This week we are covering Level 1 of the Health and Safety Competency. It’s quite a broad competency so I will do my best to cover what you need to know!
DISCLAIMER: The following is not an exhaustive set of notes, but it's an attempt to help those who, like me at the beginning, did not know where to start! Please feel free to let me know if I have said anything incorrect or out of date!
So what is Level 1 Health and Safety all about?
The RICS note that to demonstrate competence at Level 1, you need to demonstrate your ability to:
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles and responsibilities imposed by law, codes of practice and other regulations appropriate to your area of practice.
Personal safety on site and in the office
When you go to any office, you should make it a habit to know where the fire exits are and what the evacuation point is. When you set yourself up at a desk you should ensure your workstation is as ergonomic as possible. We spend the majority of our adult lives working, a large portion of which will be behind a desk! To prevent aches and pains, ensure you set yourself up properly!
When you are on-site, there are certain rules that you may have to follow. Prior to attending the site, you need to check whether PPE will be provided or whether you need to bring your own. If it’s your first time visiting the site, ensure you find out where the visitor’s entrance is. You may be asked to do a site induction! For some sites, you may be required to have certain qualifications e.g. CSCS or some other Sentinel (for railways).
Procedures imposed by law
Health and Safety is heavily regulated by legislation, the following is not a comprehensive list, but a minimum of what you should know as a QS:
The Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) - describes the general duties that employers have towards their employees and to members of the public.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999) - clarifies what employers are required to do to manage health and safety under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974
Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (2015) - the main set of regulations for managing the health, safety and welfare of construction projects. CDM applies to all building and construction work and includes new builds, demolition, refurbishment, extensions, conversions, repair and maintenance. Here is an article with more info!
Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 - extends the steps required under risk assessments and a duty to deal with accidents and emergencies. COSHH covers most substances hazardous to health in workplaces and covers persons who may be on the premises but not employed whether they are at work or not, including visitors and contractors.
Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act (1969) - ensures that an employer has at least a minimum level of insurance against such claims.
For more information on the above please use this link.
Specific regulations relevant to your area of work
Obviously, this will be dependent on what sector you are in but examples might include the Asbestos Regulations (2012) if you work on refurbishment projects!
The impact on health and safety of: Design, Construction processes, Building maintenance
Under the CDM Regulations, a QS now falls into the designer category. Therefore we have a statutory duty to undertake reasonable care and skill to ensure projects we are working on adhering to health and safety standards. This applies to the occupants of the buildings once complete, the maintenance teams who will look after the built asset, as well as the construction team!
An example of considering the maintenance team might be ensuring the provision of a cherry picker for maintenance crews to clean the external facade of a building. In large train stations which often have large canopies, designers tend to allow for man-safe systems so cleaning crews can strap themselves in and prevent injury in case they slip!
Health and safety training requirements as it relates to the employment of staff
I'm sure we’ve all been through it, the dreaded mandatory training when you join a new company. Employers have a responsibility to provide basic training in relation to things like:
The above are just some examples and I'm sure there are more!
That’s it for this post folks, if you have any queries do let me know!