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The future of construction regulation

The HSE is planning a new strategy that could shake up the way the construction industry is regulated.

The regulator told a meeting of the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) that it intends to re-examine the evidence base for interventions in construction. The aim is to examine HSE and industry data against a list of 29 risk categories to create a risk map for the construction industry that will allow it to prioritise its work, scaling back interventions in some areas and focusing on others.

The Industry Risk Profiles identified are: asbestos; confined spaces; contact with electricity crushed by excavation; fall from ladder; fall from open edge; fall from scaffold; fall through fragile material; fire/explosion; good order (tidy sites); lead machinery guarding; manual handling; mechanical lifting operations; MEWP operations; noise; other hazardous substances; overturning plant; public protection; silica dust; stress; struck by falling objects; struck by flying objects; struck by moving vehicle; unintended collapse; using hand/power tools; vibration; welfare and wood dust.

The Construction Sector Strategy will use sources such as RIDDOR reports, concerns reported to the HSE, Notices of Contravention, Improvement Notices, Prohibition Notices and prosecutions. “We will also consider any available sources of health data such as the Labour Force Survey,” said the executive.

The strategy “will allow more informed consideration of priorities, where action might be needed and who is best placed to bring about change: the industry, the regulator or both working together,” it added.

IIRSM welcomes this development. Technical Committee member Anne Mallory believes there are many issues in the construction industry that have historically gone unrecognised, particularly around mental health. “Anything that serves to make us think outside the box and identify boundaries beyond safety – to health and wellbeing – can only be regarded as a positive,” she says.

“There are very real operational hazards that need to be addressed, but also the wider health remit as longer term effects are a significant legacy and will continue to be so in the construction industry.”

Do you believe this strategy will help make the construction industry safer and healthier? Join the debate on LinkedIn.

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