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construction safety

  1. 1. Principles of Construction SafetyAllan St John HoltBA, FIOSH, RSPForeword bySir Frank Lampl
  2. 2. Principles of Construction SafetyAllan St John HoltBA, FIOSH, RSPForeword bySir Frank Lampl
  3. 3. # 2001, 2005 Mei Wenti LtdBlackwell Science Ltd, a Blackwell Publishing companyEditorial Offices:Blackwell Science Ltd, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK Tel: +44 (0) 1865 776868Blackwell Publishing Inc., 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148-5020, USA Tel: +1 781 388 8250Blackwell Science Asia Pty Ltd, 550 Swanston Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia Tel: +61 (0)3 8359 1011The right of the Author to be identified as the Author of this Work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright,Designs and Patents Act 1988.All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988,without the prior permission of the publisher.First published in hardback 2001Reissued in paperback 2005Reprinted 2006ISBN-10: 1-4051-3446-1ISBN-13: 978-14051-3446-0Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is availableA catalogue record for this title is available from the British LibrarySet in 9/14 Trebuchetby DP Photosetting, Aylesbury, BucksPrinted and bound in Great Britainby TJ International Ltd, Padstow, CornwallThe publishers policy is to use permanent paper from mills that operate a sustainable forestry policy, and whichhas been manufactured from pulp processed using acid-free and elementary chlorine-free practices. Furthermore, the publisher ensuresthat the text paper and cover board used have met acceptable environmental accreditation standards.For further information on Blackwell Publishing, visit our website:www.blackwellpublishing.com
  4. 4. ContentsForeword vii The contractor and CDM 41Abbreviations viii The Principal Contractor and CDM 42Introduction ix The Planning Supervisor and CDM 42 Competence, qualification and selection underPart 1 Construction Safety Management 1 CDM 43 The Health and Safety File 44 1. Fundamentals 3 What is `safety 3 5. The Safety Policy 46 Basic terms 3 Legal requirements 46 What causes accidents? 4 The policy in practice 46 Techniques of accident prevention 5 Manuals and QA systems 47 Benefits of accident prevention 6 Policy contents 47 Other safety policy considerations 49 2. Where are We Now? 8 `Off the shelf safety policies 49 Types of injury 8 Accident causes 9 6. Assessing the Risks 50 Occupational health and hygiene 9 Benefits 50 Dangerous occurrences 10 Types of risk assessment 50 Reference 12 Contents of risk assessment 51 3. Measuring Performance and Recording Hazard evaluation 51 Information 13 Job safety analysis 52 Behaviour-based safety 13 Ranking hazards by risk 52 `No injuries Ð no problems! 14 Decision-making 53 `All I want to know is the facts! 14 Controlling the risks 53 Calculating rates 14 Monitoring 54 Other performance measures 15 Health surveillance 54 Accident investigation and recording 15 Information to others 54 Principles of accident investigation 16 Format of risk assessments 54 Inspections and audits 18 Project risk assessments 54 Techniques of inspection 19 Practical compliance 56 Reference 20 COSHH assessments 56 Manual handling assessments 58 4. Techniques of Construction Safety Display screen equipment assessments 63 Management 35 Objectives 35 7. Control Strategies for Construction Work 71 Benefits 35 Designing for safety and health 71 Key elements 36 Planning the work 72 And if companies do not do all this? 38 Emergency procedures 73 Is it all just a pile of paperwork? 38 Setting up the site 75 World best practice 39 Safe place of work 75 The role of the client 40 References 86
  5. 5. iv CONTENTS 8. The Health and Safety Plan 96 Control of substances hazardous to health 138 Pre-tender Health and Safety Plan 96 Measurement and reduction of energy Developing the construction phase Health and consumption 139 Safety Plan 97 Environmental objectives and targets 139 Project safety management commitment Environmental policies 139 statement 97 References 140 Roles and responsibilities of project staff 97 Project Major Emergency Plan 100 15. Construction Hazards and Solutions 144 Access equipment 144 9. Training 104 Asbestos 148 Training needs 104 Children and third party safety 152 Training for management 107 Demolition 153 Environmental, health and safety specialists 108 Electricity 155 Legal requirements 108 Excavations 158 Falls 15910. Meetings 109 Maintenance 160 Meeting with contractors 109 Manual handling 161 Weekly safety meetings 110 Mechanical handling 165 Monthly safety meetings 111 Noise 168 Occupational health basics 17111. Understanding People 120 Personal protective equipment 174 Why people fail 120 Radiation 178 Ergonomics 121 Roofing work 181 Stress 122 Steel erection and decking 181 Communication 123 Transport on site 182 Reports 123 References 182 Getting the message across 124 Safety propaganda 125 16. Quick Reference Guide 184 References 125 1. Access scaffolding 185 2. Asbestos-containing materials 18612. Joint Consultation 126 3. Bitumen boilers 187 The Safety Representatives and Safety 4. Cartridge tools 188 Committees Regulations 1977 126 5. Chainsaws 189 The Health and Safety (Consultation with 6. Clearing sites 190 Employees) Regulations 1996 128 7. Cofferdams 191 Consultation at site and project level 129 8. Confined spaces 192 9. Demolition 19313. Access to Information 130 10. Disc cutters 194 Safety professionals 131 11. Disposal of waste materials 195 Other advice 132 12. Driving vehicles 196 13. Dumpers 197Part 2 Environment, Health and Safety Issues 133 14. Electrical work to 415 volts 198 15. Erection of structures 19914. Construction and the Environment 135 16. Excavations 200 Waste management and pollution control 136 17. Falsework 201 Initial ground contamination 137 18. Fire on site 202 Remediation 137 19. Fork-lift trucks 203 Spillage control 137 20. Gas welding and cutting 204 Pesticide use and control 137 21. Hand tools 205 Hazardous waste management 138 22. Joinery workshops 206
  6. 6. CONTENTS v 23. Ladders and stepladders 207 Powers of inspectors 243 24. Lasers 208 Enforcement 243 25. Lifting equipment, general 209 The Management of Health and Safety at Work 26. Materials hoists 210 Regulations 1999 243 27. Mobile cranes 211 Summary of the Regulations relevant to the 28. Mobile elevating work platforms 212 construction industry 244 29. Mobile towers 213 Provision and Use of Work Equipment 30. Portable electrical equipment 214 Regulations 1998 and machinery safety 31. Powered tools Ð woodworking 215 requirements 246 32. Public protection 216 Some significant definitions 246 33. Pressure testing 217 Summary of the Regulations 247 34. Roadworks 218 Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations 1992 250 35. Sewage connections 219 References 251 36. Site transport 220 The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment 37. Skips 221 Regulations 1998 (LOLER) 251 38. Steam and water cleaners 222 Some significant definitions 251 39. Storage of materials on site 223 Summary of the Regulations 252 40. Storage and use of LPG 224 Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) 41. Storage and use of HFL 225 Regulations 1996 253 42. Temporary electrical supplies 226 Some significant definitions 254 43. Working alone 227 Summary of the Regulations 254 44. Work on fragile roofs 228 Construction (Design and Management) 45. Work with flat glass 229 Regulations 1994 260 46. Working at heights, general 230 Some significant definitions 260 47. Working in occupied premises 231 Summary of the Regulations 261 48. Work near underground services 232 The Confined Spaces Regulations 1997 264 49. Work under power lines 233 Summary of the Regulations 264 50. Work over water 234 The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 266Part 3 Legal Requirements 235 What is a `substance hazardous to health? 267 Summary of the Regulations 26717. Construction Health and Safety Law 237 The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Statute law 237 Regulations 1992 269 Types of statutory duty 238 Summary of the Regulations 269 Development of health and safety law 239 The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 270 Common law 239 Summary of the Regulations 271 The Woolf reforms 240 The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 240 Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 272 General duties of employers 241 Summary of the Regulations 273 General duties of the self-employed 242 General duties of employees 242 18. Penalties 275 General duties of manufacturers and suppliers 242 Charges 242 Index 277 The Health and Safety Commission and Executive 242
  7. 7. ForewordEnvironment, health and safety are already crucial issues in What is needed is to embed these vital factors as values andthe upper echelons of the construction industry. Sadly, that as a part of all that our industry does, and not to regardis the exception rather than the rule, so, if our industry is to them merely as optional extras where time allows.prosper in the twenty-first century, everyone at every levelneeds to understand the importance of these issues and The author draws upon his lifetime experience in construc-implement the practices that will safeguard both people tion-related health and safety to provide the informationand our planet. and the background material important for a full under- standing of the issues involved. The book is aimed at everyThis book is intended to fill the gap between a technical participant in the construction industry needing informationmanual and the many topic guidance notes such as those and guidance on current and future best practice.published by the Health and Safety Executive. Uniquely,the amount of space devoted to construction EH & S man- A positive change of attitudes among all players in ouragement is the same as that given over to techniques and to industry is vital. I welcome this book as a valuable con-the law. Experience shows that time spent on pre-con- tribution to that goal. Allan, who has worked with us acrossstruction activity and planning is amply repaid during the the world to further the cause of site safety, is well placedconstruction phase of work, when safety issues can be much to make it happen.more difficult to resolve. Sir Frank Lampl President, Bovis Lend Lease
  8. 8. AbbreviationsANSI American National Standards Institute MHSWR Management of Health and Safety at WorkCAWR Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 1987 Regulations 1999CDM Construction (Design and Management) MORT Management oversight and risk tree Regulations 1994 NADO Notification of Accidents and DangerousCOSHH Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Occurrences (Regulations) Regulations NEBOSH National Examination Board in OccupationalCSCS Construction Skills Certification Scheme Safety and HealthCTA Certificate of Training Achievement PMEP Project Major Emergency PlanFMEA Failure modes and effects analysis PPE Personal protective equipmentHSE Health and Safety Executive RIDDOR Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and DangerousIOSH Institution of Occupational Safety and Health Occurrences Regulations 1995JSA Job safety analysis RPE Respiratory protective equipmentMEWPS Mobile elevating work platforms
  9. 9. Part 1Construction Safety Management
  10. 10. 1 FundamentalsWhat is `safety? source of energy above the ability of the body or structure to withstand it..We use the word `safety so much, often in company withits partner `health, that it should be easy to find a defi- In normal conversation we use the word `accident loosely,nition. Yet the dictionaries do not offer much assistance Ð and in doing so we often couple in a sense of bad luck on the`Safety [is] the absence of danger one says, unhelpfully part of the injured person, and a feeling that it could notsupplying the entry for `danger as `absence of safety! have been foreseen. In safety management, we need to beOthers suggest `a state of protection and `a condition not clear that the luck, or the element of chance, is only con-involving risk. Perhaps the best we can do is to agree that cerned with the physical outcome of the incident, which isthere is no arbitrary state of `absolute safety, as there is `that sequence of events or actions resulting in the unde-always a chance Ð a risk Ð of something going wrong, sired consequences. For ease of reading, this book uses thehowever small that chance may be. word `accident to describe injury events, except where an important distinction has to be made between `accidentIn the same way, a little thought about `health brings the and `incident.same conclusion Ð it is a relative notion, in the sense that inany population there will be those in varying states of An injury is thus a consequence of an incident Ð but not thewellness. But this does not stop us using the word in an only possible one. It has been shown that hundreds ofeveryday sense to convey the idea that, in the workplace at incidents occur in the construction industry for every oneleast, the aim should be that workers do not leave their that causes injury or loss. But all have the potential to dowork less `healthy than when they arrived. so. That is why it is important to look at all incidents as sources of information on what is going wrong. Relying onThe management of workplace health and safety is done injury records only allows a review of a minority of inci-together, and in the same way, so that often in speech the dents Ð those which happened to result in a serious injuryword `safety is used to mean both. In recent years, it has consequence. We can make some reasonable estimatesbeen recognised that environmental issues also need to be about the likelihood of, say, failure of a lifting appliance.managed, and again often by using the same techniques Only chance will decide whether an injury rather than, or asand practices. So, for reasons of space and ease of under- well as, property damage will occur on a particular occa-standing, in this book the reader will often find the word sion, and how severe either will be.`safety used alone although the presence of its naturalpartners `health and `environment should be understood. Hazard means `the inherent property or ability of some- thing to cause harm Ð the potential to interrupt or inter-Basic terms fere with a process or person. Hazards may arise from interacting or influencing components, for example twoAn accident is an incident plus its consequences; the end chemicals interacting to produce a third.product of a sequence of events or actions resulting in anundesired consequence (injury, property damage, inter- Risk is `the chance or probability of loss, an evaluation ofruption, delay). An accident can be defined more formally the potential for failure. It is easy to confuse the termsas `an undesired event, which results in physical harm and/ `hazard and `risk, but a simple way to remember theor property damage, usually resulting from contact with a difference is that `hazard describes potential for harm,
  11. 11. 4 PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION SAFETY 1risk is the likelihood that harm will result in the particular n Leaving equipment in a dangerous conditionsituation or circumstances, coupled with a measure of the n Using equipment at the wrong speeddegree of severity of that harm. Comparisons between risks n Disconnecting safety devices such as guardscan be made using simple numerical formulae. n Using defective equipment n Using equipment the wrong way or for the wrong tasksWhat causes accidents? n Failure to use or wear personal protective equipment n Bad loading of vehiclesAccidents are the direct results of unsafe activities and n Failure to lift loads correctlyconditions, both of which can be controlled by manage- n Being in an unauthorised placement. Management is responsible for the creation and n Unauthorised servicing and maintaining of movingmaintenance of the working environment and tasks, into equipmentwhich workers must fit and inter-react. Control of workers n Horseplayand their behaviour is more difficult. They have to be given n Smoking in areas where this is not allowedinformation, and the knowledge that accidents are not n Drinking alcohol or taking drugsinevitable but are caused. They need training to developskills and recognise the need to comply with and develop Some of the reasons why people fail Ð to behave safely, tosafe systems of work, and to report and correct unsafe conform to policies and procedures, for example Ð areconditions and practices. Their safety awareness and atti- discussed in Chapter 8.tudes require constant improement, and the social envir-onment of the workplace Ð the safety climate Ð must beone which fosters good safety and health practices and Unsafe conditionsconditions, not one which discourages them. n Inadequate or missing guards to moving machine parts n Missing platform guardrailsOn investigation, and after a little thought, it can be seen n Defective tools and equipmentthat accidents are relatively complex events. A man falls n Inadequate fire warning systemsoff a ladder. It seems straightforward Ð the ladder was not n Fire hazardstied and witnesses say that it was set at the wrong angle n Ineffective housekeepingand not secured against slipping. This incident could be put n Hazardous atmospheric conditionsdown to carelessness on the part of the man, having failed n Excessive noiseto appreciate the physical situation. Carelessness, though, n Not enough light to see to do the workis rarely either a good or an adequate explanation of eventslike accidents. These are all deviations from required safe practice, but they must be seen as the symptoms of more basic under-Unsafe acts and unsafe conditions are often referred to as lying indirect or secondary causes which allow them toimmediate or primary causes of accidents, because they exist and persist.are the most obvious causes and because they are usuallydirectly involved or present at the moment the accidenthappens. Secondary causes are also important, although Secondary causes of accidentsthey are usually harder to seek out and identify. They are n Management system pressuresthe failures of the management system to anticipate, and N financial restrictionsinclude lack of training, maintenance, adequate job plan- N lack of commitmentning and instruction, and not having safe systems of work in N lack of policyplace. N lack of standards N lack of knowledge and informationSome examples of unsafe acts and conditions are given N restricted training and selection for tasksbelow. N poor quality control systems resulting from the aboveUnsafe acts n Social pressuresn Working without authority N group attitudesn Failure to warn others of danger N trade customs
  12. 12. 1 FUNDAMENTALS 5 N industry tradition 2. Tackle risks at source N society attitudes to risk-taking Design and specification can make a significant difference N `acceptable behaviour in the workplace to site conditions. Design is likely to dictate the way the N commercial/financial pressures between con- construction work is carried out on site, and particularly to tractors force contractors to work in potentially unsafe ways. A review at the design stage repays the time spent hand-The primary causes of accidents in the construction somely because of later savings in time and money, andindustry have been the target of safety law for many years possibly even lives.Ð specifying details of scaffolding and ladders, forexample. Relatively recently, legal requirements in several Examples: Designing floor slabs with fewer voids removescountries, notably the Member States of the European the need to control the risk of falling through them byUnion, and Australia, have begun to address the secondary setting up barriers or covering them. Avoid dust-producingcauses as well, forcing attention to be paid to all organi- processes: specify off-site finishing.sational aspects of safety management. 3. Adapt work to the individual when designingTechniques of accident prevention work areas and selecting methods of workAccident prevention in construction is not just a matter of Ergonomics aims to improve the interface between peoplesetting up a list of rules and making safety inspections, and their workspaces, by seeking to adapt the workspacealthough both of these have their place. What is required is rather than the person. Thought given to layout cana system for managing health and safety which meets the improve working conditions and reduce risks.needs of the business and complies with the law. A dis-cussion of the ideas involved in safety management can be Example: Locating equipment such as a saw bench in afound in Chapter 4, and most of the law on construction corridor could block access for others, may cause lightingsafety is covered in Part 3 of this book. difficulties and allow offcuts to pile up, increasing the risks. Asking how much room the carpenter needs andThere are seven principles to be observed in setting up planning a suitable spot for a powered saw bench takesstrategies for control and management of health and safety little time.at work in the construction industry. If they are followed,accident prevention is more likely to be achieved. 4. Use technology to improve conditions1. If possible, avoid a risk altogether by Keeping up to date with new developments can bring aeliminating the hazard safety benefit when plant is being replaced, or when work operations can be mechanised.It is always more effective to remove a problem altogetherrather than to establish a control strategy, especially one Examples: Specifying a quieter design of machine whenwhich relies upon people to work in the correct way. This ordering replacement equipment. Use of a wheeled man-and the next principle demonstrate the fundamental hole lifter to replace hand hooks or other hand tools bringsimportance of design and planning in safety management. gains in productivity as well as minimising the chance of a back injury.Examples: Do not specify fragile roofing materials throughwhich people can fall. This is obviously more effective than 5. Give priority to protection for the wholespecifying solutions designed to minimise the risks from workplace rather than to individualsfalls through fragile material. Specification of lightermaterials, such as blocks and bags, is preferable to Reliance on personal protective equipment (PPE) as a solearranging ways to handle heavy materials on site. Inevi- means of risk control is rarely acceptable. This is becausetably, at some stage the latter will result in someone no PPE is 100% effective for 100% of the time for 100% of thehaving to lift manually a load heavier than it could have people who use it (see Chapter 15). One of many reasons forbeen. Avoid using hazardous substances at all where pos- this is that it may not always be possible to identifysible, or substitute those known to be less hazardous. everyone at risk and issue the PPE to them.
  13. 13. 6 PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION SAFETY 1Example: Extensive work on a flat roof may require the The cost in human suffering, physical pain and hardshippresence of a large number of workers from different resulting from death and disability is impossible to quantifyemployers, in addition to supervisory staff, clients, etc. In Ð we know that there are hundreds of lives lost each year inthese circumstances, the appropriate protection would be construction and related industries, with tens of thousandsprovided by perimeter barriers, rather than by giving of serious injuries and countless numbers of more minor`everyone a safety harness. Installing permanent edge injuries. We can only guess at the disruption to lives ofprotection during the main construction process instead of workers and their families which these cause, but we knowat the end gives protection to both constructors and end that construction safety is not an impossible dream; it is anusers. achievable goal. Moral reasons stem from a developing public awareness6. Ensure everyone understands what they have that something needs to be done to raise the quality of lifeto do to be safe and healthy at work at work. Attention is focusing on the ability of employers and project managers in the industry to handle a wideSafety training is not just a matter of handing out booklets variety of issues, previously seen only as marginally rele-Ð it is unwise to assume anything about peoples previous vant to the business. Environmental affairs, pollution,experiences in construction work, or even their ability to design safety, maintainability and other matters are nowread and understand instructions and information. Safety commonly discussed. There is a growing belief that it isawareness is not inherited, and induction training on sites is morally unacceptable to put the safety and health of othersrequired to make sure that everyone knows what the (inside or outside the construction site) at risk, for profit orhazards and the control measures are. any other reason.Example: Specific site induction must include the local Worker morale is strengthened by active participation inemergency evacuation procedure, and understanding may accident prevention programmes, and is weakened byneed to be confirmed by holding regular practice fire accidents. Adverse publicity affects the fortunes of thedrills. organisation both internally in this way and externally, as public confidence may weaken local community ties,7. Make sure health and safety management is market position, market share, shareholder value andaccepted by everyone, and that it applies to all reputation generally.aspects of the organisations activities Legal reasons are contained in statute law, which detailsA single contracts manager, joinery manager, or other steps to be taken and objectives to be met, and whichmember of senior management who believes that the carries the threat of prosecution or other enforcementcompany safety management system does not apply to action as a consequence of failure to comply. Civil lawsituations where time is short can destroy the safety enables injured workers and others to gain compensationclimate overnight. If someone is injured as a result, the either as a result of breach of statutory duties or because apenalty can be severe for that person, and possibly for the reasonable standard of care was not provided under thecompany as well. particular circumstances. The cost in terms of money and adverse publicity of a prosecution or civil claim can be veryExamples: Failure of a senior manager to wear safety high, and there is the potential for a prison sentence infootwear and safety helmet on a site visit gives the some circumstances. For a discussion of these issues, seeimpression to the workforce that the rules do not apply to Chapter 17.senior management. Failure to carry out risk assessmentsbecause of pressure of work could lead to criminal Financial reasons for accident prevention ensure the con-prosecution of an individual. tinuing financial health of a business and avoid the costs associated with accidents. These include monetary loss to employers, community and society from worker injuriesBenefits of accident prevention and ill-health, damage to property and production delays.There are generally said to be five main reasons why acci- Some, but not all of these costs are insurable and these aredent prevention in construction is worthwhile. known as direct costs. They include the cost of compen-
  14. 14. 1 FUNDAMENTALS 7sation (for which insurance is a legal requirement). were not the case. The same amount and quality of infor-Increased premiums will be a consequence of claims, so an mation is potentially available for each incident, yet weincrease in overheads is predictable following accidents. frequently limit investigations to those incidents whereIndirect costs include: injury or damage is serious Ð at the tops of the triangles Ð and thus miss the chance of obtaining a lot more informa-n Uninsured property and material damage tion about what is going wrong. This is why counting andn Delays investigating `near miss incidents is useful.n Overtime costs and temporary labourn Management time spent on investigations Finally, a good safety record and documented safetyn Decreased output from those replacing the injured management system can more than repay the time spent on worker(s) it because of its value in gaining new business. Many clientsn Clerical work and project management operations have extensive vettingn Fines procedures to identify those contractors and suppliers whon Loss of expertise and experience are competent in safety matters. The vetting may be a requirement of their quality programme under BS EN 9000A study carried out by the Health and Safety Executive into accreditation, but in any event in the UK the competencethe costs of accidents showed that for the construction site issue is at the heart of the Construction (Design and Man-under review, the direct costs were a small proportion of agement) Regulations 1994 (CDM).the total and produced a direct:indirect ratio of 1:11. Thisratio is commonly illustrated as an `iceberg, because of Conversely, inability to satisfy requirements for compe-the invisible hidden costs below the waterline. On the site tence in safety under CDM can result in loss of significantstudied over a period of 18 weeks, 120 people were work- contracts as well as public reputation. An electrical con-ing, and in that time there were 56 minor first-aid injuries tractor working for a local authority was successfully pro-and no lost-time injuries. But there were also 3570 non- secuted together with the authority for contravening theinjury accidents. The results for major, minor and non- Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations when hand-drillinginjury accidents are often reproduced in the form of an holes in domestic cupboards for wiring. The fine was rela-`accident triangle. tively modest, but the contractors hard-won local repu- tation for workmanship and reliability suffered, and theThe conclusion to be drawn from this and other accident conviction had to be disclosed on every subsequent appli-triangles is that serious injuries are much less frequent than cation to join a tender list.less serious ones, and of course it would be strange if that
  15. 15. 2 Where are We Now?It is widely recognised that health and safety injury statistics On average, a worker is killed in the industry every threeoffer only the depressing and not especially useful prospect working days, and a member of the public is killed everyof counting our failures to control injury and ill-health. What two months by construction activities. There are now aboutis needed is an agreed system of positive measures of how 80 fatalities a year to workers in the construction industry,well controls are working Ð but there is no sign of agreement including the self-employed and trainees. This number hasor even substantive moves towards agreement about the remained roughly the same since the early 1990s (Tablenature of the measures that might provide answers. The 2.1). Taking the long-term view for all industries, theprospect of common use of standards such as the British accident rates overall are a quarter of those reported in theStandards OHSAS 18000 safety management model is early 1960s, and less than a half of those in the early 1970s.brighter, but opinion internationally is divided on whether This is thought to be due only partly to changes inthe objectives of continuous improvement and accreditation employment patterns.should be included in such a standard. Table 2.1: Fatalities to employees in the constructionMeanwhile, international statistical comparisons mean lit- industry, sample yearstle, as there are so many measuring tools and so manydifferent criteria for measurement. There is no general Year Numberagreement on how to calculate frequency rates, or on what 1961 272counts as a reportable injury. Even in the UK, the rules 1971 156change every 5 to 10 years, and invalidate previous data 1981 105sets. And there is good evidence that many injuries go 1990/91 96unreported. 1995/96 62 1996/97 66Recent studies by the Health and Safety Executive using the 1997/98 58Labour Force Surveys (which send questionnaires to 1998/99* 48households) indicate that only 55% (1997/98) of all non- * Data for 1998/99 were provisional at the time of writingfatal reportable injuries in construction are actuallyreported to the Executive and local authorities. This is Types of injuryactually an improvement Ð in 1989/90 the figure was as lowas 38%, rising to 46% in 1994/95. Commentary on the dis- The most common source of fatalities in recent years hasparity between reality and what is reported is presented been the head injury, accounting for almost one-third ofannually in the Health and Safety Commissions Statistical the total. There is claimed to be a marked reduction, ofReview. The information can be regarded only as an indi- about 25%, in the head injuries rate overall, following thecation of the position for any given year. introduction of the Construction (Head Protection) Regu- lations on 1 April 1990. In most years, at least 40% of allAn improved picture can be drawn from a study of fatal- construction fatalities have been falls from a height. Theities, which are less easy to ignore, although these too may figure for falls as a percentage of total fatalities has beenbe under-reported because of poor diagnosis of ill-health remarkably constant over past years, justifying the atten-exposures, for example, and also where a significant time tion given to fall protection in its own right in the Con-may elapse between injury and consequent death. struction Regulations (Table 2.2).
  16. 16. 2 WHERE ARE WE NOW? 9 handling, for example. Others occur relatively infre- Table 2.2: Fatal falls to employees in the construction quently, but when they do there is a higher than usual industry over 12 years chance of not surviving them Ð becoming trapped by col- All employee Falls as % of lapse or overturning and electrocution are examples of Year Falls fatalities all fatalities this. Table 2.4 compares the proportionate outcomes of 1987/88 47 99 47.48 various causes of injury. 1988/89 49 101 48.52 1989/90 53 100 53.00 We need this information in order to estimate risk, which is 1990/91 45 96 46.88 a measure combining the chances of something happening 1991/92 37 83 44.58 with the potential outcome in terms of injury. Too much 1992/93 27 69 39.13 reliance should not be placed on the data because of the 1993/94 35 73 47.95 under-reporting factor mentioned above. 1994/95 24 56 42.86 1995/96 21 62 33.87 Although the total numbers engaged in some occupations 1996/97 33 66 50.00 can be expected to fluctuate with time, together with the 1997/98 29 58 50.00 amount and type of work available in the construction 1998/99* 22 48 45.83 industry, it is hard to believe that there has not been an* Data for 1998/99 were provisional at the time of writing improvement in health and safety standards in the last 10 years. The improving data are unlikely to be due solely to changes in the pattern of work and numbers employed.In 1998/99 the percentage of falls in the `non-fatal majorinjury category was 37%, with an additional 21% as falls Information on rates is not easy to acquire. The Healthfrom the same level (slips, trips and falls); 35% of report- and Safety Commission and Executive use comparisonsable, over-3-day injuries in the industry were due to between industries based upon accidents recorded permanual handling. 100 000 workers, rather than upon hours worked. For con- struction in 1998/99 the provisional rate is 399.0 for fatalities and major injuries combined per 100 000 work-Accident causes ers, and for all reported injuries the rate is given as 1254.Canadian studies have shown that active involvement in The previous years rates were 388.1 and 1354.4, respec-safety management by the most senior levels in a con- tively.struction company is directly correlated with reductions innumbers of accidents and injuries. Cross-industry comparisons are of little significance to individual employers unless their business covers severalKnowledge of causation patterns provides a starting point employment sectors. The best information of this kind is tofor focusing particular preventive measures. Case studies be found by benchmarking against other similar businesses,and descriptions of accidents can be used to give informa- and comparing internal figures over similar periods.tion about prevention techniques Ð the Health and SafetyExecutives publication Blackspot Construction is still Occupational health and hygienerecommended reading, although now out of print. It com-mented that in a sample studied, 90% of fatalities were Traditionally the construction industrys high level of injuryfound to be preventable, and in 70% of cases positive accidents has received the attention of enforcement,management action could have saved lives. The three worst media publicity and management action. Arguably, the sizetask areas found by the study (75% of all deaths) were of that problem has led to a neglect of the less tangiblemaintenance (42%), transport and mobile plant (20%) and consequences of occupational hygiene and health prob-demolition/dismantling (13%). lems, apart from well-publicised topics such as asbestos. There is little general awareness of just how big the occu-Table 2.3 shows the distribution of causes of fatalities in pational health risks are in construction; compare thethe years 1997/98 and 1998/99, considering all workers in numbers already discussed for conventional injuries withthe industry. Some activities, of course, are frequent the fact that mesothelioma, a form of cancer linked spe-sources of injury, but rarely result in a fatality Ð manual cifically to asbestos exposure, kills around 1400 people
  17. 17. 10 PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION SAFETY 2 Table 2.3: Fatalities in the construction industry by causation Categories of 1997/98 1998/99 accident causation Employees Self-employed Total % of total Employees Self-employed Total % of total Falls: >2 m 29 12 41 51.25 21 14 35 53.03 Falls: <2 m Ð 1 1 1.25 Ð 3 3 4.55 Falls: unknown Ð 4 4 5.00 1 Ð 1 1.52 heights Total falls from 29 17 46 57.50 22 17 39 59.09 heights Contact with moving 3 Ð 3 3.75 2 Ð 2 3.03 machinery Struck by moving or 11 1 12 15.00 7 1 8 12.12 falling object Struck against fixed 1 Ð 1 1.25 Ð Ð Ð Ð or stationary object Struck by moving 5 ± 5 6.25 9 Ð 9 13.64 vehicle Lifting, handling, 1 Ð 1 1.25 Ð Ð Ð Ð carrying Trapped by collapse 3 1 4 5.00 3 Ð 3 4.55 Asphyxiation or Ð Ð Ð Ð 1 Ð 1 1.52 drowning Exposure to harmful Ð Ð Ð Ð 1 Ð 1 1.52 substances Explosion Ð Ð Ð Ð 1 Ð 1 1.52 Electrocution 5 2 7 8.75 2 Ð 2 3.03 Other Ð 1 1 1.25 Ð Ð Ð Ð Total 58 22 80 100.00 48 18 66 100.02each year. A good proportion of these exposures are related requirements) imposed by the Noise at Work Regulationsto construction work. 1989.A general downgrading of normal health can also occur. Dangerous occurrencesReports suggest that construction workers age prematurelydue to hypothermia caused by working in the cold and wet. `Dangerous occurrences are sets of circumstances whichRespiratory diseases such as bronchitis and asthma are also must be reported to the enforcing authorities if they occur,thought to occur at above average levels in construction and which are defined within the current set of regulationsworkers. containing reporting requirements for injuries. Currently the relevant regulations are the Reporting of Injuries,Experience with the implementation of the Control of Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations in (RIDDOR). They were introduced in approximately theirconstruction shows that there is little awareness of the current format in 1980 as the Notification of Accidents andprinciples of assessment, or significant appreciation of the Dangerous Occurrences Regulations, or NADO, whichrisks to workers from substances brought onto the site Ð introduced the concept of dangerous occurrences for theand especially from those created there. Also, there is said first time. Since the list of circumstances which are to beto be a disappointing response from the industry to the reported has changed over the years, and again because ofnoise controls (mostly managerial action and measurement significant under-reporting, statistical comparisons are
  18. 18. 2 WHERE ARE WE NOW? 11 Table 2.4: Reported injuries to all construction workers, 1997/98 and 1998/99* Categories of 1997/98 1998/99 accident Fatalities Non-fatal major >3 day Total Fatalities Non-fatal major >3 day Total causation injuries injuries reportable injuries injuries reportable Falls: >2 m 41 754 395 1190 35 813 360 1208 Falls: <2 m 1 734 752 1487 3 824 843 1670 Falls: unknown 4 163 179 346 1 120 147 268 heights Total falls from 46 1651 1326 3023 39 1757 1350 3146 heights Contact with 3 138 237 378 2 136 283 421 moving machinery Struck by moving 12 858 1913 2783 8 122 1745 1875 or falling object Struck against 1 137 542 680 Ð 153 474 627 fixed or stationary object Struck by moving 5 104 155 264 9 132 142 283 vehicle Lifting, handling, 1 370 3633 4004 Ð 360 3324 3684 carrying Slip, trip or fall, Ð 790 1694 2484 Ð 929 1655 2584 same level Trapped by 4 55 49 108 3 62 52 117 collapse or overturn Asphyxiation or Ð 9 12 21 1 14 6 21 drowning Exposure to Ð 78 218 296 1 86 200 287 harmful substances Fire Ð 13 37 50 Ð 7 17 24 Explosion Ð 4 21 25 1 14 18 33 Electrocution 7 55 96 158 2 75 78 155 Animal injury Ð 2 36 38 Ð Ð 27 27 Acts of violence Ð 14 39 53 Ð 15 41 56 Other 1 46 252 299 Ð 57 187 244 Total 80 4324 10260 14664 66 3919 9599 13584* Data for 1998/99 were provisional at the time of writinglikely to be misleading. The intention is to bring to the various kinds, 13% advised of substance escape as definednotice of the enforcing authority those incidents and con- within RIDDOR, and 11% notified pipeline failures. Theseditions which are sufficiently serious to be likely to cause an dominant categories and percentages have remained gen-injury, even though such an injury did not necessarily erally constant over time since 1995. The constructionoccur. industry is likely to be involved in reporting lifting machinery failures of several kinds, as well as the unin-In 1998/99, 4173 reports were made of dangerous occur- tended collapse of buildings.rences. Some 25% dealt with failures of lifting machinery of
  19. 19. 12 PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION SAFETY 2Acknowledgement: The Health and Safety Executives Referenceassistance with the provision of statistical information is (Health and Safety Commission) Statistical Review (publishedgratefully acknowledged. annually). HSE Books, London.
  20. 20. Measuring Performance and 3 Recording InformationThere are many good reasons for measuring safety perfor- such as first-aid treatments and lost workday cases.mance; some of them are often forgotten. Measuring can The US standard is to count `disabling injuries, whichenable management to: are those that cost a full person-day. The trend is towards lowering the severity thresholds for reporting,n Identify the causal factors involved in injury and loss but this tends in turn to result in under-reporting.n Locate areas where controls are not working ade- n How can different levels of risk and exposure variations quately be allowed for? Using numbers of hours worked as then Have a basis for comparing trends baseline for exposure measurement does not reflectn Describe the level of safety within the organisation differences in risk. What can be learned from com-n Predict future safety problems paring the injury data per million person-hours workedn Evaluate the success of the control programme between, say, carpet fitters and roofers? The roofersn Maximise cost-effectiveness of decisions on the allo- injury rate might be expected to be much higher, cation of resources because they appear to be at greater risk, but thatn Assess the costs of injuries and losses takes no account of the amount of time spent, then Benchmark against other similar organisations relative exposure to risk, whilst at work. The best that can be done is to compare like with like where pos-Before any useful conclusions can be drawn from any set of sible, and to include severity rates where available.data, the information collected must be both reliable andmeaningful. Are the right things being recorded? Do the For several reasons, measuring tools which are purelynumbers give the whole picture? How many injuries and injury-related do not do a good job of representing theincidents are unreported? What distortions may be present? quality of the performance effort or the safety climate inAnd what gives information about `safety performance? an organisation.Until recently, the only measuring tools available were the Behaviour-based safetycounting of failures (lost-time injuries however defined,first-aid cases, property damage incidents and `near A set of techniques known generally as `behaviour-basedmisses), and attempts at measuring the financial costs of safety has introduced ideas and methods from the beha-losses resulting from failures to control safety, health and vioural sciences into performance measurement and safetythe environment. All of these involve studying the evidence management. A full discussion of the techniques used isof failures in one form or another, rather than the perfor- beyond the scope of this book, but they are based on themance achieved. And there are difficulties in collecting the claim that measuring the frequency of safe behaviourevidence, for example: generates more, and more accurate, predictive data, allows for precise reinforcement and provides positiven How severe must an injury be to be counted at all? As accountability. The general principle involves sampling, mentioned in the previous chapter, this definition recording and publicising the percentage of safe (versus varies widely between countries. The UK minimum unsafe) behaviours noted by observers drawn from work- reporting requirement is set at 3 days absence from force and management, and specially trained. This gives work, although many of the larger construction com- more data on potential system and individual failures than panies now measure lower severity level indicators could be obtained from a study of accident records.
  21. 21. 14 PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION SAFETY 3Staff at the University of Manchester Institute of Science nificant information and is recorded for analysis in a sui-and Technology (UMIST) have extensive experience in the table format. Basic training is also required, to ensure thatapplication of behaviour-based safety systems to the con- those given the responsibility are fully committed to thestruction industry. In the United States, the work of Dr goals of investigating and recording all significant inci-Thomas Krause and his colleagues at Behavioral Science dents, and that the techniques involved are understood.Technology Inc, California, is particularly well known. Ithas shown that a behaviour-based approach to health and The way in which injuries, potential injuries (`near-safety management can be an effective tool for increasing misses), occupational ill-health exposures and environ-safety on construction sites and elsewhere, despite some mental incidents are investigated and the statistics arepractical problems of implementation. collected should be written into the organisations safety policy or equivalent document. This gives the process aEmployers investing in these techniques say they have mandate from the person in charge, without which nofound that the involvement of workers in the measuring efforts of significance in safety are likely to be successful.process generates interest and improved commitment tothe employers safety objectives. The results are said to be One test of the efficiency of a data collection system issignificant in that the techniques lead to a reduction in loss- whether `near-miss incidents are reported and recorded.producing incidents as well as to the improved assessment Their investigation will provide the same information onof performance by the positive step of measuring workers causation as `real injury incidents.safe actions. `All I want to know is the facts!For the purpose of this chapter, it is noted that theattraction is that the system offers a method of measuring In addition to distortions caused by under-reporting andthe potential for harm, independent of the accident factors introduced by the way the data are collected,record. Disadvantages may include the need to achieve an whatever data are provided to management may be subjectaltered safety climate for both management and workforce to misinterpretation by anyone who does not fully under-to adopt the techniques, and employee suspicion of hidden stand the nature of what is being presented to them. Formotives for the observations. example, it has been reliably estimated that about 375 000 people were killed by accidents in the United States during World War II. About 408 000 were killed by war action. It has`No injuries Ð no problems! been claimed as a result that it was nearly as dangerous toBecause the numbers of recorded incidents and injuries are stay at home as it was to be in the armed services.relatively low in most companies, they produce a limitedamount of information about risk and there is a temptation A moments thought should lead to questions about ratesto believe that all is well. The argument often put forward rather than numbers. It turns out that the death rate in theby managers Ð `We havent had any accidents, therefore US armed forces during World War II was about 12 perwe must be safe Ð takes no account of the potential for thousand men per year, which compares with the overallinjury, or risk, which must be evaluated when deciding on civilian accidental death rate of about 0.7 per thousand perappropriate measures to take. year.When things do go wrong, the information which can be Other influencing factors include the ages of those exposedobtained from recording and investigating incidents can be to the hazards, and the duration and type of exposure toboth substantial and useful, depending to a large degree on the hazard under analysis. The raw numbers do not, in fact,the methods used to collect information on individual tell us much at all about the chances of survival at the time.incidents and throughout the organisation. The success ofany collection method also depends on the commitment of Calculating ratesindividuals to supplying the information in a timely andappropriate way. This means that organisations need to The simple formulae for calculating frequency and severityhave a system for reporting and recording injuries and rates which follow produce the rates used most often in theother losses which is seen by all as reasonable under all the industry. In most countries, there are no standard or formalcircumstances, is sufficiently thorough to capture all sig- requirements for these formulae.
  22. 22. 3 MEASURING PERFORMANCE AND RECORDING INFORMATION 15Frequency rate percentage of subcontractors working on a project that had actually been pre-qualified. The percentage of sub- Number of injuries  100 000 contractors who had submitted a competent method Fˆ Total number of hours worked statement prior to starting work could be another.In the USA, figures of 1 000 000 or 200 000 often replace the These internal yardsticks can also be given targets to100 000 in the numerator, depending upon the collecting achieve, so that continuous improvement can be made byagency. raising the targets year on year. The setting of such key performance indicators is one of the features that distin-Severity rate guishes those companies interested in establishing them- selves as `world class rather than being merelyThis is essentially a weighted frequency rate, allowing the `compliance orientated.days lost due to temporary total disability to be recorded,and also a notional number of days to be recorded forfatalities and permanently disabled cases. The notional Accident investigation and recordingdays often used are 6000 (20 working years at 300 days per The elements of an accident recording system consist of:year) for a fatality and 1800 for loss of an eye. The Amer-ican National Standards Institute (ANSI) has developed an n Report form(s)arbitrary schedule of notional days in relation to particular n Investigation reports Ð formatpermanently disabling injuries, of which the foregoing are n Summary analysis forms used by the data collectortwo examples. n Statistical analysis Total days lost plus notional days charged  100 000 n Summary reports for management Sˆ Employee hours of exposure In large organisations, or those with widely-spread sites,The same numerator should be selected as in the frequency the system may also use a fax or email notification systemrate calculation. giving early warning to senior management that an incident has occurred which requires their attention. Care should beThe frequency rate can be improved `artificially by con- taken to avoid making personal comments in emails, as theytrolling temporary total absence cases (often by manage- are likely to become `discoverable in legal proceedings Ðment policy, and by making jobs available for temporary visible to everybody. A good rule to follow is: `If you dontworkers convalescing). Similarly, the severity rate can want your opinion or comment known to potentially hostilefluctuate wildly because the schedule of notional days can strangers, dont send the email. Deleting an email fromimpose a severe notional time penalty for some injuries. the system usually has no effect on its viability on a server, somewhere.Other performance measures Standard report formatMany companies are now introducing positive measures ofperformance in the field of environment, health and Use of a suitable standard report form allows the collectionsafety. Once a safety management programme has been of information in a uniform way. The design of the reportdeveloped, key points in it can be identified and measured form is important. As the forms will usually be completed atto provide information on whether the system is working site level it will assist site staff if they are only asked to giveproperly. For example, it might be decided that one of the information which is likely to be readily available to them Ðcritical features in such a programme is the need to ensure social security numbers and other personnel informationthat necessary safety information is supplied to sub- may be restricted, or held elsewhere. The penalty for usingcontractors prior to tendering. Whether this happens or not a format calling for answers that site staff cannot providecan be measured by examining project documentation, at can be delays in the return of forms. Whatever detail isperhaps quarterly intervals and a score produced based on asked for, and whatever the final design of a report form, itthe percentage of projects where this is being done. Or, if a will be helpful to require at least those answers to be givencompany operates a pre-qualification scheme for sub- which are required by local or national authorities, whencontractors, measures could be developed to show the notifying them in turn.
  23. 23. 16 PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION SAFETY 3Report forms should not require the senders to: types of incident and their consequences so that common causal factors can be isolated, future problem areas can ben Assign blame for the incident predicted, training can be focused and trends assessed.n Make comments which the senders cannot sub- Depending upon the size of the organisation, it may be stantiate, or necessary to collect data site by site and collate that into an Draw conclusions which may be beyond their level of monthly executive summary report. competence If benchmarking is carried out against other organisationsThis is because the form may be required as evidence in or against industry records, it will be helpful to designlegal proceedings, where liability is an issue and state- summary forms which use the same categories as thements of this type may be found to constitute an admission benchmark targets. Otherwise, the format used by theof liability where none was intended. regulatory authorities to present data can be used.Speed is of the essence Ð it may be desirable to design an Statistical analysisinitial report form to be faxed to senior management assoon as practicable, to be followed by a more detailed It is always tempting to compare the results from thereport when time and circumstances permit. The detail organisation with national or industry data, but the relativemay be completed later, following a deeper investigation sizes of the samples must be remembered when doing so.and interviews with witnesses. Also, industry frequency and severity rates, where pub- lished, are often based on guesswork on the hours worked, and can take no account of under-reporting of injuries toInvestigation report format the authorities. Generally, the best comparison to use is aThe person or team carrying out an investigation into an previous time period within the same business or bench-incident should record their comments in writing. This may marking partners.or may not involve the completion of an internal investi-gation report form. Again, care should be taken to avoid Summary reports for managementmaking statements or comments which are not factual.Recommendations to prevent a recurrence should be made Monthly or quarterly summaries of injury figures should bein the form of a letter attachment rather than on a report presented in a format which makes valid comparisons easy,form, again for legal reasons. and with a short written account to provide a summary of selected incidents. The use of pie charts and other pre-When completing an investigation report, it is important to sentation aids should be considered. It is important that thebe aware that a potential reader may know nothing about person designated as the competent person for the pur-circumstances or techniques which the investigator may poses of the Management of Health and Safety at Worktake for granted. For this reason, no assumptions should be Regulations 1999 is given a summary report at regularmade about the level of knowledge possessed by the intervals. A clutch of statistics alone rarely provides enoughreports readership. Sketches, plans, drawings and espe- meaningful information for senior management. A writtencially photographs should be included to amplify the writ- summary of lessons learned, actions taken and the currentten report. status of the organisations rolling safety programme should also be included.The use of a standard layout in a typed report can assist theinvestigator, because it can help to clarify thought. A sui- Principles of accident investigationtable format for a written report is discussed later in thischapter. The hardest lessons to be learned in accident prevention come from the investigation of accidents and incidents which could have caused injury or loss. Facing up to thoseSummary analysis forms used by the data lessons can be traumatic for all concerned, which is onecollector reason why investigations are often incomplete and sim-In order to make the best use of data supplied, the system plistic. Nevertheless, the depth required of an investiga-of performance measurement needs a way of recording the tion must be a function of the value it has for the
  24. 24. 3 MEASURING PERFORMANCE AND RECORDING INFORMATION 17organisation and other bodies which may make use of the Documentationresults, such as enforcement agencies. Conducting one can Information obtained during investigations is given verb-be expensive in time. ally, or provided in writing. Written documentation should be gathered to provide evidence of policy or practice fol-Purpose lowed on site, and witnesses should be talked to as soon as possible after the accident. The injured person should alsoThe number of purposes is large; the amount of detail be seen promptly and interviewed.necessary in the report depends upon the uses to be madeof it. Enforcement agencies look for evidence of blame, Key points to note about investigations are:claims specialists look for evidence of liability, trainerslook for enough material for a case study. From the view- n Events and issues under examination should not bepoint of prevention, the purpose of the investigation and prejudged by the investigatorreport is to establish whether a recurrence can be pre- n Total reliance should not be placed on a single sourcevented, or its effects lessened, by the introduction of of evidencesafeguards, procedures, training and information, or any n The value of witness statements is proportional to thecombination of these. amount of time which passes between the events or circumstances described and the date of a statement or written record. (Theorising by witnesses increasesProcedure as memory decreases)There should be a defined procedure for investigating all n The first focus of the investigation should be on when,accidents, however serious or trivial they may appear to where, to whom and the outcome of the incidentbe. The presence of a form and checklist will help to con- n The second focus should be on how and why, giving thecentrate attention on the important details. The manage- immediate cause of the injury or loss, and then thement team of the project where the accident occurred will secondary or contributory causesbe involved; for less serious accidents they may be the only n The amount of detail required from the investigationpeople who take part in the investigation and reporting will depend upon (a) the severity of the outcome andprocedure. Workers representatives may also be involved (b) the use to be made of the investigation andas part of the investigating team. report n The report should be as short as possible, and as long as necessary for its purpose(s).EquipmentThe following are essential tools in the competent inves- The reporttigation of accidents and damage/loss incidents: For all purposes, the report which emerges from then Report form, possibly a checklist as a routine prompt investigation must provide answers to the following ques- for basic questions tions. Only the amount of detail provided should vary inn Notebook or pad of paper response to the different needs of the recipients.n Tape recorder for on-site comments or to assist in interviews n What was the immediate cause of the accident/injury/n Camera Ð Polaroid instant-picture cameras are useful loss? (but further reproduction of the results may be diffi- n What were the contributory causes? cult and expensive, or they may be of poor quality). n What is the necessary corrective action? Their improved performance and the ability to insert n What system changes are either necessary or desirable photographs into text now makes the use of digital to prevent a recurrence? cameras attractive n What reviews are needed of policies and proceduresn Measuring tape, which should be long enough and (for example, risk assessments)? robust, like a surveyors tapen Special equipment in relation to the particular inves- It is not the task of the investigation report to allocate tigation, e.g. meters, plans, video recorder individual blame, although some discussion of this is
  25. 25. 18 PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION SAFETY 3almost inevitable. Reports are usually `discoverable; this Inspectionsmeans they can be used by the parties to an action fordamages or criminal charges. It is a sound policy to assume Inspections should be based on a positive approach, seekingthat accident investigation reports will be seen by solicitors to establish what is good and well done as well as what isacting on behalf of the injured party. They are entitled to not. Too often the `inspection process has a negativesee the factual report, and this will include anything writ- implication associated with fault-finding. The inspection often in it or in connection with it (which might later prove sites and premises has three main objectives:embarrassing), so certainly it should not contain commentson the extent of blame attaching to those concerned, or n Identification of hazards, triggering the correctiveadvice given to management. It is appropriate, necessary processand quite proper that professional advice is given, but it n Improving conditions and reducing risksshould be provided in a covering letter or memorandum n Measuring safety performancesuitably marked `confidential. Changes in the rules gov-erning the civil liability claims process mean that `side Some common system should be followed for everyletters and other formerly acceptable means of conveying inspection to make sure that everything relevant has beenconcern `off the record have become potentially dis- covered. Checklists can be used, and an adequate reportingcoverable. system must be present so that a record is made of what needs attention, and management can be advised of theWhether the report is made on a standard form, or specially results of the inspection. Ideally, inspections should bewritten, it should contain the following headings: measurable so that comparisons can be made with stan- dards elsewhere in the business.n A summary of what happenedn An introductory summary of events prior to the acci- Inspection for health and safety purposes often has a dent negative implication, associated with fault-finding. An Information gained during investigation positive approach based on fact-finding will produce bettern Details of witnesses results, and co-operation from all those taking part in then Information about injury or loss sustained process.n Conclusionsn Recommendations There are a number of types of inspections, for example:n Supporting material (photographs, diagrams to clarify) added as appendices n Statutory Ð for compliance with health and safetyn The date, and it should be signed by the person or legislation persons carrying out the investigation n External Ð by enforcement officials, insurers, con- sultantsSample standard report forms are included at the end of n Executive Ð senior management toursthis chapter (Figs 3.1 and 3.2). n Scheduled Ð planned at appropriate intervals, by supervisors n Introductory Ð check on new or reconditioned equip-Inspections and audits mentAudits look at systems and the way they function in prac- n Continuous Ð by employees, supervisors, which can betice, inspections look at physical conditions. So, while formal and preplanned, or informalinspections of a site, or particular items of equipment,could (or possibly should) be done formally at least For any inspection, knowledge of what is being looked atweekly, an audit of the inspection system throughout an is required, also knowledge of applicable regulations,organisation would look at whether the required inspec- standards and Codes of Practice. Some system must betions were themselves being carried out, the way they followed to ensure that all relevant matters have beenwere being recorded, who received copies of the considered, and an adequate reporting system must be inreport, whether action was taken promptly as a result, place so that remedial actions necessary can be takenand so on. More information on audits can be found in the and that the results of the inspection are available tonext chapter. management.

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