Guidelines for Contractors

Health & Safety Guidelines for Contractors

This guidance is for contractors who undertake construction work on private domestic dwellings.

Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations, a Client is a person for whom a construction project is carried out. This now includes a person having construction work carried out on their own home.

The Client’s duties under the regulations include:
• Appointing competent persons to carry out the construction work
• Appointing Project Supervisors for the Design Process and for the Construction Stage where necessary
• Keeping a Safety File
• Sending notification of the works to the Health and Safety Authority where necessary

These changes will affect contractors, as the Client is now required by law, subject to the criteria below, to appoint, in writing, Project Supervisors for their construction work.

Part 1 of this guidance document explains the duties of contractors under the regulations.
Part 2 explains the duties of Project Supervisors.

Part 1: Duties of Contractors

A contractor is an employer whose employees carry out or manage construction work. This includes self-employed contractors, sole traders etc. The following are some of the duties of the contractor:

• Identify and eliminate hazards, and reduce risks during construction
• Work in a safe manner and take measures to protect workers, the homeowner and their family from the potential dangers of the construction work
• Ensure that relevant employees have a safety awareness card and a construction skills card where required
• Provide employees with site-specific induction
• Monitor compliance and take corrective action
• Co-operate with the Project Supervisor for the Construction Stage (PSCS)
• Provide the relevant extract of your safety statement and relevant information to the PSCS
• Promptly provide the PSCS with information required for the safety file
• Comply with directions of project supervisors
• Report accidents to the Health and Safety Authority and to the PSCS where an employee cannot perform their normal work for more than three days
• Comply with site rules and the safety and health plan, and ensure that your employees comply with same
• Facilitate the Site Safety Representative
• Appoint a safety officer where there are more than 20 on site or 30 employed
• Consult employees and Safety Representatives on safety related issues

The new additional duties on contractors under the regulations are:

1. Demonstrate competency
The contractor must demonstrate to the Client that they are competent to complete the work and will allocate adequate resources to complete it safely.
The contractor must be able to demonstrate that they can work safely and can manage the risks to their employees and to the homeowner and their family.

Example 1:
An electrician is engaged as a contractor to rewire a domestic house. The electrician demonstrates to the Client that they are competent by telling the Client of their experience and training.

Example 2:
A contractor is engaged to build a single detached domestic dwelling and also to take on the role of Project Supervisor Construction Stage. They demonstrate to the Client that they are competent to complete both tasks by providing the Client with a safety statement, evidence of training and references from previous clients, etc. They demonstrate that they will work safely by explaining their intentions regarding provision of competent personnel, safety management systems (e.g. planned supervision, regular audits etc.) and safety equipment (e.g. scaffold, PPE etc.).

2. Inform homeowner of their duties
If a contractor is not aware of the appointment of project supervisors, the contractor must promptly inform the client of the client’s duties under Regulation 6.

Example 1:
A contractor is engaged to build a single detached domestic dwelling. As the work will take longer than 30 days and involve more than 1 contractor they inform the Client that it is the client’s duty to appoint Project Supervisors. In this case the contractor demonstrates their competency to the Client to undertake the role of PSCS and is appointed by the Client. The Client also appoints the architect as PSDP.

Example 2:
A groundworks contractor is engaged to dig out foundations for a new domestic dwelling. He is aware that the work will take longer than 30 days and will involve a number of contractors. He is not aware of the appointment of a PSCS. He must inform the Client that they have a duty to appoint Project Supervisors for the design process and for the construction stage.

Part 2: Project Supervisors

What is a Project Supervisor Design Process and what duties do they have?
A Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP) is a person or company appointed by a Client under Regulation 6 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations. Under the regulations, they have various duties relating to the design of the project. In most projects on domestic homes this role will be undertaken by the architect or engineer. The following are some of the duties of the project supervisor:

• Identify hazards arising from the design or from the technical, organisational, planning or timerelated aspects of the project
• Where possible, eliminate the hazards or reduce the risks
• Communicate necessary control measures, design assumptions or remaining risks to the PSCS so that these can be dealt with in the Safety and Health Plan
• Ensure that the work of designers is co-ordinated to ensure safety
• Organise co-operation between designers
• Prepare a written Safety and Health Plan on a preliminary basis for any project where construction will take more than 500 person days or 30 working days, or where there is a Particular  Risk, and deliver it to the client
• Prepare a safety file for the completed structure and give it to the client
• The PSDP may issue directions to designers, contractors or others where they feel safety is being compromised.

What is a Project Supervisor Construction Stage and what duties do they have?
A Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS) is a person or company appointed by a Client under

Regulation 6 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations. They have various duties
under the regulations relating to co-ordinating health and safety on site, including the following:

• Develop the Safety and Health Plan provided by the PSDP prior to commencing construction work. Contact Declan Noonan & Associates for information on a Safety Plan Template.
• 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 Health and Safety Authority
• Notify the Authority before construction commences where construction is planned to take more than 500 person days or 30 working days. Contact Declan Noonan & Associates for information on the correct procedure to follow.
• When there is more than 20 workers on site, facilitate the appointment of a Safety Representative and provide the necessary information to the site safety representative to fulfill their role
• Co-ordinate the checking of safe working procedures
• Co-ordinate measures to restrict entry on to the site
• Co-ordinate the provision and maintenance of welfare facilities
• 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
• Provide all necessary safety file information to the PSDP
• Monitor the compliance of contractors and others and take corrective action where necessary
• The PSCS may issue directions to designers or contractors where they feel safety is being compromised
• Ensure that traffic and pedestrian routes are in place to ensure safety when construction vehicles are in operation

For further information on managing health and safety on site contact Declan Noonan & Associates. We have the appropriate qualifications, experience and insurance to ensure that you are fully compliant with the law.

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