Construction is a high risk industry. Although it accounts for only about 5% of employees in Britain it accounted for 31% of fatal injuries to employees and 10% of reported major/specified injuries.
The main causes of death and major injury in the construction industry are:
• falling through fragile roofs, from ladders, scaffolds and other workplaces;
• being struck by machinery or transport, or overturning vehicles; and
• being crushed by collapsing structures.
All construction and building work projects have to be managed under the CDM Regulations, the scope of which has recently changed. The ‘Client’, under the Regulations, has overall responsibility for health and safety on a construction project. They appoint the project team and can determine the timescales of the project. Clients set the agenda, should make their expectations of high health and safety standards clear to their supply chain, and should also ensure that they and others pass on the necessary information that facilitates effective planning for safe work.
The Client is directly responsible for implementing health and safety management arrangements, and fulfilling a number of other duties, including assessing the competency of Contractors and Designers, vetting health and safety documentation and preparing / updating the health and safety file. In these situations the Client is therefore reliant on the competence of the health and safety advice they have in place.
Clients should inform the HSE as soon as possible before work starts on a construction project which lasts 30 or more days with more than 20 workers occupying the site simultaneously, or projects that exceed 500 person days.