The adage, “failing to plan is planning to fail,” rings true when it pertains to construction health and safety. What, exactly, is this document, and why is it so important?
What Is It?
A construction health and safety plan is the document detailing plans and measures for workplace safety during the entire construction process. Here, the roles and responsibilities of various employees are detailed, along with essential information, such as the emergency evacuation plan. This document must align with the relevant regulations and is likely to change during the lifespan of the project. Since the health and safety plan must be continuously reviewed and updated, it will undergo countless iterations during the span of the most significant construction projects.
The construction health and safety plan will cover all aspects of safety, ranging from safety induction and training to inspection rosters and control measures. Here, roles are assigned to specific people – a step taken to ensure that the relevant tasks are correctly completed.
Why Is It Important?
When responsibilities are not clearly outlined and communicated, the relevant tasks will be performed ad-hoc or not at all. When safety-related duties are not fulfilled, risks remain unmitigated, and employees suffer to bear the burden of an unsafe working environment. At best, this will affect productivity and morale. At worst, this could lead to catastrophic, fatal incidents.
Who Writes This Plan?
Writing a health and safety plan is a collaborative effort between various stakeholders, but the primary responsibility rests with the health and safety practitioner. This person could either be employed with the company on a full-time basis or an external consultant. Here, the arrangement mostly depends on the size of the construction company. Smaller companies usually find it more cost-effective to hire a health and safety specialist on consultation.
The health and safety specialist would collaborate with site engineers and possibly even construction supervisors to determine the tasks that must be carried out on the job site during the project. Having a thorough knowledge of the working conditions and required tasks allows for proper planning and risk mitigation.
Where Can I Get Help?
Since health and safety play such a crucial role in the success of a construction project, it is essential to prepare a complete health and safety plan. To this end, it is wise to consult with a local health and safety specialist. Regulations differ slightly between regions, and a local specialist would be well acquainted with the details of regional rules. Resources and examples of health and safety plans are also available online – these are a good starting point. Always ensure that a qualified professional has the last say on any construction health and safety plan. This step ensures the safety of employees and minimizes the risk to the company.