Risk Assessments – Legal Requirements for Construction Company Owners

Risk Assessments – Legal Requirements for Construction Company Owners

30th May 2019

As a construction company owner, you’re sure to be aware that carrying out a risk assessment before the commencement of any building work is a legal requirement.  This is the case for all employers, not just those in the construction industry and the regulations state that any employer who employs more than 5 workers must make a record of the following:

  1. The significant findings of the assessment; and
  2. Any group of employees identified by it as being especially at risk.

Even with fewer than 5 employees, you are required to keep a written record of your risk assessment so that it can be provided to clients and other stakeholders and pass on the findings to your employees.

A written record is a useful method of demonstrating that a risk assessment has been undertaken as you will need this for health and safety accreditations and for pre-qualification questionnaires in high risk industries like construction.

The legislation dealing with risk assessments is the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) which require that every employer should make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the following:

  1. The risks to the health and safety of employees to which they are exposed whilst they are at work; and
  2. The risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of (or in connection with) the conduct by him of his undertaking.

With so many construction companies here in the UK being self-employed builders, it’s vital to know that all self-employed persons should make a suitable and sufficient assessment of:

  1. The risks to his own health and safety to which he is exposed whilst at work; and
  2. The risks to the health and safety of any persons not in his employment, arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him or his undertaking.

Any work you carry out needs a risk assessment – this means that if you start any new process or activity that has not been risk assessed, you will need to assess the risks involved and identify where controls are needed before beginning the task.  You are responsible for controlling the risks in your workplace which means that you should think about what type of harm may be caused to people and ascertain whether you are taking reasonable measures to prevent such harm. 

When the type of work activity changes, or the site location changes, or a new process is being used, a new risk assessment will be required.  This means that a risk assessment should be undertaken when:

  1. Work activity changes
  2. A new process is being used
  3. Work is being undertaken in a new environment with new hazards and other challenges
  4. New technology is adopted and used
  5. New materials or substances are being used.

In some cases, some of the hazards and risks may be been eliminated, although new risks may have been introduced and not yet assessed.  Some of the risks identified in a previous risk assessment may no longer be relevant.

Next week we’ll have some advice on the type of changes which mean that a new risk assessment is required.  Don’t miss out on this vital information, follow us on Facebook or Twitter so you get a notification when it’s published.