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HSE CONIAC HEALTH RISK MANAGEMENT GUIDE

Construction industry body provides guidance on health

The Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) advises HSE on the protection of people at work and others from hazards to health and safety within the building, civil engineering and engineering construction industries.

CONIAC has published Occupational health risk management in construction A Guide to the key issues of occupational health provision (July 2015) which has been by the CONIAC Health Risks Working Group.

The Guide offers advice on assessing the risks to health in the construction industry and the role of occupational health service provision aimed at employers, directors, health and safety professionals, safety representatives and occupational health service providers to help understand:

  • What ‘health risk management’ means;
  • Roles in managing health risks at work;
  • What you might need to do to comply;
  • When you might need an OH provider and what to expect;
  • Benefits to businesses and workers; and
  • What health surveillance is and when you need to carry it out.
CONIAC position on health
A position statement has been agreed and adopted by the CONIAC Health Risks Working Group setting the stance on managing health issues in construction:
  1. Risk – workplace ill health kills and ruins lives in the construction industry. Statistics indicate that a construction worker is at least 100 times more likely to die from a disease caused or made worse by their work as they are from a fatal accident.
  2. Synergy – managing workplace health helps employers to retain experienced and skilled workers, and it helps employees to maintain productive employment.
  3. Management – workplace ill health is preventable – it is possible and practicable to carry out construction work without causing/ill health. Risks to health can be managed by modifying the process to eliminate the risk, controlling and minimising exposure, and taking precautions to prevent adverse effects.
  4. Responsibility – everyone involved in construction has a responsibility in managing risks to health, and all parties must take ownership of their part of the process.
  5. Involvement – planning and working collaboratively will reduce risk throughout the supply chain, and at all stages of the process. Workers and their representatives must be consulted regarding the provision of occupational health services and material occupational health issues.
  6. Assessment – managing health risks is no different to managing safety risks. Assessing hazards and using a hierarchy of control measures are equally appropriate when applied to health risks.
  7. Monitoring – checking workers’ health is not a substitute for managing and controlling health risks. Monitoring should not be given priority over managing, or be confused with it.
  8. Targeting – helping workers tackle other ‘lifestyle’ risks to their health is not a substitute for managing workplace health risks.

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