Construction and safety: Why it’s important to BeSMART.ie
04 September 2018
BeSMART.ie, the Business electronic Safety Management and Risk Assessment Tool, is an innovative resource developed and run by the Health and Safety Authority since 2011.
The primary aim of BeSMART.ie is to provide a free, easy-to-use online resource where business owners can:
1.) Complete site-specific risk assessments appropriate to their business type, download a safety statement, and
2.) If appointed as a Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS) use the available template to develop a Construction Stage Safety and Health Plan.
BeSMART.ie provides a rich source of information and can be used in conjunction with the Health and Safety Authority’s website HSA.ie. The aim is to educate and empower business owners, the self-employed, employees and students on the key requirements of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 and other associated legislation.
In particular, the requirement that all employers and self-employed individuals must have a safety statement (Section 20) and completed risk assessments (Section 19) pertinent to the hazards that exist in their business and ensure appropriate controls are in place to manage the risk. And this is where BeSMART.ie is most useful.
Since its launch, BeSMART.ie has been continually improved and more new business types and risk assessments have been added to the platform. To date:
• There are 53,000 registered users;
• A total of 300 business types covering construction, retail, healthcare, laboratories, hospitality, manufacturing, services and agribusiness have been made available;
• There are 33 construction business types including building surveying, general builder and structural steel;
• A total of 479 risk assessments developed.
Unfortunately, the construction sector traditionally has one of the highest rates of fatal work-related accidents in Ireland. Between 1989 and 2016, there were 338 fatal accidents in this sector, which accounts for nearly 20 per cent of all work-related accidents in this time period.
It should also be noted that companies employing less than 10 people have had a higher fatal accident rate per 100,000 (7.2) compared with companies employing between 10 and 49 staff (4.9).
By providing BeSMART.ie for use by smaller construction business types and other sectors, the aim is for improved safety and health standards and a reduction in serious and fatal accidents.
Use of BeSMART.ie
BeSMART.ie has been developed as a simple four-step process:
1.) Select your business type
2.) Complete your risk assessments
3.) Consult with your employees, which is a key requirement of the Safety, Health and Welfare at work Act 2005, and then
4.) Manage your completed risk assessments, action lists and print off/develop and review your safety statements and construction stage safety and health plan.
When the user picks the appropriate business type, BeSMART.ie will populate the hazards applicable to the business type. The BeSMART.ie risk assessments have been developed to comply with the following standard and technique:
A/ Standard – IS EN31010:2010 Risk Management – Risk Assessment Techniques
B/ Technique Used: B4 Checklists – A simple form of risk identification. A technique which provides a listing of typical uncertainties which can be considered. The user refers to a developed list of controls.
This standard is best suited to the user on the grounds that the controls are written in plain English (National Adult Literacy Agency Guidelines) with the minimum use of technical terminology to enhance understanding.
Each risk assessment can also be downloaded individually to be used as a hard copy and there is also the provision for the user to add on an additional control to each risk assessment if they so wish.
It is important for the user to understand the risk assessment process and to ensure that the appropriate controls are in place and communicated to employees before starting work. To enable this to happen you must:
i) Communicate and listen at a level that all persons understand and know what is expected of them
ii) Resource the activity effectively, and, most importantly,
iii) Supervise and review the activity and make changes where required.
It is evident from inspection of construction sites that many contractors – both large and small – have developed varying safety statements and risk assessments. However, it is also apparent in a lot of cases that many risk assessments are inadequate, or, what was written down was either not understood or not applied on the ground, such as basic controls around day-to-day activities, with for example, excavations, plant or machinery.
Another failing that can also be quite common is the lack of management of basic records, for example:
• Accident investigation and reporting;
• Statutory inspection, for example, scaffolding, earthworks and plant and machinery;
• Training records, for example, Safe Pass, CSCS, Tool Box Talks.
A good safety statement/safety management system should provide a range of relevant templates that can be used for developing registers and method statements and can help in the keeping and management of good records.
It is also important to note that accidents and dangerous occurrences reported to the HSA under the regulations are also required to be kept for a period of 10 years from the date of the incident.
The BeSMART.ie Construction Stage Safety and Health Plan
With the launch of BeSMART.ie for construction in 2015, it became apparent that smaller contractors were not aware of the revised Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013.
The regulations now stipulate that when work is being carried out on domestic buildings, appointments by the client need to be made for the role of Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS), when the work will take longer than 30 days/500 man days, a particular risk exists or if there are more than one contractor on site.
To enable better compliance and understanding of the role of Project Supervisor Construction Stage, a Construction Stage Safety and Health Plan template, along with some short animated videos, have been developed to help contractors.
The template document is designed to be filled out before any construction work starts and should be created in conjunction with the preliminary safety and health plan developed by the Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP), which should be made available by the client.
The Project Supervisor Construction Stage must then keep it updated during the construction stage as it is a live and dynamic document. Development of the Construction Stage Safety and Health Plan is a four-step process as outlined below:
• STEP 1 – project information
In this step, you input contact details for the various stakeholders, for example, client, designer, PSCS and PSDP, along with other associated information, for example, safety files, programmes of work and Refurbishment Demolition and Asbestos Surveys (RDAS).
• STEP 2 – project management
This step will help you manage and run the day-to-day issues on site. Information is provided on particular risks, co-ordination of contractors, statutory inspections and training requirements.
• STEP 3 – records management
This section provides a non-exhaustive index of records that need to be documented and managed on site, and a range of templates and registers to help you complete this work.
• STEP 4 – risk assessments and action lists
Risk assessments and action lists will automatically populate in this section if you have used BeSMART.ie to develop your site-specific risk assessments. A competent person(s) must be appointed to ensure that all controls are in place and that action lists are closed out.
To access the construction stage safety and health plan, you must have completed a risk assessment for a construction business type. When you get to your management screen you will be given the option to either download a safety statement and risk assessments or construction stage safety and health plan with risk assessments. It is important to remember that it is only a template document and it will require some work to make it site specific to the planned works.
BeSMART.ie has come a long way since its launch in 2011. The Health and Safety Authority is committed to improving the platform and is currently looking at developing a plan for an upgrade of the platform, which will bring more relevant features and user journey improvements.
A new business type called Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS) is also being developed, which will include the specific risks listed in Schedule 1 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 and will be specifically tailored and suited to anybody taking on the role.
Finally, the Health and Safety Authority’s focus for construction inspections in 2018 will be on occupational health issues such as silica dust, asbestos and manual handling with an increased focus on small and self-employed contractors.
There will also be two themed campaigns this year, one in June looking at excavations and timber frame house construction, and one in October to coincide with EU Safety Week looking at dangerous substances and occupational health issues.
Author: Brian Molloy is an inspector with the Health and Safety Authority since 2006 working in areas of construction prevention and policy. In recent years he has been involved in the development and promotion of BeSMART.ie with a particular emphasis on construction. Prior to joining the authority, he worked in industry as site engineer and health and safety adviser and has more than 20 years’ experience.https://www.engineersjournal.ie/2018/09/04/construction-safety-important-besmart-ie/https://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/a-abe-724x1024.jpghttps://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/a-abe-300x300.jpgCivilconstruction,design,Health & Safety Authority