For anybody taking on a supervisory role in the construction industry safety issues loom large – or at least they should. The latest figures for construction industry deaths (provisional figures for 2012-13) show that 39 workers lost their lives in the industry keeping it top of the table of riskiest industries in which to work. Although this figure is relatively low and represents a downward trend that has been established for over twenty years, it masks the fact that work related injuries in the industry remain high with these figures being in the tens of thousands. Ensuring that you have adequate training to competently perform supervisory tasks is a crucial factor to consider before taking on, or looking for supervisory roles.

Supervising Safely

The Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) can offer the necessary training and qualifications for the role. In addition to providing essential Health and Safety grounding for managers and supervisors it can be a useful qualification for those looking for promotion within the industry. Although all employees have a general duty of care to work safely and ensure the safety of others (colleagues and site visitors) the main responsibilities for site safety lie with supervisors and managers. Supervisors, in particular, are responsible for risk assessment, management and limitation.

What Does the Course Involve?

The Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme is normally presented as a two day course – fees vary and providers can be found across the country. There are two key areas of focus for the supervisory level course; the legal framework of Health and Safety as it applies to the construction industry and training in the preparation of risk assessments. Both of these areas are crucial in understanding the roles of supervisors and in performing necessary safety checks and minimising risks. The course also aims to foster a positive and proactive approach to safety on construction sites and the background and understanding it provides help to develop and enhance safe working practices and attitudes.

Risky Management or Risk Management

One of the key features and benefits of the SSSTS course is that it helps to debunk the myth that Health and Safety is largely red tape, complex and time consuming. Good practice in Health and Safety (in any industry, including construction) is often down to simple, common sense practices. Apart from assessing risks on site, simply ensuring that sites are ordered and well maintained helps to reduce the risks of serious injuries or worse. For first time managers and supervisors the SSSTS course is a straightforward, low cost investment, which can help to eliminate avoidable accidents that are often the cause of both accidents in the workplace.

Employer Benefits

For employers the legal responsibilities in relation to the safety of their employees should not be overlooked. Apart from the devastating impact that a fatality can have for employers, colleagues and families of the worker there are potentially huge costs involved if safety has not been as good as it could be. In addition the HSE often conducts spot checks on building sites (which tend to be easy to identify) and where breaches are found they will impose hefty fines. Whatever size of company you run ensuring that supervisors and managers have adequate training is a small investment by comparison.