Occupational Health and Safety in the UK Construction Industry - Who Does What
If you work in the construction industry here in the UK, you’ll be aware of the importance of occupational health and safety. Despite stringent regulations and constantly improving safety standards, the construction business remains one of the most risky to work in due to the very nature of the work involved. There are several organisations and public bodies here in the UK that work to improve the levels of safety in the workplace so today we’re taking a look at the ones that are most relevant to the industry so that you know who is responsible for what and where to turn if you need help and advice.
THE HEALTH AND SAFETY EXECUTIVE
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is the leading public body when it comes to issues on health and safety. The organisation was founded in 1974 and a non-departmental body that is currently administered by the Department for Work and Pensions. The HSE acts as a regulatory body for the construction industry and features a dedicated advisory committee to oversee all health and safety matters in the construction sector. Although the HSE has a regulatory role, it also has other duties such as providing information and statistics, offering advisory services, arranging training and funding and carrying out research. The research function of the HSE has been instrumental in improving occupational standards to benefit both employees and employers within the industry. The resulting raised awareness is especially important in this high risk industry.
THE INSTITUTION OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
The Institution of Occupational Health and Safety (IOSH) was founded in 1945 and has similar goals to the HSE but does not have any regulatory powers. Its main function is to raise awareness in all issues related to health and safety in the workplace at both a national and international level. The IOSH performs several key functions, including lobbying political bodies, funding and running informative campaigns, promoting the free exchange of information between its members and providing public resources and professional development training. The organisation’s dedicated construction group has more than 11,000 members and aims to pinpoint and promote best practice within the industry.
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ADVISORY SERVICXES
The Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Services specialises in providing independent advise on several topics that relate to the construction industry, including asbestos management, health surveillance, occupational health and hygiene and risk assessment. The organisation’s chief objective is to help businesses and other organisations to create a safer and healthier workplace and provides tailored advice to construction companies on issues like risk assessment, noise assessment, vibration measurement, policy implementation and health and safety auditing procedures.
SAFETY GROUPS UK
Safety Groups UK was created in 1947 and mainly co-ordinates co-operation between the various organisations and working groups in the UK that function to raise both standards and awareness in health and safety matters. Safety Groups works at a grass roots level to organise seminars and conferences and to encourage SMEs in the construction sector to promote best workplace practice.