Managing construction health risks: Review
Having the right controls in place at the start of your work does not mean that they will always continue to be effective. This page gives an overview of what you need to do to review your controls and how you need to do it.
What and how
Are your controls all working properly? When were they last checked? Are they always used when needed? Is the health risk still being controlled? There are a number of things that you can do to answer these questions:
- Supervise – workers to make sure work methods are followed. Check:
Supervision and the ‘supervisor’ is a crucial, final link between planning the work and correctly carrying it out.
- workers understanding of the risks linked to their work and measures to control them - give particular attention to new, inexperienced or young people, as well as those whose first language is not English
- control measures are up to date and being properly used, maintained and monitored
- workers know how to raise concerns
- Maintain – all the controls in good working order. Ensure you:
Construction sites are harsh environments and equipment can get easily damaged. This could significantly affect its effectiveness and may even create new risks.
- regularly maintain equipment – use the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions as a guide, particularly if there are safety-critical features
- use someone who has the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to carry out the work safely
- have procedures that allow workers to report damaged or faulty equipment
- provide the proper tools for the maintenance person
- properly schedule maintenance time
- do maintenance work safely: eg isolate machines and moving parts and properly handle flammable/ explosive/ toxic materials where appropriate.
- Monitor – the controls to ensure they are effective. This might mean:
You need to monitor what you are doing to assess how effectively you are controlling risks. This can reassure you and also help identify weaknesses and any corrective action needed.
- checking controls. Make sure work methods are being used and are as effective as they should be. In some circumstances formal audits may be useful
- exposure monitoring to make sure there is adequate control;
- health surveillance to enable early detection of any harmful changes to employees health
- investigating any instances of ill health
- Act – to put right any problems you identify. Make sure you are:
The extent and detail that you will need to review your controls depends very much upon your work and the number of people you employ . There is specific information in Managing for health and safety.
- taking action on lessons learned
- revisiting plans and risk assessments to see if they need updating
Remember – ‘Control the risk, not the symptoms’. Monitoring and health surveillance programmes are not enough on their own. While they are an important part of managing health risks, the first priority is to stop people being exposed to the risk in the first place.