Construction Duty Holders - Frequently Asked Questions

The Construction Industry is made up of many different parties each having duties under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006. To assist in understanding these duties the Authority has produced ‘Guidelines on the Procurement, Design and Management Requirements of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006

These guidelines aim to give practical guidance to clients, designers, project supervisors, contractors, and workers on how they can comply with the design and management aspects of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction ) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 504 of 2006). To find out what duties apply to you or your project click on the links below.

 

Does a Project Supervisor appointed under the construction regulations have to be a named individual?

The construction regulations require that competent persons be appointed as project supervisors for the design and construction stages of construction projects.  The legal meaning of person includes individuals and corporate bodies such as limited companies. Unincorporated joint ventures or partnerships may not necessarily be legal entities. For the purposes of the regulations, both the PSDP and PSCS are required to be a legal entity either in the form of an individual or a body corporate.


What are the duties of the Project Supervisor Construction Stage?

The project supervisor appointed for the construction stage must:

  • co-ordinate the identification of hazards, the elimination of the hazards or the reduction of risks during construction;
  • develop the safety and health plan initially prepared by the PSDP before construction commences
  • co-ordinate the implementation of the construction regulations by contractors
  • organise co-operation between contractors and the provision of information
  • co-ordinate the reporting of accidents to the Authority
  • notify the Authority before construction commences where construction is likely to take more than 500 person days or 30 working days
  • provide information to the site safety representative
  • co-ordinate the checking of safe working procedures
  • co-ordinate arrangements to ensure that craft, general construction workers and security workers have a Safety Awareness card, e.g. Safe Pass and a Construction Skills card where required
  • co-ordinate the appointment of a site safety representative where there are more than 20 persons on site
  • appoint a safety adviser where there are more than 100 on site
  • provide all necessary safety file information to the PSDP
  • monitor the compliance of contractors and others and take corrective action where necessary
  • notify the Authority and the client of non-compliance with written directions issued.

The PSCS may issue directions to designers or contractors.


When does the Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS) role end?

The PSCS role remains in place for the construction stage of a project. The guidelines to the regulations state that the construction stage is “the period of time starting when preparation of the construction site begins and ending when construction work on the project is completed. The construction stage is that period of a project when the construction work is undertaken. It includes site preparation (including demolition). The definition also encompasses fitting-out or commissioning work. However, repairs and remedial work carried out after completion of the project would be regarded as a separate project”

The PSCS duties end when the project is complete and there is no remaining construction work to be carried out. This FAQ intends to develop on the above guidance, in particular, for large and complex projects. For example, projects which have sections handed over to the client or where there is interaction between complete and incomplete sections of the project. Examples would be large chemical facilities, road projects or even large residential projects.

In some cases projects are procured in packages or phased i.e. construction of main structure as one package/project and a separate package/project for the mechanical fit out. Where the work is phased, with significant and substantial periods of time in between the phases, it may be appropriate to consider each separate phase as an individual project. An example of this would be a demolition operation far in advance of further site work. It may also be appropriate to use this approach on complex or lengthy projects that pass though several distinct stages, each requiring a specialist managerial input.

The key to achieving clarity in regard to PSCS role is communication between the Client and PSCS. It should always be clear at the start of the project when the PSCS role ends and what the arrangements are in regard to handover and completion. The regulations place a duty on the Client to supply the PSCS with all the information that the Client may reasonably have or that can be reasonably obtained by enquiry to perform their role. This would include information on other work activities that take place in the vicinity of the construction site in relation to any hazard that might impact upon the safety and health of any parties working on the site or affected by the construction process and that would be needed to reduce or manage that risk.

Example 1

A road project is complete (completion cert issued) and road is operational. The PSCS is still on site coordinating the remaining construction works (snagging) drain clearance, barrier upkeep, signs. This work would have been considered as part of the agreed contract. The PSCS in this instance is required to coordinate the remaining construction works taking into account that the road is now operational. The PSCS is not responsible for works being carried out on the completed road which are not related to the project, but must coordinate his/her own works taking into account these other activities.  An example of this may be a county council bringing in contractors to landscape an area adjacent to the road or even the erection of a road side sculpture. In this case it is the duty of the Client to give the PSCS all the information they require in regards to the other work activities. Good communication between Client and PSCS is very important at this stage.

Example 2

A retail/residential project is coming to completion and units are being released as completed, to the client. The PSCS is still in place and is coordinating the remaining construction works. The PSCS now has to coordinate the remaining works taking into account risks associated with working adjacent to the public and possibly residents. The Client in this case must supply the PSCS with information on the adjacent works/activities to enable the PSCS to carry out their role.  This duty is placed on the Client through Regulation 8 (4) of the Safety Health and Welfare at work (construction) Regulations 2006.

The ClientWho is a 'Client'?
 What are the duties of a Client?
Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP)What does Project Supervisor Design Process mean?
 What are the duties of the Project Supervisor for the Design Process (PSDP)?
 In relation to the appointment of PSDP - can you have more than 1 PSDP assigned to a project or should there only be one?
DesignersWho is a 'Designer'?
 What are the duties of Designers?
 What are the General Principles of Prevention?
Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS)What does Project Supervisor Construction Stage mean?
 What are the duties of the Project Supervisor Construction Stage?
 Does a Project Supervisor appointed under the construction regulations have to be a named individual?
ContractorsWhat is the definition of Contractor?
 What are the duties of Contractors?
Safety OfficersHow long should a Safety Officer be appointed for?
 What are the duties of a Safety Officer on a construction site?
 When Should a Safety Officer be Appointed?
Safety AdvisersWhen Should a Safety Adviser be appointed?
Safety RepresentativeIs there a need for a Safety Representative on a construction site?
 How is a Safety Representative selected?
 What can a Safety Representative do on a construction site?
 Is training necessary for Safety Representatives?
 Who provides Safety Representative training - and who pays for it?
EmployeesWhat are the duties of employees and other persons at work on a construction site?

Summary of Key Duties under the Procurement, Design and Site Management Requirements of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work(Construction) Regulations, 2006

Guidelines on the Procurement Design and Management Requirements of the Safety, Health, and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006


Client

Who is a 'Client'?

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations, 2006 interprets 'client' as a person for whom a project is carried out, in the course or furtherance of a trade, business or undertaking, or who undertakes a project directly in the course or furtherance of such trade, business or undertaking;

You are not a client if you are having construction work done on your own domestic dwelling e.g. an extension on to your kitchen, or you are building your own house.

You are a client if the extension onto your own domestic dwelling is in the course or furtherance of a trade, business or undertaking, or who undertakes a project directly in the course or furtherance of such trade, business or undertaking, e.g. if you are building on an office.

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What are the duties of a Client?

The Client must, for every project:

  • appoint, in writing before design work starts, a competent and adequately resourced project supervisor for the design process (PSDP). In order to be competent the PSDP must have  adequate training, knowledge, experience to carry out the project the PSDP must have adequate resources available to carry out the project in a safe manner;
  • appoint, in writing before construction begins, a competent and adequately resourced project supervisor for the construction stage (PSCS). In order to be competent the PSCS must have adequate training, knowledge, experience and resources:
  • be satisfied that each designer and contractor appointed has adequate training, knowledge, experience and resources for the work to be performed;
  • co-operate with the project supervisor and supply necessary information;
  • keep and make available the safety file for the completed structure.  The safety file contains information on the completed structure that will be required for future maintenance or renovation (The client must keep the file in a secure place, either on the premises to which it relates or held centrally, and if the client wishes, it may be stored electronically or on microfiche.);
  • provide a copy of the safety and health plan prepared by the PSDP to every person tendering for the project.  The safety plan documents show how health and safety on the project will be managed to project completion.
  • notify the Authority of the appointment of the PSDP where construction is likely to take more than 500 persons days or 30 working days

A detailed guide outlining duties for Clients has been produced by the Health and Safety Authority. This guide is titled Clients in Construction – Best Practice Guidance and is available to download free from the Health and Safety Authority website.

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Project Supervisor Design Process

What does Project Supervisor Design Process mean?

The project supervisor design process must be an individual or body corporate i.e. a limited company   In general, this will be a firm of architects, chartered surveyors, consulting engineers or project managers.  It can also be the main contractor (e.g. in cases of design and build contracts or small projects with minimal design input).  In all cases the person or company undertaking the role must have the necessary competence to carry out the relevant duties.  The project supervisor design process must be appointed before design work commences.  This is to ensure effectiveness in addressing and co-ordinating safety and health matters from the very early stages of a project.

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What are the duties of the Project Supervisor for the Design Process (PSDP)?

The duty of the project supervisor for the design process is to ensure co-ordination of the work of designers throughout the project. 

The PSDP must:

  • Identify hazards arising from the design or from the technical, organisational, planning or time related aspects of the project;
  • Where possible, eliminate the hazards or reduce the risks;
  • Communicate necessary control measure, design assumptions or remaining risks to the PSCS so they can be dealt with in the safety and health plan;
  • Ensure that the work of designers is coordinated to ensure safety;
  • Organise co-operation between designers;
  • Prepare a written safety and health plan for any project where construction will take more than 500 person days or 30 working days or there is a particular risk and deliver it to the client prior to tender;
  • Prepare a safety file for the completed structure and give it to the client;
  • Notify the Authority and the client of non-compliance with any written directions issued.

The PSDP may issue directions to designers or contractors or others.

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In relation to the appointment of PSDP - can you have more than 1 PSDP assigned to a project or should there only be one?

A PSDP is appointed by the Client to oversee the coordination of the design work. The PSDP can be either a person or a company, what is important is that the appointed PSDP is able to fulfil the responsibilities of the position.
The Regulations require that there be only 1 PSDP appointed for each independent project.
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Designers

Who is a 'Designer'?

Under the regulations, you are a designer if you are engaged in preparing drawings, particulars, specifications, calculations and bills of quantities in relation to a project.

The term designer would include:

  • architects and engineers contributing to, or having overall responsibility for the design
  • building services engineers designing details of fixed plant
  • surveyors specifying articles or substances or drawing up specifications
  • contractors carrying out design work as part of a design and build project
  • anyone with authority to specify, or alter the specification or designs to be used for the structure
  • designers of temporary works or specialist suppliers designing form work and false work
  • interior designers, shop fitters and landscape architects; and
  • specialist suppliers, specialist contractors or sub-contractors with design input

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What are the duties of Designers?

The duties of designers are in addition to those under Section 16 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 which requires designers to ensure that the project is capable to being constructed to be safe, can be maintained safely and complies with all relevant health and safety legislation.

Designers must:

  • Identify any hazards that their design may present during construction and subsequent maintenance;
  • Where possible, eliminate the hazards or reduce the risk e.g. can roof-mounted equipment be placed at ground level or can guardrails be provided to protect workers from falling?
  • Communicate necessary control measures, design assumptions or remaining risks to the PSDP so they can be dealt with in the safety and health plan;
  • Co-operate with other designers and the PSDP pr PSCS;
  • Take account of any existing safety and health plan or safety file;
  • Comply with directions issued by the PSDP or PSCS;
  • Where no PSDP has been appointed, inform the client that a PSDP must be appointed.

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What are the General Principles of Prevention?

The general principles of prevention contained in the 1993 General Application Regulations are as follows in descending order of effectiveness:

  • The avoidance of risks, e.g. where appropriate by selecting non-fragile roofing materials, or by avoiding the disturbance of contaminated land where practicable;
  • The evaluation of unavoidable risks, i.e. evaluating the likely consequences of such risks;
  • The combating of risks at source.  If risks cannot be avoided, they should be combated at source so far as is practicable, e.g. by specifying brush application rather than spraying to reduce solvent exposure, or by specifying finishing materials containing less harmful constituents;
  • The adaptation of work to the individual, especially as regards the design of places of work, the choice of work equipment and the choice of systems of work, with a view, in particular, to alleviating monotonous work and work at a predetermined work rate and to reducing their effect on health.  This will make work less monotonous and improve concentration, and reduce the temptation to improvise equipment and materials;
  • The adaptation to the place of work to technical progress.  Taking advantage of technological progress often offers opportunities for safe and more efficient working methods;
  • The replacement of dangerous articles, substances or systems of work by non-dangerous or less dangerous articles, substances or systems of work, e.g. replacing solvent based paints with water based ones where practicable;
  • The development of an adequate prevention policy in relation to safety, health and welfare at work, which takes account of technology, organisation of work, working conditions, social factors and the influence of factors related to the working environment.  The Safety and Health Plan for the site should act as the focus for bringing together and co-ordinating the prevention policies of the various contractors involved in the project;
  • The giving of priority to collective protective measures over individual protective measures.  Measures which protect everyone should be given priority over those which protect only an individual, e.g. the provision of local exhaust ventilation in preference to personal protective equipment, or the provision of fixed guard rails on a maintenance walkway rather than relying on safety harnesses;
  • The giving of appropriate training and instruction to employees

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Project Supervisor for the Construction Stage

What does Project Supervisor Construction Stage mean?

The role of the project supervisor construction stage is to manage and co-ordinate health and safety matters during the construction stage.  The project supervisor (construction stage) is appointed before the construction work begins and remains in that position until all construction work on the project is completed.

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What are the duties of the Project Supervisor Construction Stage?

The project supervisor appointed for the construction stage must:

  • co-ordinate the identification of hazards, the elimination of the hazards or the reduction of risks during construction;
  • develop the safety and health plan initially prepared by the PSDP before construction commences
  • co-ordinate the implementation of the construction regulations by contractors
  • organise co-operation between contractors and the provision of information
  • co-ordinate the reporting of accidents to the Authority
  • notify the Authority before construction commences where construction is likely to take more than 500 person days or 30 working days
  • provide information to the site safety representative
  • co-ordinate the checking of safe working procedures
  • co-ordinate arrangements to ensure that craft, general construction workers and security workers have a Safety Awareness card, e.g. Safe Pass and a Construction Skills card where required
  • co-ordinate the appointment of a site safety representative where there are more than 20 persons on site
  • appoint a safety adviser where there are more than 100 on site
  • provide all necessary safety file information to the PSDP
  • monitor the compliance of contractors and others and take corrective action where necessary
  • notify the Authority and the client of non-compliance with written directions issued.

The PSCS may issue directions to designers or contractors.

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Does a Project Supervisor appointed under the construction regulations have to be a named individual?

The construction regulations require that competent persons be appointed as project supervisors for the design and construction stages of construction projects.  The legal meaning of person includes individuals and corporate bodies such as limited companies. Unincorporated joint ventures or partnerships may not necessarily be legal entities. For the purposes of the regulations, both the PSDP and PSCS are required to be a legal entity either in the form of an individual or a body corporate.

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Contractors

What is the definition of Contractor?

In general a Contractor means any employer whose employees carry out construction work and includes both main contractor and sub-contractor.  Contractor may also include a self-employed person where such a person supplies materials and labour or labour only.  In addition, a body such as a local authority may also be a contractor, if the construction work is carried out directly by employees of that body.

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What are the duties of Contractors?

The contractor has significant duties relating to a wide range of issues.

A contractor must:

  • co-operate with the PSCS – provide a copy of your safety statement and relevant information to the PSCS
  • promptly provide the PSCS with information required for the safety file
  • comply with directions of the project supervisors
  • report accidents to the Authority and to the PSCS where an employee cannot perform their normal work for more than 3 days
  • comply with site rules and the safety and health plan and ensure that your employees comply
  • identify hazards, eliminate the hazards or reduce risks during construction
  • facilitate the site safety representative
  • ensure that relevant workers have a safety awareness card and a construction skills card where required
  • provide workers with site specific induction
  • appoint a safety officer where there are more than 20 on site or 30 employed
  • consult workers with site specific induction
  • monitor compliance and take corrective action

The construction regulations impose a substantial number of other contractor duties, including a number of new duties:

  • Safety at road works
  • Explosives

Transitional arrangements of between six and eighteen months apply to the following new duties:

  • New construction skills card requirements for road works, mobile erection of mobile tower scaffold, mini-digger operation, self erecting tower crane operation and shot firing.
  • Reversing aids and rear visibility for construction plant

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Safety Officers

How long should a Safety Officer be appointed for?

The safety officer may be appointed on a full time or part time basis depending on the size and nature of the project.

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What are the duties of a Safety Officer on a construction site?

The Safety Officer should:

  • be familiar with the relevant safety and health legislation which affects the types of construction work being carried out
  • have the ability to identify hazards and assess risks on construction sites
  • be capable of advising the contractor on the most appropriate control measures and systems of work in order to minimise risk
  • be able to communicate the safety and health requirements to managers, supervisors and workers on sites
  • if assigned other duties the contractor must ensure that these other duties do not prevent the safety officer from carrying out his/her duties as safety officer in an efficient manner

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When Should a Safety Officer be Appointed?

A contractor who has normally more than 20 employees on a site, or 30 engaged in construction on various sites, must appoint a competent safety officer to advise and supervise adherence to safety and health requirements.

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Safety Adviser

When Should a Safety Adviser be appointed?

The PSCS should appoint in writing a competent full time safety adviser when there is normally more than 100 persons on a construction site at any one time engaged in construction work.

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Safety Representative

Is there a need for a Safety Representative on a construction site?

Under sections 25 and 26 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005 each employer is obliged to make arrangements for effective consultation between himself and his employees on matter of safety and health.  In addition, the employees have the right to select and appoint one of themselves as a safety representative to represent them in consultation with the contractor. A safety representative is required where more than 20 persons are employed on a site.

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How is a Safety Representative selected?

Schedule 5 of the Construction Regulations 2006 sets out the selection procedures as follows:

  1. If a site safety representative is elected by the workers on site that person shall be recognised as the safety representative by the project supervisor construction stage (PSCS) and this shall be noted in writing by the PSCS.
  2. If a safety representative has previously been selected by the employees of the contractors under section 25 of the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005, the view of all persons at work on the site at the time must be taken into account when confirming that person as site safety representative.
  3. If the number of persons at work on the construction site exceeds 20 and there is no site safety representative the project supervisor for the construction stage shall invite all persons working on the site to elect a site safety representative from amongst their number.  If the workers are unwilling to organise a selection process themselves and request the project supervisor to do so he/she shall organise the election.
  4. If a site safety representative is not selected, the project supervisor for the construction stage shall invite persons working on the construction site to nominate persons willing to undertake the role.  If more than one name is put forward the project supervisor for the construction stage shall determine which candidate has the most support from all persons employed on the site.  The person who has the most support shall be deemed selected.
  5. If no site representative has been selected the project supervisor for the construction stage shall nominate a provisional site safety representative.  If subsequently a site safety representative is elected by a process involving more than 50% of the persons working on the site at a particular time then that person shall be deemed to be the site safety representative.
  6. The project supervisor for the construction stage shall take steps to inform all persons who are at work on the site at the time of the selection and subsequently of the name of the safety representative.  The project supervisor construction stage must keep available for inspection by an inspector a record of the name of the site safety representative and details of the selection process.

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What can a Safety Representative do on a construction site?

The safety representative:

  • may make representations to the contractor/project supervisor construction stage as to the safety, health and welfare of employees on the construction site which must be acted on by the contractor/project supervisor for the construction stage
  • has the right to information from the project supervisor construction stage regarding the safety, health and welfare of employees
  • is given power to carry out general inspections or investigate potential hazards, on notice to the employer
  • may investigate accidents and dangerous occurrences, provided these do not interfere with the performance of any statutory function, such as the obligation to report accidents under the General Application Regulations, 1993
  • must be informed by the project supervisor construction stage that an inspector from the Health and Safety Authority has arrived at the place of work and also has the right to accompany the inspector unless the inspector is investigating a specific incident
  • may make oral or written representations to an inspector and is also entitled to receive advice and information from an inspector
  • is entitled to time off ‘as may be reasonable’ without loss of remuneration, for two purposes (a) to acquire knowledge to carry out his/her functions and (b) to carry out his/her functions e.g. conducting inspections and investigations
  • is to suffer ‘no disadvantage’ arising out of the performance of his/her duties

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Is training necessary for Safety Representatives?

Yes.  It is essential that Safety Representatives have the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their functions effectively.

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Who provides Safety Representative training - and who pays for it? 

There is an agreed syllabus for the training of safety representatives and courses are provided by trade unions and other organisations.  The employer has responsibility for training safety representatives on the specific hazards and safe systems of work in their own place of work.  No safety representative should be charged with the cost of necessary training.

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Employees

What are the duties of employees and other persons at work on a construction site?

It is the duty of every employee:

  • not to endanger themselves or others through their acts or omissions while at work
  • to co-operate with their employer to enable the employer to comply to safety and health legislation
  • to report to their employer or the contractor responsible any dangerous plant or machinery or any defect in the place of work or system of work which might endanger safety, health or welfare, of which they become aware
  • make correct use of machinery, apparatus, tools, dangerous substances, transport equipment etc.
  • make correct use of personal protective equipment, especially safety helmets, harnesses or any other personal protective equipment and return it to storage in order to avoid contamination
  • to accept reasonable offers of assessment and training especially to undertake training in relation to Safe Pass and Construction Skills Certification without loss of remuneration
  • produce Safe Pass and relevant CSCS cards when requested to do so by the PSCS or by their employer

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