There are a lot of duties that contractors are responsible for, something that can be overwhelming for many. The Safety Health and Welfare at Work Construction Regulations 2013 detail the regulations in a way to ensure safety and good health of all workers or others on a construction site. This article will look at the types of duties contractors must be aware of and capable of providing in order to meet the requirement set by law.
General Duties of Contractors
Part 3 of the Construction Regulations 2013, relates directly to contractors, looks at contractor duties, safety awareness and skills certification, and appointment of safety officers. We will break this down a bit to go over the main components to be aware of.
- Contractors must comply with all information in parts 3 through 14 of the Regulations.
- They must cooperate with the project supervisor, including offering information about safety issues, providing written information for the safety file, complying with directions, and applying principles of prevention in a consistent manner.
- Each contractor must be in possession of a safety awareness registration card and construction skills registration card.
- Any contractor with control over 20 or more people must appoint a safety officer who advises the contractor on safety issues.
General Safety Provisions
Any contractor who is responsible for a job site must take all precautions possible to ensure that the site is safe and there is no risk of injury to people at work. This covers lots of area and is important to understand as a contractor. The main areas where you are responsible for ensuring safety are listed below:
- Ensuring that emergency exits and routes are available and clear of obstruction with sights and illumination with emergency lighting, as needed.
- Doors and gates must be fitted with safety devices as appropriate for the type of door or gate. They must also be marked and operate as expected.
- Traffic routes like stairs and loading bays must be safe and easy to access in a way that safety is ensured.
- Contractors will ensure that materials and equipment are moved in a proper way to ensure safety. This includes checking that they are intrinsically stable, or if not, they are repaired.
- Proper protection to prevent injuries from falling material must be used, including the use of protective helmets.
- Lighting must be suitable and provided in a way that is appropriate.
- All potential methods should be used to prevent the possibility of electrocution of any worker.
- The area must be properly equipped with fire detection equipment and means of firefighting.
- All areas must be of sufficient are and height to allow work without risk to health or safety.
Excavations, Shafts, Earthworks, Underground Works, and Tunnels
The contractor is required to ensure that the site has precautions taken in any excavation, earthwork, or similar situations. This includes inspecting the shaft or works, supervising and executing shoring or other needed work, and choosing to end work and make adjustments when the security of the structure is at risk.
Cofferdams and Caissons
Every caisson and cofferdam must be inspected to ensure it is of good design and construction, is made from solid and sound material, is free from defect, of adequate strength, and is properly maintained. The contractor must also ensure that there is always a means for workers to reach safety if there is an inrush of materials or water.
Taking proper precautions when it comes to air that is compressed above atmospheric pressure is extremely important. A contractor will need to see that the site is safe, sound, and free of defect. In addition, they will be required to ensure all workers are fit for work and have been medically examined for this case. He or she will also need to be aware of maximum pressure, ensure workers have a place for decompression, and that working chambers have all required equipment. In addition, the proper medical and man-locks should be in place.
Contractors are responsible for ensuring any explosive to be used or used are properly stored, used, and transported at all times. They will also oversee recruiting at least one explosive supervisor, one storekeeper, and one shotfirer, all of whom are documented. All rules regarding shot firing are also up to the contractor to ensure adherence to. This includes proper management of misfires, avoiding prohibited activities, and otherwise ensuring safety while explosives are being used or in the work area.
General Health Hazards
The contractor must ensure that appropriate preventive measures are taken on the site where people may be exposed to biological, chemical, or physical hazards. Hazards mentioned in the legislation include the following:
- Any area where work takes place and the atmosphere is capable of containing a toxin, the atmosphere must be monitored and measures taken to avoid danger.
- All people working outside must be protected from influences of the atmosphere which could cause health or safety risks.
- The temperature must be monitored to be appropriate for humans to ensure safety of the workers.
- All waste is destroyed or disposed of in a manner that avoids injury to safety or health.
- No stationary internal combustion engine is used in an enclosed or confined space without safety measures, and the site is ventilated to avoid exhaust gases.
Construction Work on or Adjacent to Water
There are a few things to be aware of when it comes to working near or on the water. The first is that any transport by water must be carried out using only vessels that are properly maintained and constructed. They must also not be overloaded, with charge given to a competent person. Prevention of drowning is also essential so equipment for safety should always be available. It must also conform to all safety standards.
Transport, Earthmoving, and Materials-Handling Machinery and Locomotives
Contractors are responsible for ensuring a site with transport vehicles, earth moving machinery, or materials handing machinery provides only equipment in good working order. There must also be safe access points and routes that make the area safe for workers and pedestrians. In the case of rails, they must be properly maintained with an adequate buffer or stop on each rail ending the track. There must also always be proper clearance to avoid accidents. Drivers should be provided all safety measures to avoid injury from falling rocks or being crushed if a machine turns over.
All appropriate precautions should be taken to ensure that work is planned and undertaken under supervision of a competent individual. There must be written procedures for all aspects of demolition, including the disposal of any waste. There must also be steps taken to ensure little risk of fire, explosion, or flooding that will cause injury to workers.
For any roads being excavated or broken up, there must be proper lighting and guarding, traffic signs placed, and safe guidance for those who require it. All work must be supervised by a skilled person. If they are not available, there must be at least one person with a valid construction skills registration card for the tasks being undertaken.
Construction Site Welfare Facilities
The contractor must ensure that there is shelter for bad weather, clothing, and taking of meals. This includes proper changing rooms, washing facilities, sanitary conveniences, and accommodation areas. Pregnant and nursing mothers, as well as persona with disabilities, must be provided with proper facilities as outlined by legislation.
As you can see, there are a lot of requirements for contractors. However, knowing what they are and being aware of how to handle situations in which health and safety may be compromised is crucial. This should give a good brief of the requirements, with more information available in the actual legislation.