Any homeowner, landlord or property owner now have new responsibilities under Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013. The report below by the HSA (Health and Safety Authority) is a guide for property owners getting construction works done safely. It outlines when these responsibilities are relevant, what to do to ensure you are compliant and provides standard engagement forms to be completed when engaging a contractor.
The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 defines ‘client’ as a person for whom a project is carried out. The regulations place certain duties on Clients. These duties are intended to ensure that the project is designed and constructed by competent persons.
Client duties include:
- Employ competent designers and contractors to carry out the work
- Appointment in writing, before design work starts, of a competent and adequately resourced project supervisor for the design process (PSDP), as required.
- Appointment in writing, before construction work starts, of a competent and adequately resourced project supervisor for the construction process (PSCS), as required.
- Co-operate with the project supervisor and supply necessary information;
- Keep and make available the safety file (provided by the PSDP) for the completed structure. The safety file contains information on the completed structure that will be required for future maintenance or renovation .
- Provide a copy of the safety and health plan prepared by the PSDP to every person tendering for the project. In the case of projects on a domestic dwelling it is sufficient for the Client to provide the plan to the PSCS when they have been appointed.
- Notify the Authority where construction is likely to take more than 500 persons days or 30 working days.
The introduction of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 places responsibilities on homeowners, called Clients in the Regulations, who are having construction work carried out on their home.The aim of this guide is to provide practical information for homeowners as to what they need to know and do.
The project supervisor design process must be an individual or body corporate i.e. a limited company. In general, this will be a firm of architects, chartered surveyors, consulting engineers or project managers. It can also be the main contractor (e.g. in cases of design and build contracts or small projects with minimal design input). In all cases the person or company undertaking the role must have the necessary competence to carry out the relevant duties. The project supervisor design process must be appointed before design work commences. This is to ensure effectiveness in addressing and co-ordinating safety and health matters from the very early stages of a project.
What are the duties of the Project Supervisor for the Design Process (PSDP)?
The duty of the project supervisor for the design process is to ensure co-ordination of the work of designers throughout the project.
The PSDP must:
- Identify hazards arising from the design or from the technical, organisational, planning or time related aspects of the project;
- Where possible, eliminate the hazards or reduce the risks;
- Communicate necessary control measure, design assumptions or remaining risks to the PSCS so they can be dealt with in the safety and health plan;
- Ensure that the work of designers is coordinated to ensure safety;
- Organise co-operation between designers;
- Prepare a written safety and health plan for any project where construction will take more than 500 person days or 30 working days or there is a particular risk and deliver it to the client prior to tender;
- Prepare a safety file for the completed structure and give it to the client;
- Notify the Authority and the client of non-compliance with any written directions issued.
The PSDP may issue directions to designers or contractors or others.
In relation to the appointment of PSDP – can you have more than 1 PSDP assigned to a project or should there only be one?
A PSDP is appointed by the Client to oversee the coordination of the design work. The PSDP can be either a person or a company, what is important is that the appointed PSDP is able to fulfil the responsibilities of the position.
The Regulations require that there be only 1 PSDP appointed for each independent project
Under the regulations you are a designer if you are engaged in preparing drawings, particulars, specifications, calculations and bills of quantities in relation to a project.
The term designer would include:
- architects and engineers contributing to, or having overall responsibility for the design
- building services engineers designing details of fixed plant
- surveyors specifying articles or substances or drawing up specifications
- contractors carrying out design work as part of a design and build project
- anyone with authority to specify, or alter the specification or designs to be used for the structure
- designers of temporary works or specialist suppliers designing formwork and falsework
- interior designers, shop fitters and landscape architects; and
- specialist suppliers, specialist contractors or sub-contractors with design input
What are the duties of Designers?
The duties of designers are in addition to those under Section 16 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 which requires designers to ensure that the project is capable to being constructed to be safe, can be maintained safely and complies with all relevant health and safety legislation.
- Identify any hazards that their design may present during construction and subsequent maintenance;
- Where possible, eliminate the hazards or reduce the risk e.g. can roof-mounted equipment be placed at ground level or can guardrails be provided to protect workers from falling?
- Communicate necessary control measures, design assumptions or remaining risks to the PSDP so they can be dealt with in the safety and health plan;
- Co-operate with other designers, PSDP and PSCS;
- Take account of any existing safety and health plan or safety file;
- Comply with directions issued by the PSDP or PSCS;
- Where no PSDP has been appointed, inform the client that a PSDP must be appointed.
The role of the project supervisor construction stage is to manage and co-ordinate health and safety matters during the construction stage. The project supervisor construction stage is appointed before the construction work begins and remains in that position until all construction work on the project is completed.
The project supervisor appointed for the construction stage must:
- co-ordinate the identification of hazards, the elimination of the hazards or the reduction of risks during construction;
- develop the safety and health plan initially prepared by the PSDP before construction commences
- co-ordinate the implementation of the construction regulations by contractors
- organise co-operation between contractors and the provision of information
- co-ordinate the reporting of accidents to the Authority
- notify the Authority before construction commences where construction is likely to take more than 500 person days or 30 working days
- provide information to the site safety representative
- co-ordinate the checking of safe working procedures
- co-ordinate arrangements to ensure that craft, general construction workers and security workers have a Safety Awareness card, e.g. Safe Pass and a Construction Skills card where required
- co-ordinate the appointment of a site safety representative where there are more than 20 persons on site
- appoint a safety adviser where there are more than 100 on site
- provide all necessary safety file information to the PSDP
- monitor the compliance of contractors and others and take corrective action where necessary
- notify the Authority and the client of non-compliance with written directions issued.
The PSCS may issue directions to designers or contractors.
In general a Contractor means any employer whose employees carry out construction work and includes both main contractor and sub-contractor. Contractor may also include a self-employed person where such a person supplies materials and labour or labour only. In addition, a body such as a local authority may also be a contractor, if the construction work is carried out directly by employees of that body.
What are the duties of Contractors?
The contractor has significant duties relating to a wide range of issues.
A contractor must:
- co-operate with the PSCS – provide any site specific information, including relevant extracts from Safety Statement
- promptly provide the PSCS with information required for the safety file
- comply with directions of the project supervisors
- report accidents to the Authority and to the PSCS where an employee cannot perform their normal work for more than 3 days
- comply with site rules and the safety and health plan and ensure that your employees comply
- identify hazards, eliminate the hazards or reduce risks during construction
- facilitate the site safety representative
- ensure that relevant workers have a safety awareness card and a construction skills card where required
- provide workers with site specific induction
- appoint a safety officer where there are more than 20 on site or 30 employed
- consult workers with site specific induction
- monitor compliance and take corrective action