Site Risks II

Health hazards

A contractor responsible for a construction site, where persons are liable to be exposed to any chemical, physical or biological hazard to such an extent as is liable to be dangerous to health, must ensure that appropriate preventive measures are taken on the site against that exposure.

The preventive measures shall comprise as far as reasonably practicable, the replacement of a hazardous substance by a harmless or less hazardous substance, technical measures applied to the plant, machinery, equipment or process, where it is not possible to comply with these requirements, other effective measures, including the use of personal protective equipment and protective clothing.

Where persons at work on a construction site are required to enter any area where the atmosphere is liable to contain a toxic or harmful substance, or in which there may be an oxygen deficiency or a flammable atmosphere, the confined atmosphere must be monitored, and adequate measures must be taken to guard against danger.

A person at work must not in any circumstances be exposed to a high-risk confined space unless observed at all times from outside and all appropriate precautions must be taken to ensure that he or she can be assisted effectively and immediately.


Ventilation

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that persons working outdoors are protected against atmospheric influences which could affect their safety and health.  A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure that

  • that steps are taken to ensure that there is sufficient fresh air provided having regard to the working methods used and the physical demands placed on the persons at work,
  • if a forced ventilation system is used, it is maintained in working order and must not expose persons at work to draughts which are harmful to health, and
  • any breakdown in a forced ventilation system is indicated by a control system, if necessary for the health of persons at work.

In indoor workstations on construction sites the relevant contractor must ensure that if air conditioning or mechanical ventilation installations are used, they operate in such a way that persons at work are not exposed to draughts which cause discomfort, and any deposit or dirt likely to create an immediate danger to the health of persons at work by polluting the atmosphere is removed without delay.


Temperature / Waste

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that during working hours, the temperature is appropriate for human beings, having regard to the working methods used and the physical demands placed on the persons at work, and in indoor workstations on the site

  • the temperature in rest areas, rooms for duty staff, sanitary facilities, canteens and first-aid rooms is appropriate to the particular purpose of such areas, and
  • windows, skylights and glass partitions allow excessive effects of sunlight to be avoided, having regard to the nature of the work and use of the room.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure that waste in respect of the site is not destroyed, or otherwise disposed of in a manner liable to be injurious to safety and health.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure that no stationary internal combustion engine is used on the site in any enclosed or confined place unless specific provision is made for conducting the exhaust gases from the engine into the open air, or the site is adequately ventilated so as to prevent danger to health from the exhaust gases.


Adjoining Water I

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that when any person at work is conveyed to or from any place of work on water, proper measures are taken to provide for the person’s safe transport, and vessels used to convey persons as described above are of suitable construction, properly maintained, in the charge of a competent person, and not overcrowded or overloaded.

A contractor responsible for a construction site shall ensure that where, on or adjacent to the site, there is water into which a person, in the course of his or her work, is liable to fall with risk of drowning suitable rescue equipment is provided and kept in an efficient state, ready for use,  arrangements are made for the prompt rescue of any such person who is in danger of drowning, and  personal flotation devices conforming to European Norm (EN) or equivalent standards, as appropriate, are provided and worn at all times on the site.


Adjoining Water II

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that personal flotation devices provided are properly maintained, checked before each use, inspected in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and subjected to a thorough examination every 12 months.

On the day of a required inspection or examination, the person who carries out the inspection or examination, as the case may be, must make a report of the results in an approved form, and sign the report.

Where, on a construction site, there is a risk of a fall from the edge of adjacent land or from a structure adjacent to or above the water or a floating stage, the relevant contractor must ensure that secure fencing is provided near the edge to prevent such a fall. To the extent necessary for the access of persons or the movement of materials, the above does not apply if appropriate precautions are taken, so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure the safety and health of persons.


Vehicle Safety

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that, if used for the purposes of construction work, all transport vehicles, earth-moving machinery, materials handling machinery, are of good design and construction taking into account as far as possible ergonomic principles are maintained in good working order, are properly used, are not operated otherwise than by a competent person who has attained the age of 18 years, unless operation is by a person for the purpose of his or her training under the supervision and direction of a competent person, and  are provided with appropriate devices that, where the visibility of any operator is restricted remedy the hazards arising from inadequate direct vision.

On all construction sites on which transport vehicles, earth-moving or materials-handling machinery or locomotives are used, the project supervisor for the construction stage must ensure that safe and suitable access ways are provided for them, and traffic and pedestrian routes are so organised and controlled, including, where appropriate, by the provision of a traffic and pedestrian management plan, as to secure their safe operation.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site in connection with the erection, installation, working or use of any line of rails on which any locomotive, truck, wagon or rolling stock moves, that there is adequate clearance so that persons are not likely to be crushed or trapped by any locomotive, truck, wagon or rolling stock, or by any part of a load on any locomotive, truck, wagon or rolling stock.

Where it is not practicable to provide clearance in accordance with the above requirement, the relevant contractor must provide or cause to be provided such suitable arrangements as are necessary to ensure that persons at work are not exposed to unnecessary risks.


Vehicles

No person at work on a construction site shall ride, and no person supervising a person at work on a construction site shall require or permit another person to ride, on the buffer, step, running board or any other insecure position on any transport vehicle, earthmoving or materials-handling machinery, or locomotive, truck, wagon or rolling stock.

A person at work on a construction site shall ride only on the part of any transport vehicle, earthmoving or materials-handling machinery, or locomotive, truck, waggon or rolling stock designed and intended for that purpose.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure that adequate measures are taken so as to prevent any vehicle or machinery on the site from overturning or overrunning the edge of an excavation, shaft, embankment or earthwork, and particularly in circumstances when the vehicle or equipment is used for tipping material into the excavation or shaft, over the edge of any embankment or earthwork, or into water.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that, where appropriate, excavating machinery and materials-handling machinery comply with any relevant Directive of the European Union which is applicable as regards the protection of the driver against being crushed if the machine overturns, and against falling objects.


Demolition Preparation I

The relevant contractor on a construction site must ensure that, before demolition is commenced and during the progress of the work on the site, precautions, where necessary, are taken by adequate shoring or otherwise to prevent the accidental collapse of any part of the relevant structure, or any adjoining structure, which may endanger any person. This does not apply in relation to any person actually engaged in erecting or placing shoring or other safeguards for this purpose if appropriate precautions, so far as is reasonably practicable, are taken to ensure the person’s safety and health.

The relevant contractor on a construction site before demolition is commenced, and during the progress of the work shall take or cause to be taken appropriate steps on the site to ensure that there is no danger to any person from electric cables, gas pipes, water mains, sewers or other underground watercourses.


Demolition Preparation II

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that when the demolition of any structure is likely to present danger to persons at work or others, that appropriate precautions, methods and written procedures are adopted, including those for the disposal of waste or residues, and the work is planned and undertaken only under the supervision of a competent person.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site, prior to the commencement of demolition work and during the progress of the work, that appropriate steps are taken to prevent danger to persons at work and others on the site from risk of fire or explosion through leakage or accumulation of flammable liquids, gas or vapour, and flooding.


Demolition Execution

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that no part of a structure where demolition is carried out is so overloaded with debris or materials as to render it unsafe to any person. A contractor responsible for a construction site shall ensure for that site that the following operations are carried out under the direction of a competent person and only by persons instructed, trained, and experienced in the kind of work involved:

  • the actual demolition of a structure or part thereof, except where there is no risk of a collapse of any part of the structure in the course of, or as a result of, the demolition which would endanger any person;
  • the actual demolition of any part of a structure where there is a risk of collapse, whether of that or of any part of the structure in the course of, or as a result of, the demolition;
  • the cutting of reinforced or prestressed concrete, steelwork or ironwork forming part of the structure which is being demolished.

Before any steelwork or ironwork is cut or released on a construction site, the relevant contractor must ensure that precautions are taken to avoid danger from any sudden twist, spring or collapse.

Where demolition is being carried out on a construction site, the relevant contractor must ensure that all appropriate precautions are taken to avoid danger from collapse of a structure when any part of the framing is removed from a framed or partly framed structure.

The relevant contractor must ensure that appropriate steps are taken to suppress, either by water sprays or other means, any dust generated during the process of demolition.


Roads I

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure, in respect of that site, that for any part of a road that is opened, excavated, broken up or obstructed by plant, machinery or equipment or by materials for the purpose of performing construction work, the following measures are taken to protect persons at work and others in the course of the work being carried on:

  • adequate guarding and lighting appropriate to the circumstances is provided and traffic signs are placed and maintained, and where necessary operated, as reasonably required for the safe guidance or direction of persons, having regard in particular, to the needs of people with disabilities,
  • the works are supervised by a competent person who has been issued with a valid construction skills registration card for the tasks specified
  • where a person with  skills card  is not on site, there is on site at all times when the works are in progress and workers are on site, at least one person who has been issued with a valid construction skills registration card to the task.

Roads II

here any construction work obstructs a roadway, or pedestrians, people with disabilities or cyclists on a cycle track that forms part of a footway are diverted onto a roadway due to construction work, that there is on that site at all times when road signing, lighting and guarding is being installed, modified or removed, at least one person who has been issued with a valid construction skills registration card for the tasks

The person holding a valid construction skills registration card has responsibility for the implementation of the signing, lighting and guarding of the site concerned, so as to protect the safety of persons at work and others in the course of the work being carried on there and shall monitor the said arrangements and take any necessary corrective action in respect of same.


Accommodation

A contractor responsible for a construction site must provide or cause to be provided at or in the immediate vicinity of the site for the use of persons at work and conveniently accessible to them adequate and suitable enclosed accommodation for taking shelter during interruptions of work owing to bad weather and for depositing clothing not worn during working hours, being accommodation containing

  • where there are more than 5 persons at work, adequate and suitable means of enabling them to warm themselves and to dry wet clothing, or
  • where there are 5 persons or less at work, such arrangements as are practicable for enabling them to warm themselves and for drying wet clothing,
  • adequate and suitable accommodation for the deposit of protective clothing used for work and kept, when not in use, at or in the immediate vicinity, with such arrangements as are practicable for drying the clothing if it becomes wet,
  • adequate and suitable accommodation, affording protection from the weather, and including sufficient tables with impermeable surfaces and seats with backs, for taking meals in satisfactory conditions,
  • facilities for boiling water and, where appropriate, facilities for preparing their meals in satisfactory conditions,
  • if there are more than 5 persons at work and heated food is not otherwise available, adequate facilities for heating food, and
  • an adequate supply of potable drinking water and, where appropriate, another suitable non-alcoholic beverage, at a convenient point or convenient points.

In determining whether accommodation of any kind provided above at any time and place is adequate, regard shall be had to the number of the persons at work who appear to be likely to use such accommodation at that time and place.

In determining whether accommodation is conveniently accessible account must be taken of any transport provided by the relevant contractor for the persons at work.

The relevant contractor must ensure that all accommodation provided is properly ventilated, adequately lighted, kept in a clean, hygienic and orderly condition, and not used for the deposit or storage of building materials or plant.


Changing Rooms

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that appropriate changing rooms are provided for persons at work if they have to wear special work clothes and if, for reasons of health or propriety, they cannot be expected to change in another area, and the changing rooms are easily accessible, are of sufficient capacity and are provided with seating.

If circumstances so require where work clothes are likely to be contaminated by dangerous substances, atmospheric conditions or the conditions of the place of work, the relevant contractor must provide or cause to be provided facilities to enable working clothes to be kept in a place separate from personal clothing and effects, and separate changing rooms or separate use of changing rooms for men and women.

If changing rooms are not required above, the relevant contractor must ensure that every person at work is provided with a place to lock away his or her own clothes and personal effects.


Washing Facilities I

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that adequate and suitable facilities for washing appropriate to the numbers of persons at work and the nature and duration of the work are provided.

A contractor responsible for a construction site, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the work to be undertaken on the site will not be completed within 30 working days after its commencement, must ensure that the facilities for washing include adequate troughs or basins having in every case a smooth, impervious internal surface, adequate and suitable means of cleaning and drying, being either soap and towels or other means, as the case may require, and a sufficient supply of hot and cold or warm running water.

Where there are more than 100 persons at work on a construction site, and  reasonable grounds for believing that the work to be undertaken on  the site will not be completed within 12 months after its commencement, in lieu of providing troughs or basins , the contractor responsible for the site must ensure that washbasins are provided on the following scale, that is to say, 6 with the addition of one for every unit of 20 persons at work by which the number of persons exceeds 100, any fraction of a unit of 20 persons being treated as one.

A contractor responsible for a construction site on which persons are at work in a process in which a dangerous substance is used shall for that site provide an adequate number of nail brushes, and as may be appropriate, provide one trough, basin, or washbasin, as may be appropriate, for every 5 persons at work.


Washing Facilities II

A contractor responsible for a construction site s ensure for the site that

  • the washing facilities provided are conveniently accessible from the accommodation for taking meals and are adequately lighted, properly ventilated and kept in a clean and orderly condition;
  • separate washbasins or separate use of washbasins for men and women are provided, when so required for reasons of propriety;
  • suitable showers in sufficient numbers are provided for persons at work if required by the nature of the work or for health reasons;
  • provision is made for separate shower rooms or separate use of shower rooms for men and women;
  • the shower rooms are sufficiently large to permit each person to wash without hindrance in conditions of an appropriate standard of hygiene;
  • the showers are equipped with hot and cold running water, and
  • where the rooms housing the showers or washbasins are separate from the changing rooms, there is easy communication between them.

Sanitary conveniences

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure

  • that at least one suitable sanitary convenience is provided, not being a convenience suitable only as a urinal, for every 20 persons at work on the site,
  • that every sanitary convenience required if practicable, discharges into a main sewer,
  • that every sanitary convenience is sufficiently ventilated and does not communicate with any workroom or mess room except through the open air or through an intervening ventilated space,
  • that every sanitary convenience is under cover and so partitioned off as to secure privacy,
  • that every sanitary convenience other than a convenience suitable only as a urinal, has a proper door and fastening, is conveniently accessible to persons at work at all times while they are at the site and, where practicable,
  • that every sanitary convenience is convenient to the washing facilities, and
  • that every sanitary convenience is maintained in a clean and hygienic condition,
  • that provision is made for separate sanitary conveniences or separate use of sanitary conveniences for men and women,
  • that where there are more than 100 persons at work on the site and sufficient urinal accommodation is provided, that there is at least one suitable sanitary convenience for every 25 persons at work on the site, up to and including the first 100, and for every 35 persons at work on the site after the first 100.

In calculating the number of conveniences required any number of persons less than 20 must be reckoned as 20, and any number not a multiple of 20 must be reckoned as being the nearest lower number which is a multiple of 20, and any number of persons less than 25 or 35, as may be appropriate, shall be reckoned as 25 or 35, and any number not a multiple of 25 or 35, as may be appropriate, shall be reckoned as being the nearest lower number which is a multiple of 25 or 35.


Accommodation

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure that fixed living accommodation areas on the site, unless used only in exceptional cases, have sufficient sanitary equipment, a restroom and a leisure room, are equipped with beds, cupboards, tables and seats with backs, taking account of the number of persons at work, and are allocated taking account, where appropriate, of the presence of persons of both sexes.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that site that safe means of access and egress are provided and maintained to and from every place at which any of the required facilities are situated, and every such place is made safe and kept safe for persons using the facilities.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure that pregnant women and nursing mothers at work on the site are provided with appropriate facilities as set out in other relevant legislation.

A contractor responsible for a construction site must ensure for that construction site that places of work, where necessary, are organised to take account of persons at work with disabilities, in particular as regards doors, passageways, staircases, showers, washbasins, lavatories and workstations used or occupied directly by those persons.


References and Sources

Irish Books

Safety, Health and Welfare and at Work Law in Ireland 2nd Ed 2008 Byrne Ch 13

Safety & Health Acts Consolidated & Annotated       2013   Byrne

Health, Safety & Welfare Law in Ireland        2012   Kinsella Ch 5

Health & Safety: Law and practice 2007 Shannon

Health & Safety at Work   1998 Stranks Ch 14

Civil Liability for Industrial Accidents 1993 While

Websites

The Health and Safety Authority  www.hsa.ie

Health and Safety Executive (UK) www.hse.gov.uk

UK Books

Tolleys Health and safety at work, 2017 29th ed Bamber,

Corporate liability: work related deaths and criminal prosecutions 3rd ed. Forlin

Health and safety at work: European and comparative perspective Ales.

Health and Safety Law 5th Ed 2005 Stranks

Principles of Health and Safety at Work (8th ed) Holt, Allan St. John; Allen, Jim;

The Law of Health and Safety at Work 2014/15 (23rd ed) Moore, Rachel; Winter, Hazel;