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Health & Safety

Are you a self-builder or a contractor?

A self-builder is someone who is not in the building trade as such. If you are a butcher or lorry driver by day, and a self-builder at the weekends then you are not expected to know the HSE rules and regulations. If you then employ say Fred the bricky, then because he is from the building trade, he is expected to know what rules and regulations should be complied with.

The basic rule of thumb is that if you are in the trade then you should know what is required, if you are not in the building trade then the workers you sub-contract the work to are responsible for the safety of their men, if it is a one man band, or a small firm, then this changes nothing and he / they are still responsible for the safety of their workforce.Below is how the HSE have outlined who is responsible:

“A contractor is someone who directly employs or engages construction workers, or who controls or manages construction work. This includes companies that use their own workers to do construction work at their own premises.”

What contractors must do on all projects

You should:

  • be satisfied that you and anyone you employ (or engage) are competent and adequately resourced to deal with health and safety risks;
  • plan, manage and monitor your own work to make sure that health is protected from the outset;
  • ensure that each subcontractor is informed of the minimum amount of time that is available to plan and mobilise work;
  • provide workers who are under your control (whether employed or self-employed) with information on relevant health risks (including those that may arise from other contractor’s work) and a site induction (where not provided by a principal contractor), which they need to work safely, report problems or respond appropriately in an emergency;
  • cooperate with others who are involved with the project and coordinate activity;
  • get specialist advice (eg from an occupational hygienist) when planning high-risk work (eg work on contaminated land).”

You are welcome to call for advice on the above, the basic rules are that if you treat you site as a dangerous work area, and look to minimise any hazards, and take all precautions to maintain health and safety then you should be fine.

We would always recommend that you take out insurance to cover any mishaps that may happen, you will find further details on our Site Insurance Page.

HSE Website

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