Construction site leaders are being urged to get their designers involved in health and safety at the earliest possible stage.
Balfour Beatty’s health, safety and environmental manager Dougie Smith says project designers have a key role to play in bringing builders’ safety into consideration throughout the planning stage.
This will help project leaders be prepared for likely safety and health issues from the formative planning stages, he says.
He wants principal designers to take on board contractors’ advice in a project’s design phase if possible.
New rules introduced last April place more onus on designers. The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) calls on designers to take every “reasonable step” in helping all project employees to abide by the rules.
Don’t fear new rules
Mr Smith urges Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) members not to be afraid of the new rules.
He told the North-East Scotland branch that the sector’s accident rates have fallen. He says there is also a greater concentration on occupational health.
It is key that building project professionals know about the knock-on effect of the new CDM rules, he says. The message is that the regulations must be complied with, not feared.
New regulations focus on designers
While the new regulations are building industry-specific, they also pertain to other industries.
Last year’s CDM rules supersede ones issued eight years earlier. They call on project principal designers to oversee pre-building phases.
IOSH North Scotland branch chair Donald Macfarlane says the building industry is traditionally one which brings many health and safety dangers. But there are steps workers and employers can take to ensure they are protected, he went on.
He called Mr Smith’s talk “very interesting”, adding that safety and health should be central to everything people at work do.
Date Published: February 29, 2016
Author: Jonathan Brown