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Risk Management In The Building Industry Construction Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Construction
Wordcount: 3349 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The construction industry is one of the most dangerous industries in the UK. For this reason, the CDM Regulations (2007) were introduced to generate a culture of safety in the industry as a whole and, through this, to reduce the number of accidents experienced. The aim of the regulations was to improve the overall management and coordination of health, safety and welfare throughout all stages of a construction project. The CDM Regulations (2007) place a duty on all of those involved in construction projects to ensure that their take account of health and safety at every stage from design through construction to operation and maintenance of a building (PROjEN plc, 2010). However, statistics issued by the Health and Safety Executive (2011) show that despite the introduction of the CDM Regulations (2007), the construction industry remains the industry with the largest number of fatal injuries, with 2.2 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2009/10. This is a decrease of 32% when compared with the previous year, however still the highest compared to all other industries. The industry was responsible for 35% of all reported injuries involving falling from a height and 24.8% involving electricity (HSE 2010). It is clear, then, that the CDM Regulations (2007) have had some positive effects on safety within the industry. It is also clear that there are further changes needed.

The HSE (2011) have issued guidelines on risk assessment and management within the construction industry with the aim of reducing injury to all those involved, including the site workers, visitors to a site and the general public (HSE 2011).This paper deals with the health and safety risks and risk management of building a specific house in a residential area.

Risk management involves identifying, evaluating and choosing strategies to keep uncertainty and risk at a tolerable level. Good risk management does not necessarily eliminate a risk however it does enable a contractor to deal with potential risks (Weatherhead et al. 2005).

In risk management, all potential risks are identified along with the consequences of that risk. A contractor can then formulate a response to a risk, by controlling it, avoiding it or transferring it. Risks can be controlled by eliminating that particular element of the work, by redesigning an element or by using a different method of construction. A risk is also controlled by providing more staff training or increasing supervision on site (Edwards 1995). Alternatively, the risk can be transferred to the party who is best placed to handle that risk such as a specialist sub-contractor (Smith 2003).

Identification of Risks and Risk Management

It is assumed, that the Castleford Homes will be the main contractor on site, with design details provided by a structural engineer and specialist contractors will be used as necessary.

The work is divided into two stages, site mobilisation and construction.


Who is affected

Description of Risk

Risk Management

Mobilisation Stage

Inadequate information regarding programme of work

All site operatives and sub-contractors

There is no obvious programme of work. A programme of work is essential to ensure control of a project (Cooke &Williams 2004: p. 108). This data is essential to ensure that the correct personnel are on site with the necessary materials at the correct time.

Contractor to prepare detailed programme of work

Contractor to prepare resource and plant schedules.

Programmes to be prepared before site work starts.

Method statements for individual tasks to be prepared by contractor or nominated person.

Contractor to identify safety personnel including first aid officer and planning supervisor.

Welfare facilities

All site workforce

Welfare facilities- Regulation 22 of The Health and Safety at Work Act requires that the contractor provide welfare facilities with supply of water, sanitary and washing facilities. The site plan indicates an area for accommodation, however does not provide specific details. (Chudley &Greeno 2006: p. 10).

Contractor to check adequate facilities provided before site work begins.

Hazards to general public

General Public

General public need to be aware of the site and that they should not enter without consent.

Contractor to ensure that site boundary is clearly defined and protected by secure fencing.

Contractor to provide site signage in accordance with CDM regulations 27.2.

Water hazard – Working close to river

All Site staff Visitors

The site is bounded on one side by a river.

Contractor to ensure at site induction that all personnel should be made aware of the risks of working close to a waterway.

Contractor to ensure adequate, clearly visible, safety rescue equipment should be available at rivers edge, in accordance with Health and Safety Regulations (Chudley &Greeno 2006).


Who is affected

Description of Risk

Risk Management

Safety at site

Site staff

General public

Vehicle drivers

The site is accessed from Wey Road, which appears to be a residential road. The access is very narrow and with minimal space for unloading/turning. Sight lines may also be obscured due to the presence of trees with tree protection orders.

Extend the width of the access and trim vegetation.

Assign a site operative ( in high visibility clothing) with responsibility for access/egress and turning of vehicles to site.

Contractor to ensure adequate site traffic turning signage on route

Safety on residential road

Site staff

General public

Road users

Limited car parking for site staff. Parked cars could potentially block road and cause safety hazard.

Contractor to provide on site parking.

If possible Contractor to instigate car sharing or pick up point off site.

Unforeseen services and obstructions

Pipelayers, Trench operatives

The data on the project drawings is based on a site with existing buildings and does not show the location of existing services, drainage or other potential obstructions. This is major risk.

Contractor to obtain copy of existing data held by designer/structural engineer.

Contractor to supplement data as necessary with pre-construction survey of the site.

In-situ services to be clearly identified for all workers to see.

Restricted Access to material store

Site staff

Delivery staff

Sub Contractors

Material Store is located to the rear of the site. This location will not be easily accessible due to existing TPO and demolition work.

Contractor can improve assess by ensuring that area to east of proposed house is cleared first. As demolition advances, an access could be formed along the east of the site. Contractor to assign site operative for deliveries.

Hazardous stored material

Site Staff

Sub Contractors

Storage area is identified on site, however no further details in specification.

Contractor to assign site operative with training and responsibility for organising material store, separating hazardous materials as necessary.

Material store to be fenced off with access limited by responsible site operative.

Contractor to plan deliveries to minimise volume of material stored on site.


Who is affected

Description of Risk

Risk Management

Risk of flooding of material store area

Material store at 11.3m OD. River has flooded to 11.39m OD with maximum recorded level of 11.86m OD (EA 2011). Some materials stored may react with water.

Contractor to ensure materials susceptible to water damage to be raised above 11.86m OD

Risk of accident due to TPO trees and roots

Site staff

Sub Contractors

Site visitors

There are a number of trees with preservation orders (TPO). A TPO prohibits affecting the trees, with penalties including stopping the works and issue potential penalty of up to £20,000. However, the trees form an obstruction and their roots potential tripping hazards.

Contractor to ensure that each tree must be protected, with a protective 1.2m high fence erected prior to the start of works, such that the area protected around the tree is either the distance of the crown spread of the tree or half the height of the tree, whichever is greater (CLG 2009).


Risk of water in excavated trenches


Excavating operatives and machine drivers

There is no data available on ground conditions and water table level. If river rises, water table likely to rise and greater chance of ground water in trenches. This increases likelihood of trench collapse.

Contractor to establish water table levels.

Contractor to have pumping equipment available or design temporary drainage to de-water trenches.

Risk of open trenches

Machine drivers, site workers.

Open trenches crossing the site pose a risk for machine drivers and site workers.

Contractor to plan trenching operations to minimise time trenches open. Assign a site operative with excavating machines.

Risk of existing services

Machine drivers, site workers

High Risk – There are gas, electric, water and drainage services on the site. These services have to be located as risk of cutting through services, particularly electric and gas.

Contractor to locate and identify location of existing services.

Contractor to plan work near services that requires operatives to use hand tools as necessary to confirm exact location before carrying out trenching works (HSE 2011).

Collapse of trenching

Pipelayers, site staff, machines operators

The site is liable to flooding and the water table levels are therefore unpredictable. There is insufficient information on drawings with respect to pipe depths for services, drainage and rain harvesting tank.

Contractor to obtain more detailed design information from designer. Trenching to be shored using suitable temporary support to prevent collapse.

Dewatering equipment to be available as necessary.


Who is affected

Description of Risk

Risk Management

Hazardous operation Demolition

Site staff

Visitors to site

Residents adjacent to site

The works include demolition of existing glasshouses, conservatory, garages, shed and shelter and existing house.

Contractor to prepare detailed method statements for each section of demolition work, taking account of age of structure, type of construction and weight of removed materials on above ground level.

Contractor to consider using specialist sub-contractor for work.

Site operators to be trained in demolition techniques.

Noise and vibration

Site operatives

The level of noise and disturbance will depend on equipment used. Also vibrating hand tools used to break up materials can cause vibration syndrome in workers.

Contractor to consider noise and vibration of task when preparing method statement.

Demolition of existing buildings- falls from height, falling debris

Site staff

Visitors to site

Residents adjacent to site

The works include demolition of existing house. There is a risk that operatives could fall from scaffolding. High Risk Task. There is a risk that workers could be hit with falling debris.

Contractor must ensure that all operatives are trained and equipped to carry out the work. Safety netting and other protective sheeting to be installed on scaffolding as necessary.

Work to be carried out in accordance with method statement

Demolition of glass houses

Site staff

Visitors to site

Residents adjacent to site

Residents of east side are close to glasshouses that are to be demolished.

Contractor must ensure that all operatives are trained and equipped to carry out the work.


Risk of safety to workers with demolition

Site staff

Visitors to site

Local Residents

Rubble to collected and taken off site which requires truck movements in tight residential access.

Reuse material as hardcore to reduce vehicle movements on site. Residual hazard of crushing rock on site dealt with by using trained operatives and appropriate equipment.


Who is affected

Description of Risk

Risk Management

Piling – hazardous operation.

Site Staff

Piling operatives

Local residents

The equipment used to drive a pile is dependent on the type of pile, the depth to which it must be driven and the soil conditions. Piles can be driven by dropping weights; explosion; vibration and jacking against a reaction. Virtually all methods are noisy.

(Tomlinson &Woodward 2008).

Non Displacement Piles or replacement piles are generally bored piles; this technique involves removing soil by boring the ground, the remaining hole is then filled with either concrete or reinforced concrete. (Fleming et al. 2008). Risks dependent on method used.

Contractor to obtain more design information including exact location and type of piles. Method statement to be prepared by specialist contractor and assessed by contractor.

Risk of unforeseen obstruction reduced by ground condition survey or trial pits.

Access to site dependent on pile type.

Reduce disruption to neighbours by advance planning.

Site operatives to have protective equipment for noise.

Risk of working at height

Site operatives

There is a limit within which a worker can access a task from the ground so temporary support required. As the walls are constructed the workers will have to work from scaffolding. Ladders maybe used between scaffolding levels only.

Contractor to prepare method statements, identifying work to be carried out, define method of achieving that work and equipment needed.

Contractor to provide training for operatives.

Safe and convenient working surfaces to be provided. Contractor to provide safe horizontal working platforms. Contractor to provide safe horizontal and vertical access to building work (Emmett &Gorse 2006).

Scaffolding to be fitted with double guardrail and to boards.

Site operatives to be fitted with safety equipment, hard hats.

Contractor to ensure that all ladders are in good conditions and fixed into position on scaffolding for duration of the work


Who is affected

Description of Risk

Risk Management

Risk of working at height- roof


Site staff

Working at height on a roof is a high risk activity; main risks include falling through fragile materials, over edge, through openings (HSE 2011). The roof on this scheme is a mix of shapes and slopes which further complicates the task.

Contractor to prepare method statement.

Contractor to use experienced staff with suitable training or consider using specialist sub-contractor.

Scaffolding to be provided to suitable height with edge protection along perimeter of roof.

Crane access for precast floor slabs

Site Staff

Crane operative

The first and second floor slabs have to be lifted into place. Site is restricted with mature protected trees and tight access. Risks include load falling during lifting operation, collapse of crane, site staff being struck by moving loads/machinery.

Contractor to prepare method statement.

Contractor to provide site access information to plant hire company including site visit if possible.

Contractor to ensure that crane capable of lifting required load.

Contractor to assign experienced operative to supervise the lifting operation.

Lifting equipment to be examined on arrival on site and at intervals through use.

Damage to overhead cables

Working at crane height may damage existing services

Visual check of overhead cables not shown on drawing.

Hazardous operation – electrics

Design omissions as there are no services drawings for electrics including internal wall sockets or light fittings. Area is at risk of flooding therefore cables and fitting should be placed above flood level.

Contractor to obtain Light fitting and electric outlet schedule.

All work to be carried out by qualified electrician.

Hazardous operation -gas services

Gas Heating system to be installed and connected to mains gas supply. Insufficient detail with respect to service required – gas system no details of location of radiators or boiler or gas entry to building.

Contractor to obtain additional information.

Schedule of fixings required.

Sub contractor to be notified of time for delivery of operation.

Gas to be installed and commissioned by qualified plumber.


Who is affected

Description of Risk

Risk Management

Risk – installing windows

Joiners, Glaziers, Site staff

Insufficient information on schedule for windows, however risk can be reduced if window manufacturers off site and installed on site.

Schedule of windows required. Contractor to discuss use of off-site manufacturing with designer.

Contractor to advise manufacturer of programme of work.

Scaffolding to remain in place for window installation.

Below ground services clash

Site operatives

Insufficient information on drawing with respect to below ground drainage, connection to mains or to house. No layout or depth. Potential clash with existing services.

Contractor to establish existing services survey as above.

Information to be clearly indicated on construction drawing.

Hazardous hot material – risk of personal injury.

Site operatives.

Site staff.

Working at height with hot materials on balconies, the material could potentially burn the workers or spill down to those working below.

Supervisor training required.

Experienced operatives with adequate protective clothing and equipment.

Hazardous hot material – risk of fire.

Site staff

Local Residents

Risk that using hot materials could lead to fire on site.

Contractor to ensure that adequate emergency training for site staff, including fire gathering point location off site and clear lines of responsibilities for site staff, with effective procedure in place to raise alarm.

Flood risk

All site staff

The site is bounded by River Wey which has a history of flodding (EA2011).

Contractor to prepare emergency procedures in the event of site flooding, including allocating responsibility for ensuring procedures carried out and staff alerted.


In each project a contractor has three principal objectives, a project delivered on time, within budget and to a particular designed quality. A contractor is also legally obligated to provide a safe working environment and safe practices for workers and the general public (Emmitt & Gorse 2006). A successful safe project can be achieved through careful risk management. The construction industry could be a safer environment for those working in the industry and the general public through simple careful planning. It is obvious that this risk management should involve all parties including the client, the designer, the contractor and sub-contractors..


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