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 Construction Health and Safety Checklist

This checklist identifies some of the hazards most commonly found on construction sites. The questions it asks are intended to help you decide whether your site is a safe and healthy place to work. It is not exhaustive live. More detailed information can be found in other HSE publications.
A range of plant and equipment (eg scaffolds, cranes, hoists, electrical equipment and excavations) needs to be inspected on a regular basis by a competent person to ensure safety. Records of inspections may also be required. Further details on these particular inspections are given at the back of the report form also included in this section.
Regular inspection is important but it is also essential that when defects are identified by the inspection, or reported by people using the equipment, either the defects are remedied immediately or work is stopped until necessary repairs are completed.
Access on site
          Can everyone get to their place of work safely – and work there safely?
          Are access routes in good condition and clearly signposted?
          Are edges which people could fall from provided with double guard rails or other suitable edge protection?
          Are holes protected with clearly marked and fixed covers to prevent falls?
          Are temporary structures stable, adequately braced and not overloaded?
          Will permanent structures remain stable during any refurbishment or demolition work?
          Is the site tidy, and are materials stored safely?
          Is lighting adequate, especially when work is being carried on after dark outside or inside buildings?
          Are scaffolds erected, altered and dismantled by competent people?
          Are all uprights provided with base plates (and, where necessary, timber sole plates)?
          Are all uprights, ledgers, braces and struts in position?
          Is the scaffold secured to the building or structure in enough places to prevent collapse?
          Are there double guard rails and toe boards, or other suitable protection, at every edge, to prevent falling?
          Are additional brick guards provided to prevent materials falling from scaffolds?
          Are the working platforms fully boarded and are the boards arranged to avoid tipping or tripping?
          Are there effective barriers or warning notices in place to stop people using an incomplete scaffold, eg where working platforms are not fully boarded?
          Is the scaffold strong enough to carry the weight of materials stored on it and are these evenly distributed?
          Are scaffolds being properly maintained?
     Are staff and contractors instructed not to alter the scaffold without the permission of the competent person?
          Does a competent person inspect the scaffold regularly, eg at least once a week; and always after it has been altered or damaged and following extreme weather?
          Are the results of inspections recorded?
          Have proprietary tower scaffolds been erected and are they being used in accordance with suppliers’ instructions?
          Have the wheels of tower scaffolds been locked when in use and are the platforms empty when they are moved?
          Are ladders the right way to the job? Don’t work from a ladder if there is a better way?
          Are they in good condition?
          Do ladders rest against a solid surface and not on fragile or insecure materials?
          Are they secured to prevent them slipping sideways or outwards?
          Do ladders rise a sufficient height above their landing place? If not, are other hand-holds available?
          Are the ladders positioned so that users do not have to overstretch?
         Are ladders set as near as possible at the 1 in 4 slope?
Roof work
          Is there edge protection to stop people or materials falling?
          During industrial roofing, have nets been provided to stop people falling from the leading edge of the roof and from partially fixed sheets?
          Where nets are used, have they been hung safely?
          Have you identified fragile materials such as cement sheets and roof lights?
          Have you taken precautions to stop people falling through fragile materials when working on the roof eg by providing barriers, covers or working platforms?
          Are people kept away from the area below the roof work? If this is not possible, have additional precautions been taken to stop debris falling onto them?
          Is there adequate support for the excavation, or has it been sloped or battered back to a safe angle?
          Is there a safe method used for putting in the support, without people working in an unsupported trench?
          Is there safe access into the excavation, eg a sufficiently long, secured ladder?
          Are there barriers or other protection to stop people and vehicles falling in?
          Are properly secured stop blocks provided to prevent tipping vehicles falling in?
          Could the excavation affect the stability of neighbouring structures or services?
          Are materials, spoil and plant stored away from the edge of the excavation to reduce the chance of collapse?
          Is the excavation regularly inspected by a competent person?
Manual handling
          Are there heavy materials such as roof trusses, concrete lintels, kerbstones or bagged products which could cause problems, if they have to be moved by hand?
            If so, can you:
·      Choose lighter materials?
·      Use wheelbarrows, hoists, telehandlers, and other plant or equipment so that manual lifting or heavy objects is kept to a minimum?
·      Order materials such as cement and aggregates in 25 kg bags?
·      Avoid the repetitive laying of heavy building blocks weighing more than 20kg
Traffic, vehicles and plant
          Are vehicles and pedestrians kept apart?
            If not, do you:
·      Separate them as much as you can and use barriers?
·      Tell people about the problem, and what to do about it?
·      Display warning signs?
          Is there adequate clearance around slewing vehicles?
          Can reversing be avoided, eg by using a one-way system or, if not, are properly trained signalers used?
          Are vehicles and plant properly maintained eg do the steering lights, handbrake and footbrake work properly?
          Have drivers received proper training and are they competent for the vehicles or plant they are operating?
          Are loads properly secured?
          Have you made sure that passengers are only carried on vehicles designed to carry them?
          Have you made sure that plant and vehicles are not used on dangerous slopes?
Tools and machinery
          Are the right tools or machinery being used for the job?
          Are all dangerous parts guarded, eg gears, chains drives, projecting engine shafts?
          Are guards secured and in good repair?
          Are tools and machinery maintained in good repair and are all safety devices operating correctly?
          Are all operators trained and competent?
Powered access equipment
          Has the equipment been installed by a competent person?
          Are the operators trained and competent?
          Is the safe working load clearly marked?
          Is the equipment inspected by a competent person?
          Does the working platform of the powered access equipment have adequate, secure guard rails and toe boards or other barriers or systems to prevent people and/or materials falling off?
          Have precautions been taken to prevent people being struck by:
·      The moving platform;
·      Projections from the building; or
·      Falling materials?
          Has the equipment been installed by a competent person?
          Are the operators trained and competent?
          Is the rated capacity clearly marked and adhered too?
          Are the hoists inspected by a competent person?
          Does the hoist have a current report of thorough examination and a record of inspection?
          Is there a suitable base enclosure to prevent people from being struck by any moving part of the hoist?
          Are the landing gates kept shut except when the platform is at the landing?
          Are controls arranged so that the hoist can be operated from one position only?
          Is the crane suitable for the job?
        Does the crane have a current report of through examination and record of inspection?
          Has the lift been properly planned?
          Is the crane on a firm level base; are the riggers properly set?
          Have you made arrangements to make sure the driver can see the load or has a signaler been provided to help?
         Are the crane driver and signaler trained and competent?
          Is the load secure?
          Has the signaller/slinger been trained to give signals and to attach loads correctly?
          Are people stopped from walking or working beneath a raised load?
Fire and emergencies
          Are there emergency procedures eg for evacuating the site in case of fire, or for rescue from a confined space?
          Do people on site know what the procedures are?
          Is there a means of raising the alarm, and does it work?
          Is there a way to contact the emergency services from site?
          Are there adequate escape routes and are these kept clear?
          Is there adequate first-aid provision?
         Is there suitable access maintained for any emergency vehicle?
          Is the quantity of flammable materials, liquids and gases on site kept to a minimum?
          Are they properly stored?
          Are suitable containers used for flammable liquids?
          Are flammable gas cylinders returned to a ventilated store at the end of the shift?
          Are smoking and other ignition sources banned in areas where gases or flammable liquids are stored or used?
          Are gas cylinders, associated hoses and equipment properly maintained and in good condition?
          When gas cylinders are not in use, are the valves fully closed?
          Is flammable and combustible waste removed regularly and stored in suitable bins or skips?
          Are suitable fire extinguishers provided?
Hazardous substances
          Have you identified all harmful substances and materials, such as asbestos, lead, solvents, paints, cement and dust?
          Have you checked whether a licensed contractor is needed to deal with asbestos on site? (Most work with asbestos requires a licence, although you can do some very limited work with material which contain asbestos without one).
          Have you identified and put into place precautions to prevent or control exposure to hazardous substances, by:
·      Doing the work in a different way, to remove the risk entirely
·      Using a less hazardous material; or
·      Using tools fitted with dust extraction?
          Have workers had information and training so they know what the risks are from the hazardous substances used and produced on site, and what they need to do to avoid the risks?
          Have you got procedures to prevent contact with wet cement (as this can cause both dermatitis and cement burns)?
          Have you arranged health surveillance for people using certain hazardous substances (eg lead)?
Confined spaces
          Do you work in confined spaces where there may be an inadequate supply of oxygen or the presence of poisonous or flammable gas? If so, have you taken all necessary precautions?
          Confined spaces include tanks, sewers and manholes: they do not have to look dirty to be dangerous!
          Have workers had information and training so they know what the risks are from noise on site, and what they need to do to avoid those risks?
          Have you identified and assessed workers’ exposure to noise?
          Can the noise be reduced by using different working methods or selecting quieter plant eg fitting breakers and other plant or machinery with silencers?
          Are people not involved in the work kept away from the source of the noise?
          Is suitable hearing protection provided and worn in noisy areas?
          Have hearing protection zones been marked?
          Have you arranged health surveillance for people exposed to high levels of noise?
Hand-arm vibration
         Have workers had information and training so they know what the risks are from hand-arm vibration (HAV) on site, and what they need to do to avoid those risks?
          Have you identified and assessed risks to workers from prolonged use of vibrating tools such as concrete breakers, angle grinders or hammer drills?
          Has exposure to HAV been reduced as much as possible be selecting suitable work methods and plant?
          Are reduced-vibration tools used whenever possible?
          Have vibrating tools been properly maintained?
          Have you arranged health surveillance for people exposed to high levels of hand-arm vibration, especially when exposed for long periods?
          Are toilets readily available and are they kept clean and properly lit?
          Are there washbasins, hot and cold (or warm) running water, soap and towels?
          Are the washbins large enough to wash up to the elbow and are they kept clean?
          Is there somewhere to change, dry and store clothing?
          Are drinking water and cups provided?
          Is there a place where workers can sit, make hot drinks and prepare food?
          Can everyone who needs to use them get to the welfare facilities easily and safely?
Electricity and other services
          Have all necessary services been provided on site before work begins and have you also identified existing services present on site (eg electric cables or gas mains) and taken effective steps, if necessary, to prevent danger from them?
          Are you using low voltage for tools and equipment eg battery-operated tools or low voltage systems?
          Where mains voltage has to be used, are trip devices, eg residual current devices (RCDs) provided for all equipment?
          Are RCDs checked daily by users and properly maintained?
          Are cables and leads protected from damage?
          Are all connections to the system properly made and are suitable plugs used?
          Are tools and equipment checked by users, visually examined on site and regularly inspected and tested by a competent person?
          Where there are overhead lines, has the electricity supply been turned off, or have other precautions been taken, such as providing ‘goal posts’ or taped markers?
          Have hidden electricity cables and other services been located (eg with a locator and plans) and marked, and have you taken precautions for safe working?
Protecting the public
          Is the work fenced off from the public?
          Are roadworks barriered off and lit?
          Are the public protected from falling material?
          When work has stopped for the day:
·      Is the boundary secure and undamaged?
·      Are all ladders removed or their rungs boarded so that they cannot be used?
·      Are excavations and openings securely covered or fenced off?
·      Is all plant immobilized to prevent unauthorised use?
·      Are bricks and materials safely stacked within the fenced perimeter ?
·      Are flammable or dangerous substances locked away in secure storage places?