Be proactive with your construction health and safety inspections

Figures published by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that construction is still one of the most dangerous industries in the UK. Although there’s been a general downward trend in accidents and fatalities over the last 20 years, an average of 30 fatal and 4,872 non-fatal injuries were reported by employers under RIDDOR in 2018/19.¹ Undertaking construction health and safety inspections on a regular basis, therefore, is crucial to reduce risk.

They protect workers, help to reduce the inherent dangers of the industry, and avoid unwanted attention from HSE. Naturally, construction site incidents have devastating and far-reaching effects on those involved, their family and friends, and can leave lives shattered and irreparable.

They also have implications for your business.

Fines and potential prosecution

The severe financial penalties and potential prosecution that accompany serious health and safety breaches can be devastating for your business, damaging your reputation and reducing the chances of securing contracts in the future.

So what do you need to consider with regard to construction health and safety inspections, and how can you be proactive? Let’s look first at how the Health and Safety Executive get involved.

HSE Fee for Intervention Scheme (FFI)

The Health and Safety Executive’s Fee for Intervention scheme could affect you if you’re a duty holder and HSE are the enforcing authority. Essentially, you’ll be liable to pay HSE for their time and assistance in remedying the problem if they discover a breach during one of their construction health and safety inspections.

Their current costs are £154 per hour, and you may have to cover their time in relation to:

  • The inspection itself
  • Investigation into a breach
  • Administration/office work
  • Issue of an official letter
  • The time taken to build a case/prosecution
  • Reporting the breach on their website

If you’re proactive in arranging your own health and safety inspections with a reliable consultancy, however, you could save money whilst also staying on top of health and safety obligations as a construction business.

What does a construction health and safety inspection involve?

These are just some of the areas covered by professional construction health and safety inspections:

  • Suitability of personal protective equipment
  • General observations of the site
  • Onsite activities
  • Assessment of incident and accident procedures
  • Suitability of scaffolding, onsite signage, and first aid facilities
  • Adequacy of welfare facilities
  • Inspection of site documentation
  • Assessment of onsite security
  • Audit of plant, machinery, and equipment
  • Trip and fall safety systems

A full report should be provided along with photographic evidence to back up any findings, and recommendations made if any breaches or other issues are identified.

Acorn Health and Safety is a UK-wide health and safety consultancy, offering a range of professional services including construction health and safety inspections and audits. We offer fixed price quotes within one working day, and a full report within 48 hours of an inspection. Please call one of our fully qualified and highly experienced consultants to find out more, or obtain your quote online.

Posted in

Neil Munro