Construction is an industry where risks and hazards are very real. According to data from the UK’s HSE agency, it’s the third most dangerous industry to work in, with figures for 2019 showing that there were 30 fatal accidents last year in UK construction alone.
Health and Safety (H&S) inspections are mandatory – and important – in almost any work setting. On a construction site they are absolutely vital. Mismanagement and shortcomings can not only result in tragic injuries or loss of life, but also in financially crippling lawsuits.
Expert estimates put the cost of H&S failings at over UK£1bn (€1.2bn) each year. And considering that the UK statistically outperforms most other countries for construction site safety, it is fair to say that improved H&S standards would provide a huge fiscal boost to global construction as a whole.
So, there are plenty of incentives for getting H&S management right, but when should H&S inspections be carried out and how often?
The truth is, H&S should be top of mind for every stakeholder at every stage of any project. It must be considered and planned from the building design phase, right through the construction phase and beyond. Contractors should be empowered by their employers to understand the risks they are exposed to and trained to work safely at all times.
Before construction begins, responsibility falls upon the principal contractor to ensure that risk assessments are conducted, a construction phase plan is implemented and (depending on the scale of the project) relevant authorities have been notified of the works. Although not mandatory, it is also good practice to implement method statements which are proven to be effective in helping to plan, manage and monitor construction safety.
Because, by their very nature, construction sites constantly change, risk assessments and construction phase plans must be constantly monitored and updated as the project progresses.
No two construction projects are the same. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to H&S. The frequency of H&S inspections will depend to some extent on the complexity of the project and the specific risks associated with that project.
At the very least, H&S inspections should be conducted on a weekly basis, although it is far more common for inspections to be required daily. Inspections not only allow site managers to assess and rectify dangers to keep workers safe, they also provide formal evidence of due diligence in the event of something going wrong.
With all the inherent dangers of construction, and the diverse idiosyncratic nature of individual projects, managing H&S effectively is a challenge. There is much to consider and it can be all too easy to overlook something crucial. Site managers bear the brunt of the responsibility but, with so many other duties, can be distracted by approaching deadlines, billowing budgets and client demands. Everchanging regulations and unprecedented ‘curveballs’ (there can be lots of those in construction!) serve to make effective H&S management even more complicated.
That’s where Zutec comes in handy. With the Zutec Health and Safety module, digitised Health & Safety registers keep your inspections on track, your site compliant and your workers safe. Data is stored safely in a centralised cloud for easy access and sharing. Progress tracking and notifications help your team stay on top of their H&S obligations and simple functionality make inspections quick and painless.
Adapt to new regulations promptly, reduce your administrative overheads and achieve better quality outcomes with Zutec Health and Safety.