There is much potential for the health and safety practitioner to provide vital input when projects are undertaken, both in the pre‑construction and construction phases.
This is because:
- All duty holders share health and safety responsibilities
- A health and safety file is required where there is more than one contractor involved.
Other duty holders exist, besides the clients, principal designer and principal contractor. On any construction project, there will be other designers and contractors involved, as well as workers under their supervision.
Designers must control risks identified when they are preparing their designs, and contractors must ensure that their work is carried out without risk. Workers are also responsible for their own health and safety, and must report any risks they encounter.
Everyone involved must communicate with their colleagues and co-operate to make sure that there are no risks to health and safety when a project is being undertaken.
As a health and safety practitioner, you could be working for any of the duty holders. Your input will be important, no matter what. The holder of the pivotal role of principal designer, in particular, may have little health and safety expertise and will therefore need your specialist advice.
One crucial requirement in projects involving more than one contractor is the health and safety file. Once the project has been completed, this file will contain all the information necessary for anyone subsequently carrying out work on the building to do so without risking their (and others’) health. Under CDM 2015, it’s the client’s responsibility to ensure that the file is prepared, but it falls to the principal designer to prepare, review and revise it. The input of a health and safety practitioner will be particularly useful here.