What you need to do

The law on construction health and safety requires action to protect those at work on site and members of the public who may be affected. The key safety and health topics which require attention are covered in these webpages.

There are a number legal requirements concerning notifications, risk assessments, safety plans and examination reports etc. that must be also produced or submitted.

Key aspects are:

What you need to know

  • The required notifications, assessments and reports etc. are necessary to support the practical steps taken to secure health and safety on site.
  • You must have systems in place to ensure that these requirements are met and that the required 'paperwork' is in order and submitted or available to Inspectors and others as required.


  • CDM projects - where a construction project is notifiable the client must give written notice of the project to HSE before the construction phase begins. However, someone else may do this on their behalf.

Risk assessments

  • General assessment - employers are required to make an assessment of the health and safety risks to which employees and others are exposed on construction sites. The significant findings must be recorded where five of more people are employed.
  • Specific assessments – certain regulations require risk assessments for specific hazards and state in more detail what is required. These include: work at height; hazardous substance (COSHH); manual handling; noise; vibration and lead.

CDM construction phase plan and health and safety file

  • Construction phase plan - the principal contractor or the contractor if they are the only contractor involved must prepare and then update the construction phase plan throughout the project. The document is designed to help plan, manage and monitor the construction work so it can be carried out in a way that secures health and safety.
  • Health and safety file -  where there is more than one contractor involved in a project the principal designer must prepare a file containing information relating to the project which is likely to be needed for health and safety purposes during any subsequent construction work.

Thorough examination reports

There are strict legal requirements concerning the thorough examination of all lifting equipment eg cranes and slings etc. Records of thorough examinations and tests must be: readily available to enforcing authorities; secure; and capable of being reproduced in written form.

Inspection reports

Excavations, scaffolds, ladders and fall arrest systems etc must all be inspected at specified times with reports prepared and retained.

Method statements

The arrangements for carrying out demolition, dismantling or structural alteration must be recorded in writing before the work begins. This is usually achieved by means of a method statement that can be generated from a risk assessment.

While not required by law, method statements are also prepared for many other construction activities and are proven to be an effective and practical way to help plan, manage and monitor construction work.

They can take account of risks identified by the risk assessment and communicate the safe system of work to those carrying it out, especially for higher-risk complex or unusual work (e.g. steel and formwork erection, demolition or the use of hazardous substances). A method statement draws together the information compiled about the various hazards and the ways in which they are to be controlled for any particular job from the conclusions of the risk assessments.

A method statement also takes account of a company's health and safety organisation and training procedures and may include arrangements to deal with serious or imminent danger.

The method statement describes in a logical sequence exactly how a job is to be carried out in a way that secures health and safety and includes all the control measures.

This will allow the job to be properly planned with the appropriate health and safety resources needed for it. It can also provide information for other contractors working at the site about any effects the work will have on them and help the principal contractor develop the construction phase plan for the project.

If a similar operation is repeated, the statement will be similar from job to job. However, if circumstances change markedly e.g. with demolition, the statement should be revised for each job.

The method statement is an effective way of providing information to employees about how they expect the work to be carried out and the precautions that should be taken. The most effective method statements often include diagrams to make it clear how work should be carried out. Checking that the working methods set out in the statement are actually put into practice on site can also be a useful monitoring tool.

When reviewing the risk assessments, information from monitoring previous jobs, accident records and investigations can help to decide if adequate precautions are being applied.

Injuries and dangerous occurrences

Death and injury accidents that occur on site must be recorded and reported to HSE in certain cases under Riddor. The same applies to specified dangerous occurrences.

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