
- Safety procedures relating to specific activities such as working with asbestos, in confined spaces, with electricity, and on excavations.
- Why risk assessments are important and how to undertake them.
The course runs for a full working week Monday to Friday and attendance on each day is required – any days missed and the course delegate has to start the course again.
Various exercises and case studies are undertaken by attendees who are assessed continuously by the course leader, and a multiple choice exam is taken at the end.
Attendees are awarded their safety training certificate upon successful completion of the course including passing the exam which remains valid for five years. After this time a refresher course should be taken to keep knowledge up to date, although a three year gap is considered preferable due to ongoing changes in legislation and procedures.
Proper training helps careers
Along with helping a construction project proceed safely and without possible HSE intervention through poor safety, proper training in safety and other construction aspects can help personnel develop their careers as they acquire specific knowledge on the way.
For example, this construction manager working in the north of England started as a labourer and – through being supported by his employer over the years with training and guidance – has risen to his present supervisory role.