Staying Safe on Construction Sites: Everything You Need to Know About Construction Site Regulations
- 1.1 Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulation 2005
- 1.2 2. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
- 1.3 3. Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012
- 1.4 4. Working at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR)
- 1.5 5. Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005
Construction sites are dangerous workplaces, perhaps among the most dangerous and demanding workplaces. With such harsh working conditions, it is safe to assume that construction sites are home to some of the major hazards that can affect the health and safety of the employers, employees, and public members in the vicinity.
Fire hazards, electrical hazards, falls from height, chemical hazards, and being struck by workplace equipment and machinery are some of the major hazards found in construction sites. With the presence of such dangerous hazards, the government has released regulations that dictate laws regarding how to maintain safety while working at construction sites. Making employers or responsible persons legally required to take proactive measures to mitigate the hazards and assure their compliance with construction site regulations.
Construction site regulations play a crucial role in ensuring your safety and well-being and that of your team. The employers and employees are legally required to abide by all the health and safety regulations.
In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most popular and major construction site regulations and provide you with profound ways on how you, as a construction site employer, can assure your compliance with the law.
Top Construction Site Regulations
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulation 2005
The COSHH regulations are your trusty companion when it comes to handling hazardous substances on construction sites. COSHH 2005 dictates laws regarding the use and handling of chemical hazards in the workplace. The use of chemicals and hazardous materials are common in construction site operation. With that, the COSHH implies legal duties on employers on how they can ensure the safety of their workers while being exposed to such hazardous substances. From corrosive chemicals to toxic fumes, these regulations provide essential guidelines.
COSHH regulations require employers to carry out a risk assessment in their workplace. Risk assessment is a process that allows employers to identify workplace hazards and help them take control measures to reduce these hazards. Similarly, by conducting a COSHH risk assessment, an employer can address all the hazards related to hazardous substances in the workplace and take proactive measures to eliminate these hazards. Remember to conduct thorough risk assessments, implement control measures, and regularly monitor hazardous substances. By doing so, you’ll protect yourself and your team from potential health risks.
2. Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)
PUWER regulations dictate laws regarding safety related to workplace equipment. Construction sites are known for using heavy and huge workplace machinery and equipment daily. These machineries and equipment can pose a threat to the operator and people in its vicinity.
Construction site workers are known for operating equipment like abrasive wheels, drills, vehicles, and another workplace equipment that can be very hazardous if not handled safely. Accidents, including workplace equipment and machinery, can be extremely dangerous, causing serious injuries and, in some cases, fatalities.
Therefore, the PUWER regulation sets out various health and safety requirements, which in turn place legal duties on the shoulders of the employer, making them legally responsible for taking appropriate safety measures in the workplace to eliminate hazards involving workplace equipment.
Employers are legally responsible for frequently inspecting and maintaining their workplace machinery and equipment to ensure that it functions safely and efficiently. This, in turn, helps reduce the downtime, which is loss of time due to equipment or machine not working properly when needed. Additionally, employers should only allow trained and competent workers to operate machinery and equipment in the workplace, as it helps in reducing accidents and allows smooth operations. Workers handling workplace equipment and machines like abrasive wheels, drills, dozers, and other vehicles should undergo training like abrasive wheels online training, equipment training, and construction site vehicle training to ensure that they remain safe while working with such dangerous equipment.
3. Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012
Asbestos poses a serious threat to the health of a person when inhaled. Asbestos, commonly found in construction sites, especially older ones, is a dangerous and soft fibre that can seep into one’s lungs when inhaled and cause respiratory problems. Asbestos can seriously harm a person’s health. Therefore, while encountering an asbestos-containing material (ACM), workers must ensure their safety and safely dispose of it without inhaling it. The Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 dictates laws regarding the safety against asbestos exposure.
Employers must take control measures to ensure their workers remain safe when exposed to asbestos. Conducting a risk assessment can be an effective way to fight against asbestos, allowing you to identify ACM and take necessary steps and measures to properly dispose of it. Identifying, assessing, and managing asbestos risks on construction sites is essential. Safely handle, remove, and dispose of asbestos-containing materials following the regulations. By doing so, you protect yourself, your colleagues, and the environment from the dangers associated with asbestos exposure.
4. Working at Height Regulations 2005 (WAHR)
When it comes to working at height, safety is non-negotiable. Working at height is a standard task in most construction sites. With workers performing work at height in their daily lives. However, working at height can seriously threaten one’s health if proper safety measures aren’t implemented before the task. Falls from heights can result in a person sustaining major injuries and even falling to their death. Therefore, the WAHR dictates laws regarding safety while working at heights. Making it a legal responsibility for employers to take effective measures to ensure the safety of their workers when working at height.
WAHR aims to prevent falls and protect you and your staff. Performing a construction risk assessment before any work at height would allow you to understand hazards associated with that work, helping you evaluate control measures to reduce the threat of falling from heights. Conducting a risk assessment at a construction site can be a challenging and daunting task, therefore make sure that you have taken the appropriate construction risk assessment training to learn on how to effectively carry out a risk assessment in your workplace. Additionally, employers are required to provide appropriate training to their workers. A trained and certified worker would be able to conduct working at height operations more smoothly while ensuring their safety. Employers should also provide their workers adequate personal protective equipment such as harnesses and lanyards, helmets, grip shoes and gloves to ensure that they remain safe. Implementing these measures allows you to confidently reach new heights without compromising safety.
5. Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005
Construction sites can be noisy environments, with numerous operations taking place that requires the use of heavy machinery and equipment. These machines and equipment generate high levels of noise that can damage the operator’s hearing and those in the surroundings. Studies show that those working at construction sites are at a higher risk of damaging their hearing. The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 emphasizes methods to reduce excessive noise exposure.
An employer is required to conduct a noise risk assessment, implement control measures, and provide appropriate hearing protection. By taking these steps, you’ll protect your hearing and create a more conducive work environment for yourself and your team.
Safety is the foundation of success in the construction industry. By understanding and adhering to the essential construction site regulations, you can ensure a secure working environment for yourself and your team. From handling hazardous substances and coordinating projects to using work equipment and managing asbestos, these regulations empower you to make safety a priority. So, as you embark on your construction endeavours, remember to stay informed, implement best practices, and champion a safety culture. Together, let’s build a brighter, safer future on construction sites!