Health and Safety in Construction

The Safety, Health and Welfare Act 2005 is the main legislation that addresses the health and safety of people in the workplace. The law applies to yourself and your employees, both fixed-term and temporary.

In 2006 and 2013, the Safety Health and Welfare regulation was developed upon. The amended legislation sets out duties and duty holders. It also specifies requirements for safety provisions for all construction work including provisions for exposure to asbestos. 

This piece explores health and safety in the construction industry. It also offers some solutions for ensuring the health and safety of your workers.

Employers responsibilities

You have a duty of care for your employee’s health and safety. You must remember to consult your workers or their representatives on issues relating to their health and safety. 

As detailed in the Safety, Health and Welfare at work (General Application) Regulation 2007, you’re required to:

• Provide and maintain a safe working environment where safe plant and equipment are in use.
• Conduct assessments to prevent risks from using any article or substance and from extensive exposure to vibration, noise and any other physical agents.
• Prevent improper behaviour likely to put the welfare of other employees at risk.
• Offer free health and safety training and instructions to all employees.
• Provide protective clothing and equipment to all staff members.
• Assess any risks to employees as a result of any work activity from which they were exposed to dust arising from asbestos or materials containing asbestos. 

It’s worth remembering, you’re also expected to appoint a safety office. This person will ensure that workers are following the policies and regulations in place to secure their safety. 

Employees responsibilities

Under Section 13 of the same Act, employees also have a duty of care to themselves and their colleagues. These duties include:

• Assuming responsibility for protecting the health and safety of themselves and other people in the workplace. 
• To avoid behaviour that could endanger the wellbeing of staff members in the workplace. 
• Avoiding the influence of drugs and alcohol while at work.
• Being present for all assessments (including medical) deemed necessary by the employer. 
• To report any issues including defects at work or to work equipment that could be considered a risk to health and safety. 

Health and safety training for construction workers

You’ve heard the saying ‘the prevention is better than the cure’.

Well, this is certainly the case for construction workers. They’re required to have the skills, knowledge, training and experience to do the job they’ve been employed to do. 

It’s always better to invest in training employees to use work equipment and recognise risks around the workplace as opposed to spending more money dealing with negligence claims at an employment tribunal.

Manual Handling training: This teaches employees everything they need to know about manoeuvring loads safely. It’s worth noting that accidents aren’t just confined to construction work so you can offer manual handling training manual handling to staff members in any niche.

Safe Pass trainingThe aim of this course is to ensure all construction workers have a basic knowledge of health and safety. It also allows them to be able to work on construction sites without placing themselves or other people at risk.

Mental Health in construction

Mental health is an important issue facing the construction industry today. Research from theOffice of National Statistics (ONS)found that male construction workers had the greatest risk of suicides at 3.7 times above the national average. 

According to an expert from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), mental health in a silent epidemic in the industry. A common trait among employers is to focus more on physical detriments like Musculoskeletal disorders as opposed to mental issues like work-related stress, depression, anxiety and more.

With this in mind, it’s important to promote positive mental health amongst your workers. Consider creating mental wellbeing policies that outline your company’s commitment to your employees’ mental health. 

Final note

In accordance with your duty of care, you’re required to record all accidents that occur in the workplace. You must also report all accidents that result in an employee missing work for three consecutive days.

The Health and Safety Authority monitors and enforces all regulations involving the health and safety of your employees. They provide guidance and training on workplace safety to employers and employees alike.

For more information on a Manual Handling and Safepass Training Course contact Leona at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 046 9022535. 

See National Training Solutions June Schedule for our extensive range of training courses in Health and Safety in Construction.