Health and safety in construction: who does what?
In order to reduce the high number of occupational accidents in the construction sector, a solid culture of safety is of great importance. As an employer, you are responsible for this, but fortunately, you are not alone. Which parties still supervise the safety on your construction site and what are their responsibilities?
The basis: appoint an internal prevention advisor
Employers must initially appoint an internal prevention advisor. Do you have fewer than 20 employees? Then you can take on that task yourself or appoint an employee for it. In any case, employers with at least 20 employees must appoint an employee as internal prevention advisor.
The internal prevention advisor gives the employer and employees advice on occupational health and safety and must therefore have the necessary knowledge.
The role of other employees
The internal prevention advisor is not the only person who contributes to safety on your construction site.
- The project manager, the site manager, and the team lead each supervise, within the limits of their authority, compliance with the prevention rules on the construction site.
- Your employees ensure that they themselves always follow the safety instructions and report unsafe situations to their team lead or site manager.
- Furthermore, you also appoint an employee as a first-aid provider. He or she provides the first aid following an occupational accident and records the accident in the register of interventions.
Coordinator for larger projects
In the case of a project with at least two contractors, an approved designcoordinator and realisationcoordinator must be appointed.
- For construction works with a total surface area of at least 500 m², the client of the construction project appoints the coordinator.
- For construction works with a total surface area of less than 500 m², the architect or the employer-client (or the main contractor if an architect is not required) appoints the coordinator.
The safety coordinator ensures that cooperation between the various contractors takes place safely in both the design and construction phases. In this way, the safety of your employees is not compromised during the project.
Which organisations offer support?
If you do not have the necessary expertise internally to fulfil all safety tasks, you can count on the support of three well-being experts via an External Service for Prevention and Protection at Work (ESDPW) – such as Mensura:
- A prevention advisor-occupational physician is responsible for monitoring the health of your employees and contributes to risk analyses.
- An external prevention advisor gives advice on occupational health and safety and supports the internal prevention service.
- A psychosocial risks prevention advisor is responsible for psychosocial risks at work, such as stress and cross-border behaviour.
Lastly, Constructiv also safeguards health and safety aspects on construction sites. The service organisation of and for the construction sector does this in the form of visits, practical advice, and construction-related campaigns.
Which authorities inspect your company?
The main inspection body is the Labour Inspectorate (FPS WASO). This federal public service checks whether you apply the well-being regulations and can issue warnings, draw up official reports, and (temporarily) halt construction work.
The External Service for Technical Inspections in the Workplace (EDTC) approves certain installations for commissioning. It also carries out inspections on a regular basis afterwards.