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Health & Safety Legislation

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations (2006) This legislation has legal status over all construction sites and is monitored by the health & safety authority. All site personal are required to have an accredited safe pass and PPE, (personal protection equipment. All sites are required to oversee the working procedures and practices in a safe manner and failure to do so can lead to prosecution even if no accidents have occurred. The contractor is responsible for the site personnel, other responsibilities lie with the client, the project supervisor at design phase (PSDP), and the project supervisor at construction stage (PSCS). Duties The regulations impose duties upon clients, designers and contractors. Failure to execute these duties can lead to criminal prosecution, fines and even imprisonment. Ignorance cannot be used as a defence in matters of safety. Although a client who has been successfully prosecuted in these matters can sometimes claim damages back from the architect if the can prove that they relied upon their architect for guidance and direction in regards to all matters associated with construction of works. An architect should ensure that: 1. They fully understand the intended use of the works upon completion of construction and 2. They advise their clients of their responsibilities, or advise them to take the relevant legal advise. All such advice should be given in writing. A guide to a clients duties under the regulations can be found on the Health & Safety Authorities website and should be issued to all clients. The Client The client is defined as any persons engaged in trade, business or other undertaking, who commissions or procures the carrying out of a project for the purposes of such trade, business or undertaking. All domestic works that are not associated with business or trade are exempt from the above regulation. The clients duties are: To access the competency of and formally appoint in writing the designer, the contractor, the PSDP and the PSCS Note: if the client fails to appoint project supervisors they by default assume these roles. Keep a safety file for I) reference if any subsequent works are undertaken at the premises and to II) and to pass on the safety file to the purchaser or tenant of the premises The regulations states that there must be an appointed supervisor for both stages of a project and that role be undertaken by a competent person or organisation, generally somebody who has the relevant training or experience to oversee the role. These appointments should be made in writing. The same party can act as both PSDP and PSCS provided they full-fill the requirments.

The PSDP should be appointed at the commencement of the design stage, with the PSCS being appointed prior to the commencement of works on site. Generally experienced architects take the role of the PSDP on a project that they are engaged to provide their services or an architectural project. For engineering projects this role is usually given to an experienced engineer. PSDP The role of a PSDP is: To take account of the design stage of the project and when estimating the time required for the project the general principles of accident prevention should be set out in the described schedule. To take account of any safety file relating to the building, if one exists it should be examined for any potential risks such as buried cables and hazardous materials. To take account of any H&S Plan prepared for the project, this may arise when there are refurbishment works or on long multi-phase works. To co-ordinate the works of other persons involved in the design stage of the works. It is at this stage that the PSDP should inform all parties involved in design of the roles and responsibilities in relation to the project and seek assurances of their compliance.

To provide the PSCS with any available material which needs to be included in the safety file ie, copies of working drawings, specifications etc. Prepare a preliminary H&S plan which will provide information to the PDCS and will include I) II) III) IV) A general description of the project Timescale of the works, this should be considered from a safety perspective and not the clients Information of any other works that might be taking place simultaneously at the site. Specify any particular risks anticipated on the site.

The PSDP should never include safety measures that are to be adopted during construction as they then lie outside of their control. All design consultants should review their area of expertise with regards to H&S, and a revised H&S plan should be issued each time drawings are revised for review by contractors.

The PSCS is usually the main contractor appointed by the client. This appointment should be by way of collateral agreement to the main building contract as the main contract establishes a special relation between the designer, client and contractor and the PSCS does not involve the architect.

The role of a PSCS is: To develop a H&S plan for all projects that require a commencement notice, or where a particular risk is identified before construction commences and to update and review this plan as the project proceeds To submit a commencement notice to the H&S authority. Prepare a fire safety file for the building and pass it onto the client on completion of works.

Follow the provisions of the H&S plan and keep records in respect of safety matters. Coordinate measures to permit authorized personnel entry to the site.

The role of the Designer is: There will be projects where the architect is not appointed a the PSDP and in such cases the role of the architect is as follows. To take account of the general principles of accident prevention. To take account of the H&S plan or safety file for the project Cooperate with the project supervisors and provide them with the necessary information to enable them to comply with regulations. Take into account the directions received from the project supervisors as far as the design and construction stages are concerned.

Safety Documents Commencement Notice; Excluding private domestic construction a commencement notice is required to be issued to the H&S authority for all qualifying projects prior to the commencement of works initially by the client. And later by the PSCS prior to works starting on site in respect to all works in excess of 30 days or 500 person hours. The notice is required to contain the particulars of the project and a copy should be displayed on site. With the exception of domestic works all other construction that full-fill the above criteria will also require the preparation of a H&S plan. Safety Statement All employers are required to produce a safety statement which contains overall steps in which steps are taken by an employer to further safety awareness of employees. In addition to this The Companies Act require companies to re-evaluate these safety statements annually. This requirement is not within the safety, health and welfare at work legislation but can be found in other legislation. Health & Safety Plan A preliminary H&S plan is required to be prepared by the PSDP, it is site specific and should include: A description of the project Client considerations and management requirments Environmental restrictions and existing on-site risks It should also look at prevention of safety hazards in both the construction process and the end use of the building.

The H&S plan is then passed to the PSCS who prepares the plan proper prior to the commencement of works, this will be revised and updated accordingly during the works. It should include: The setting out of the site, location of cranes, huts, storage areas etc, The programme of activities, The control of sub-contractors Traffic routes, traffic control, The arrangement of temporary works, The provision of canteens, restrooms etc, Arrangements for controlling site risks A safety plan is required for works which require a commencement notice or involve a particular risk as set out in the regulations. Safety File A safety file is like the user manual for a building and should contain: As-built drawings and services, Information on any known hazards and materials, Instructions for routine maintenance, Maintenance manuals for plant services. A safety file is required where there are more than one contractor on site and is given to the client upon completion of the works, the client the passes it onto subsequent buyers or tenants of the building. Liability enforcement Penalties Breech of regulations can result in civil or criminal prosecution. The act allows local authorities along with the H&S authority to enforce these regulations. These bodies can appoint inspectors who have a wide range of powers of entry and inspection and maybe assisted by Gardai. The inspector can issue an improvement notice which require remedial action or a prohibition notice requiring certain practices to cease. In certain cases an application may be made to the high court for an order restricting or closing down works. In cases of this matter the accused is taken to be guilty until proven innocent. The authority can prosecute any offences at district court with a maximum of any conviction being 1000, or on conviction on indictment to a fine which the court will decide. However if an offence is committed in contravention of a prohibition notice the court is empowered on conviction on indictment to impose a prison sentence