Keeping health and safety records can seem like a lot of hard work. However good health and safety management has been proved to reduce the risks associated with working on construction sites. Health and safety saves lives and keeping accurate records is an essential part of managing and organising this issue on construction sites.
What Are Your Legal Requirements?
If you are managing health and safety for construction then the first step is to find out your legal requirements. There are extensive health and safety laws for construction and you will need to be able to prove that you have considered these and taken any appropriate action. This evidence can be recorded through documents like risk assessments, safety plans, inspection reports and method statements. Not only is this a necessary step to ensure the practical application of health and safety is achieved, but it will also provide solid evidence in the event of a formal health and safety inspection.
At the start of construction projects a notification should be sent to the Health and Safety Executive. All health and safety records should then be kept on-site if possible (if a temporary site office is in place) for ease of access.
Where this is not possible records should be stored in a central place (such as the construction company’s main office) where they can be accessed when necessary. Keeping electronic records of essential health and safety records in online shared document systems makes them easy to access on-site when needed using mobile web-enabled devices.
The types of records to be kept include:
General Risk Assessments – at the start of any project a general risk assessment should be completed and recorded. This would include an outline of potential risks to workers and the general public. All employers with over five employees must keep a record of risk assessments but it is a good idea even if you only have one or two employees.
Specific Risk Assessments – these more in-depth risk assessments should be completed and recorded where certain health and safety regulations apply. For example this might cover working at heights, manual handling or using hazardous substances.
Construction Project Phase Plan – the principle contractor should create and manage a construction project phase plan. This plan will document each phase of the construction process and provide a way to manage and monitor safe working practices.
Examination Reports – strict regulations are in place for the examination of plant machinery and lifting equipment such as cranes. These must be recorded clearly and be available if required to inspection officers.
Keeping accurate and up-to-date health and safety records is essential when managing health and safety for construction. Good record keeping helps construction contractors to manage and monitor safety on-site.
Suitable training courses for managing construction site safety include the SMSTS and the NEBOSH Construction Certificate.