Managing construction health risks: Assess

You cannot properly control construction health risks without first having clear plans. This page gives an overview of what you need to do and how you need to do it.

What and how

Think about the health risks you create and the steps you need to take to manage them before you start work. This means:

  • Plan – your overall strategy for managing construction health risks. Consider:
    • where you are now and where you need to be
    • what you want to achieve, who will be responsible and how you will achieve your aims
    • how you will measure performance
    • who shares your sites and how you will co-ordinate with them

The extent and detail of this plan depends very much upon the work you do and the number of people you employ. Detailed or complex planning is not needed for a small company but may be more appropriate for a larger organisation.

  • Identify – the health hazards linked to your work. Think about:
    • the tasks involved in your work
    • the key health hazards linked to these tasks
    • who might be affected by these hazards

Common health hazards affecting construction workers include asbestos, construction dust overview, lifting and carrying, noise, vibration, cement and lead. Other health risks can be found in the A – Z topic list.

  • Assess – the significance of these hazards to the health of those affected. Consider;
    • the chance of somebody being harmed by the hazard
    • how serious the harm could be

Information on assessing specific hazards can be found in the key topic areas; Cancer in Construction, Controlling Hazardous Substances overview and Controlling Physical Risks.There is more general information in Health and safety basics for your business .

  • Involve – workers in managing health risks. It is not enough to simply tell workers that something is wrong or a risk. They can help to:
    • identify joint solutions to problems
    • develop a positive culture where health risks are managed effectively

A Leadership and Worker Involvement Toolkit has been developed by the construction industry to help contractors and managers in these areas. More general information about involving workers on health issues is also available.

  • Remember – 'Manage risk, not lifestyles'. The law requires you to take steps to prevent or adequately control health risks. Helping workers tackle wellbeing issues like smoking or diet may be beneficial but is not a substitute for this.

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Updated 2022-11-01