Fit Out campaign - October 2005
Throughout October 05 HSE Construction Division Inspectors carried out targeted national inspections looking at the issues of low falls and good order at construction projects that are approaching completion.
We wanted to check if you were:
- Getting it right when working at height.
- Keeping your site in good order.
What did we do?
- 1379 contractors were visited
- 134 Prohibition Notices (PNs) on work at height were issued
- 36 Improvement Notices (INs) on work at height were issued
- 17 PNs on good order were issued
- 12 INs on good order were issued
What did we find?
Dealing with practical site issues to which there are simple and relatively inexpensive solutions meant that the campaign was a positive one with opportunities to improve safety management. Targeting contractors and trades that HSE may not frequently make contact with was rewarding, particularly since some discussions on site were new to a few contractors.
The number of notices on work at height tells us that some contractors are still failing to comply with their legal requirements. Work at height was a significant problem for approximately 10% of contractors visited. This number is still too high but good practices and adequate control measures were being implemented by approximately 90% of contractors visited.
We are pleased that the industry has now been made aware of the importance of good order on site. Inspectors will increasingly be taking a firm line when dealing with inadequate arrangements to maintain a site in a manner that reduces the incidence of slips and trips.
Falls and good order are part of our planned work programme for next year when we will be following a more robust line on both issues. We hope the industry has taken the Fit Out Campaign as an opportunity to improve management of both these issues to help ensure that construction workers are kept safe when at work.
Throughout February HSE Construction Division Inspectors will carry out targeted inspections looking at good order issues on construction sites and how effectively these are being managed.
What were Inspectors looking for?
If you are a principal contractor
- you should have a system for the procurement and control of contractors that includes arrangements to check the competence.
- You need to be actively monitoring the work of your subcontractors.
- Are their safety standards the same as yours?
All dutyholders need to
- identify jobs that involve work at height and ensure that appropriate precautions are in place.
- have a risk assessment in place that applies the Work at Height Regulations hierarchy
- have procedures for the selection of correct equipment and ensure that the selected equipment is actually used.
- communicate risk control measures to the workforce.
- ensure workers are competent to use the equipment that has been correctly installed/assembled.
- arrange inspection and maintenance of equipment as appropriate.
Good order on site
Plan how the site will be kept tidy.
- Traffic routes should be segregated from pedestrian routes.
- The procurement of materials should be considered (what is to be delivered, when, where it is to be stored), alongside waste control.
- Walkways and stairs should be kept free of tripping hazards such as trailing wires and loose materials. This is especially important for emergency routes.
- Work areas should be kept as clear as possible of unnecessary materials, equipment, debris and other hazards.
- 21% of accidents reported to the Electrical Contractors Association by members were caused because of a slip or trip. Good order is an issue all contractors can work together to improve.
Hierarchy of control measure when working at height:
- Avoid working at height if possible
- Use an existing safe place of work
- Provide work equipment to prevent falls
- Mitigate distance and consequences of a fall
- Instruction and training and/or other means.
For the above, collective protective measures (such as scaffolding) must be prioritised over personal protection (such as using a fall arrest harness).