HSE is cracking down on construction sites

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have announced they’ll be conducting a UK-wide ‘blitz’ within the construction industry.

The blitz is planned to take place during the first two weeks of October 2018, and it’s expected to focus on the health and welfare of workers on construction sites.

To help ensure your business is prepared if an inspector comes knocking, we’ve put together a list of what they’ll likely be looking for, and what measures you must have in place to satisfy them.

Health

Common issues What you need to be doing
Wood dust When employees are cutting wood, make sure they’re using an adequate dust extraction tool with a HEPA filter – using the bag that came with the saw does not suffice.
Silica dust Wet cutting techniques and PPE must be used when cutting concrete, roof tiles, or any other materials containing silica.
General dust If your COSHH assessments instruct it, make sure face fit tested masks are being used. Don’t forget that as little as 1mm of stubble will seriously reduce the effectiveness of the mask.
Dermatitis – Make sure you have up-to-date COSHH assessments for cement-based products like concrete and mortar. – Have control measures in place, such as impervious gloves and/or cream. – If employees are working with cement, ensure they’re always wearing impervious wellington boots and trousers.
Musculoskeletal disorders Where necessary, make use of mechanical lifting methods – manual handling is the most common cause of over seven-day injury reported within construction.
Solvents This is frequently found in paints, thinners and glues. Make sure you have an up-to-date COSHH assessment in place and control measures (like adequate ventilations and face fit tested masks) that are being adhered to.

Welfare

Common issues What you need to be doing
Washing All facilities must be suitable and sufficient, clean, and have basins large enough for workers to wash their face, arms and forearms in. You must have clean, hot and cold (or warm) water, soap (or an equivalent means for people to clean with), towels (or, again, an equivalent of), and showers (if the work’s particularly dirty or presents the need to decontaminate).
Drinking water Unless you have a water jet, you must provide drinking water and cups.
Changing rooms If workers are required to wear special clothing, you must provide them with an area to change, along with seating and safe drying facilities.
Rest rooms You must have enough tables and seats (with backs) to accommodate the number of workers likely to use them at any one time. Workers should be provided with a means to prepare and eat their food. Boiling water should be available and, when the weather’s cold, heating should be provided.

This is just a selection of points to consider. If you’ve got any questions about any of your Health & Safety responsibilities or the HSE’s upcoming blitz, we’re here to help.

If you’re an existing client, call 0345 844 4848 to speak to our advice team; if you’re not with Citation yet, contact us to discover how we can help your business.

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