Health enforcement on construction sites to be increased

Following an exclusive interview with Health and Safety at Work Magazine, the Health & Safety Executive’s Construction Chief Inspector Heather Bryant announced that HSE construction inspectors will take more enforcement action on builders’ failure to separate workers from health hazards.

She added that the construction industry had “lost its way” in compliance with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations and that the HSE will be pressing employers to do more to safeguard workers against exposure to asbestos, dust and excessive noise.

Heather Bryant said: “We will be pushing on asbestos, we will be going back to basics on COSHH and the hierarchy of control. Health will be at the front of our inspectors’ minds and we will be challenging organisations to think health first”.

It was also confirmed that the replacement for the Construction (Design and Management) (CDM) Regulations 2007 is not expected to come into force until April 2015. The consultation document for the new regulations will be issued in February or March.

Bryant admitted the proposals to remove the requirement to appoint a CDM coordinator to ensure good communication on safety issues between the parties in larger projects was making some people in the industry “rather nervous”, but stressed that all the parties’ legal duties to maintain safe sites would remain unchanged.

The new guidance is likely to include a radically stripped down version of the approved code of practice that accompanies CDM.

The full interview is available online at healthandsafetyatwork.com.