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HEALTH AND SAFETY IN PUBLIC SECTOR PROCUREMENT

Report concludes ‘more could be done’ by public sector construction clients

HSE has published the results of a study which examined health and safety issues in public sector construction procurement.

The broad aim of the research was to build on earlier research undertaken by Davis Langdon (2007), to provide a sound evidence base on which HSE could design targeted interventions to improve construction health and safety through improved public sector procurement practices.

The results indicate that between the initial survey and the current research there appears to be have been “little significant improvement in terms of how public sector client’s discharge their health and safety obligations during the procurement of construction projects”.

The conclusions, drawn from the evidence of the research, suggest that while some public sector clients perform reasonably well in terms of meeting their health and safety obligations during the procurement of construction, there remains more that could be done.

Report conclusions

“In the intervening years between the initial survey (2006), concerning health and safety in public sector construction procurement, and the current research there appears to be have been no significant improvement in terms of public sector client’s discharging their health and safety obligations during the procurement of construction projects.

The conclusions, drawn from the evidence of the research, suggest that while some public sector clients perform reasonably well in terms of meeting their health and safety obligations during the procurement of construction, there remains more that could be done.

More specifically, public clients could do more during the procurement of construction, to:

  • Consider procurement routes other than the more traditional approaches;
  • Appoint contractors earlier in the procurement process to allow them greater influence on design decisions that may impact health and safety, this is likely to be a function of the procurement method used;
  • Consider the management of health and safety risks more highly when selecting the procurement method;
  • Allow the principal contractor more time for planning and preparation prior to construction work starting on-site;
  • Make more use of pre-qualification schemes when attempting to identify potential contractors for projects;
  • Make it a contractual requirement that that the principal contractor was registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme (or some other suitable scheme);
  • Make it a contractual requirement that the principal contractors workforce was registered with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (or some other suitable scheme);
  • Require the lead designer and CDMc to provide information to demonstrate their health and safety record;
  • Provide pre-construction health and safety information earlier in the procurement process to make a significant impact on designing out health and safety hazards;
  • Report data collected on health and safety performance to OGC; and
  • Become more aware of OGC guidance (specifically AE-10 and Common Minimum Standards).

On a more positive note, the research indicates that the revised CDM Regulations (2007) have generally been well received by clients, although it remains to be seen if the revised guidance has a significant impact on health and safety in public sector construction procurement.”

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