HSE’s Construction Sector Plan for Health and Safety
The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has a new strategy on health and work which focuses strongly on work-related stress, musculoskeletal disorders and occupational lung disease. This is a new approach from the HSE, moving away from health and safety and into health at work which should encourage employers and business owners to take responsibility for good health at work. The HSE has actually published separate sector plans for health and safety which cover health and safety performance, the three most important strategic priorities for each sector for the next three to five years and HSE’s proposed actions. Today we’re talking a look at the construction sector plan in a bid to find out what this will mean for our readers working in the industry.
The construction sector is pretty wide ranging from the big high profile projects undertaken by major contractors all the way down to small building projects carried out by the self-employed. The sector accounts for 2.2 million workers which represents a significant 7% of the British workforce. The construction industry contributes around £97 billion to the UK economy, that’s about 6% of the total. As we’ve pointed out so many times, the construction sector is largely comprised of smaller companies with a massive 84% being one man bands and another 14% employing nine or fewer workers.
When it comes to the strategy for the construction sector, the HSE has collaborated with key stakeholders and decided that the top three priorities for our sector are as follows:
· To reduce incidents of ill health, with a particular focus on occupation lung disease and musculoskeletal disorders.
· To support small businesses to achieve an improvement in risk management and control.
· To embed the principles of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM).
This is all part of the #HelpGBworkwell initiative, a new strategy to improve health and safety standards in the UK which was launched in February, 2016. As part of this initiative, the HSE aims to secure effective management and control of risks by:
· Directing inspection and enforcement at those failing to manage and control risks, focusing on health risks, refurbishment and licenced asbestos removal.
· Visiting duty holders in order to review their health risk management processes using leading indicators in the Construction Health Risks Toolkit.
· Intervening with construction clients, principal designers and designers in order to ensure proportionate CDM understanding and compliance and working with other health and safety regulators (such as ONR) where necessary.
The HSE aims to reduce the likelihood of low-frequency, high impact catastrophic incidents by early strategic intervention with major projects and working with the industry to develop clear standards of construction risk leadership and leading performance indicators. This will also involve:
Working with supply chains to reduce risks from manual handling, demonstrating the effective use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) to improve risk information sharing throughout the construction process and funding communication insight research to improve risk awareness, management and mitigation in smaller businesses.