Health and Safety for Small Construction Company Operators

Health and Safety for Small Construction Company Operators

11th May 2017

Health and safety professionals have always had use a wide range of skills in order to be effective – it’s a multi-disciplinary role that overlaps with other fields so being flexible is an essential part of the job.  The world in which the health and safety professional now works has changed radically since the enactment of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and, here in the UK, we have an enviable record in the reduction of work related injuries and fatalities since the seventies. 

Nowadays, multi-skilled abilities and flexibility are more important than ever and there’s increasing pressure for health and safety professionals to take on more responsibilities, including:

·         Technological advancements

·         Changes in culture

·         Changes in politics

·         Changes in the makeup of industry and an increase in the number of SMEs

·         A growth in third party verification and evidence collation

·         Growing business pressures

·         An increased focus on areas that have not been dealt with as thoroughly as safety.

These are the prevailing themes throughout the Health and Safety Executive’s Helping Great Britain Work Well initiative and we need to act together in order to address these. 

Since the 1970’s the UK has moved away from traditional manufacturing and heavy industries (such as steel production and mining) to service industries.  There has also been a marked reduction in large scale employers while smaller companies have increased and flourished.  Nowadays, 99.9% of all private sector businesses are SMEs and a massive 4.2 million of these have no employees.  This means that although managing employee safety is still vital, getting the proportional risk management message across to non-employing businesses is quite a challenge.

Here at Safety Fabrications we can’t emphasize health and safety in the workplace enough – after all, we manufacture safe access equipment for businesses across the UK.  The majority of construction companies here in the UK are small companies that have no employees.  If you own or operate one of these small building firms and don’t have employees, you still need to be aware that you have a responsibility towards yourself and your clients to ensure that work is carried out safely at all times.  This means that which means that as a business owner, you also need to act as your own health and safety professional.  You need to ensure that you choose the right type of access equipment and that you are fully trained in using it correctly.  You also need to make sure that you comply with health and safety regulations – small builders are most at risk of injury and ill health on construction jobs and suffer the majority of fatal accidents.  Most of the fatalities are as a result of a fall from height, including from ladders, scaffolds, work platforms, roof edges and through fragile roofs. 

It’s vital that before any work is started that a full risk assessment is carried out so that the work can be planned properly and carried out safely.