HSE (the Health and Safety Executive) will be visiting construction sites across the UK throughout Autumn 2021.
They aim to visit sites of all types and sizes. HSE are able to inspect sites they have not seen in the previous three months, and must give reasonable notice in writing when they intend to carry out a formal inspection. They will be looking to check that appropriate measures are in place to protect workers’ lung health from exposure to dust.
The HSE are the UK’s national regulator for workplace health and safety, committed to improving the health of construction workers. This year, HSE is especially focussing on respiratory risks and occupational lung disease. HSE inspectors will look at the way work is designed and planned, and the measures in place to protect workers from harmful exposure to dust. Because of the high risk, inspections will be more frequent.
How to stay prepared for a construction site inspection
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect the health of their workers. You should always practice proper procedure and obey safety laws. To ensure you make the best impression at an inspection, set up a workplace health and safety committee.
This is not mandatory unless requested by union-appointed representatives, however we recommend you do so. Committees help to understand how health and safety works best for your employees and to distribute resources.
What will a health and safety committee do?
Health and safety committees pay attention to a wide range of issues and can be very helpful for the upkeep of a construction site.
- Look at statistics on accidents, ill health and sickness absences;
- Review accident investigations
- Keep track of workplace inspections by enforcing authorities such as the HSE
- Health and safety training
- Keep up-to-date risk assessments
- Keeping track of changes in the workplace
Committees are to remain impartial, they are not there to appoint blame. They are helpful in considering what precautions should be taken and recommending actions.
These actions plans, statistics and risk assessments can be relayed to an visiting HSE inspectors.
Why is it important to involve workers in health and safety?
HSE case studies have shown the benefits of workforces involving their employees when making decisions on health and wellbeing. The health and safety committee can be a good medium for this.
Consulting employees ensures they understand the protocols and your construction site is much less likely to see an incident. Employees will also often have first-hand experience of where the most progressive risks lie. Learn how to quickly start involving your workforce further here:
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