A Health and Safety Specification is a site, activity or project specific document that you must prepare with all health and safety requirements relating to construction work (Construction Regulations 2014). But do you understand why they're so important?
Today we explain as well as highlight the key points this document must contain.
This document outlines all the safety requirements you set while the construction process is ongoing!
For example, working at heights. You must have a fall protection plan, a rescue plan, PPE such as harnesses, etc. You need to document all these needs in your Health and Safety Specification.
You also need to remember that your Health and Safety Specification is an initial document. It's a work in progress that you must constantly add to.
This means that during the project, you'll make changes to the design or construction. When this happens, your principal contractor needs to have enough health and safety information and appropriate resources available so he can do the work safely (Construction Regulation 5(2)).
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If you operate any machinery in your workplace, GMR Schedule D or C must be in clear view for employees to see. This will be the first thing the inspector will look out for when he's paying an unscheduled visit to your workplace. If you are missing these summaries, he will slap you with a fine. Don't get caught without them.
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Here are the three reasons why must you create a Health and Safety Specification
1. The Principal Contractor can't draw up his Health and Safety Plan without your Specification, and he can't start any construction if he doesn't complete his Health and Safety Plan (Construction Regulation7(1)(a)). So basically, you delay your whole construction project if you don't prepare your Health and Safety Specification. This can potentially lead to fines for not completing the project on time too.
2. Your Health and Safety Specification, along with your Principal Contractor's Health and Safety Plan, enables your Principal Contractor to allocate enough budget for any health and safety costs during the construction process (Construction Regulation 5(1)(g)).
3. You're responsible for health and safety. If you don't create a Health and Safety Specification, you won't be complying with the regulations and you'll be accountable if an accident happens.
Bonus tip: Include these people when drawing up the specification:
1. Structural engineers;
2. Health and safety professional;
3. Architects; and
4. Anybody who is part of the design and construction planning.
This way, you'll have the expertise you need to keep your construction site safe.