Managing health risks in Construction

Managing health risks is no different to managing safety risks. Whilst there has been a significant reduction in fatalities over the last 40 years in the construction industry, there were an estimated 76,000 total cases of work related health of which 31,0000 were new cases.

In a high risk industry such as Construction, it is important to know how to act fast and have a robust programme with the right controls. We break down the HSE 3-step approach in three easy steps.

Firstly, you need to establish who does what in order for any structure to work both in terms of hierarchy and speed of response.

  • Clients - Need to ensure that suitable arrangements are in place for managing health risks during construction.
  • Designers - Identify and eliminate health hazards where possible, and reduce remaining risks.
  • CDM Co-Ordinators - Have a key advisory role to Clients regarding health risk assessment.
  • Lead Contractors - Strategy planning to manage occupational health risks.
  • Contractors - Occcupational health management for any risks your workers may be exposed to.
  • Workers - Self-awareness and responsibility towards the key health and safety issues at hand and co-operation with others.

Once roles and responsibilities have been estabished, a 3 step approach to managing health risks can be implemented.

Step 1 - Assess

Health risks in construction can range widely so it is impoortant to have a clear set of steps to planning:

  • Plan - An overall strategy.
  • Identify - Health hazards linked to work.
  • Assess - Hazard Significance.
  • Involve - Your workers in managing health risks.

Step 2 - Control

Planning is simply one element of manging health risks, setting controls allow for all involved parties to act on them:

  • Prevent - Conduct risk assessments before the work begins.
  • Control - Place controls on any remaining risks identified.
  • Train - Educating workers ahead of the project minimises risk in advance and allows for clear understanding on the action and steps needed throughout the work.

Step 3 - Review

It may be that all the right controls and actions have been set to ensure health risks are being managed. However, making sure that they are working is also key to success:

  • Supervise - Workers need to be managed and a clear hierarchy established.
  • Maintain - Setting and constantly maintaining conrols to ensure all steps are followed.
  • Monitor - Measuring and monitoring controls ensures they remain effective.
  • Act - Setting actions and responding to problems allows for corrective and preventative measures to be set to fix the problem.

Accountability is one of the key messages in managing health risks in such a high risk industry. CDM projects where there are large numbers of third party contractors can often carry many health and safety risks that require a planned approach from the very start.

How can Airsweb Help?

NGF Europe achieved great success by having a planned approach including the Airsweb Permit to Work solution as part of their management and delivery of a large CDM project at Lea Green.

With software solutions available for accident and incident, risk assessment, and action tracking, Airsweb work with you as your software partner in QHSE to build a solution that measures the overall success of the 3 step guide as set down by HSE.

Contact us today on 0151 289 6811 or email info@airsweb.com and let us deliver software solutions that make your QHSE programme deliver the results you need.

Lee Davies

 

Sources 

http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/managing-essentials/managing-essentials.htm

http://www.hse.gov.uk/Statistics/industry/construction/index.htm

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