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HSE REVISITS UNSUCCESSFUL SMALL PROJECT STRATEGY

Inspectors report safety advances have not ‘trickled down’ to smaller sites  

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) represents key industry stakeholders and advises HSE on safety within the building, civil engineering and engineering construction industry.

On 16th November 2011 CONIAC will consider the HSE Small Sites Strategy that has been in operation since April 2009 and is due to end in March 2012. The strategy has targeted the “willing but uninformed” on smaller sites with a concentration on priority subjects such as work at height, welfare and asbestos etc.

Fatalities on smaller sites “not much reduced”

HSE has found that since 2005 it has become increasingly apparent that large sites have made significant steps forward in health and safety performance but these has not been mirrored on smaller sites. Fatal accident data reveal that fatal accidents occurring on smaller sites have “not reduced much”.

Small sites continue to have a disproportionate fatal accident rate and HSE Inspector feedback indicates that standards “continue to be poor with often little knowledge of current health and safety requirements/standards”. The emerging lessons are reported as including:

  • standards on many small sites remain very poor;
  • knowledge is non-existent, poor, or outdated;
  • dutyholders do not actively seek advice or use the HSE website;
  • guidance must be directive and ‘put in their hand’;
  • letters are less effective than repeat HSE visits;
  • likelihood of a visit is perceived as very low;
  • migrant worker language barriers remain an issue;
  • identifying small sites by structured means is difficult; and
  • HSE inspection alone cannot solve this issue.
Comment

HSE is seeking the support of CONIAC to continue devoting a significant amount of effort on small sites and seeking views on whether the target audience is the right one and whether the existing priorities are the correct ones.

The existing strategy is solely focused on contractors. It will be very surprising if CONIAC members do not call for an approach which places the client for smaller projects at the heart of the strategy.

An HSE Working Group reviewing CDM has reported that “two thirds of occasional clients are unaware of CDM 2007″. This lack of awareness may lay behind the finding that standards of safety on smaller sites “continue to be poor”.

There is clear HSE backed Guidance for Small, One-off and Infrequent Clients which if implemented could significantly improve standards on smaller sites.   

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2 Responses to “HSE REVISITS UNSUCCESSFUL SMALL PROJECT STRATEGY”

  1. HSE CHIEF CHALLENGES INDUSTRY ON OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] addition, a big issue for wider industry remains the poor standards found on sites run by smaller companies where the even most basic welfare facilities can still found to be absent. “I have a warning […]

  2. HSE ADVISORY GROUP TO DISCUSS REVISION OF CDM 2007 | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] The revised regulatory package will encompass consideration of the ACoP and guidance framework. A key test will be the role and value the ACoP has in improving standards on smaller projects. […]