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3 Health & Safety Regulations Every Contractor Needs

3 Health & Safety Regulations Every Contractor Needs

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If you are going to start your own construction business, one thing you will need to pay attention to is the implementation of health and safety regulations. Demand for construction workers just hit a 20-year high, however, this also means that more workers are being exposed to dangers than ever before. The number of deaths in construction reached a five-year high in 2020 and with a focus on increasing the adherence of health and safety rules in the construction industry, it is now more critical than ever before for contractors to become familiar with the key HSE regulations needed on each site to ensure their construction workers’ safety.

The Manual Handling Operations Regulations

Amended in 2002, The Manual Handling Operations Regulation stipulates that an employer must ensure that their workers are working in the safest conditions possible. This is particularly applicable to construction sites, where there can be multiple hazards. According to the law, employers have a duty to protect their employees from the “risk of injury and ill health from hazardous manual handling tasks in the workplace”.

Along with ensuring work conditions are safe, employers are also required to ensure their employees are adequately trained in manual handling techniques. To help with this, contractors can rely on a manual handling risk assessment using the TILE evaluation technique. Other regulations that are connected to this include the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER) and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER).

The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations

Another regulation that has become particularly important in the construction industry recently is The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases, and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations. Legally, the regulations state that an employer or individual in control of work premises is required to report and record specific workplace incidents.

According to Regulation 4 of RIGGOR, some of the specified incidents include fractures, amputations, loss of consciousness from head injuries, and any crash injury to the body or head. If a worker is unable to work for 7 days or more, the incident must also be reported. Similarly, in the US, contractors are required with the equivalent regulation OSHA’s 29 CFR 1904 Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries regulations. One difference between the 2: OSHA does not require reporting of near hit and miss incidents like RIGGOR does but does require all injuries, even minor ones, to be recorded. It is hoped that this can help to tackle OSHA’s 4 Hazards in construction and serve as a basis of evidence in wrongful death or injury claims.

The Confined Spaces in Construction Regulation

The construction industry was a main focal point when the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) was drafting the OSH Act in 1970. The confined spaces in construction regulation refers to spaces like manholes and crawl spaces which can be difficult to exit in emergency situations. The limitations of such workspaces were addressed in the 2015 ruling of Confined Spaces in Construction and required employers to evaluate spaces as permit-required confined spaces. OSHA has also published guidelines on permit-required confined spaces.

It is also worth noting that continuous training for construction workers remains paramount to addressing the health and safety concerns in the industry. Keeping workers safe not only protects construction firms from litigation but provides the benefit of lower turnovers, higher productivity rates, and greater employee wellbeing. With such benefits outweighing the costs, there is no reason not to double down on efforts to get health and safety right in the construction workplace.

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