Who manages health and safety at a construction site?

Imagine you’re an alien, new to Planet Earth and visiting a construction site for the first time. One of the first things you’ll notice is the overwhelming emphasis on health and safety. Signs and notices on the subject come at you from all angles. Hi-vis clothing and hard hats are everywhere. But who’s in charge of all this health and safety activity? And how do courses and qualifications such as SSSTS (the Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme) and SMSTS (the Site Management Safety Training Scheme) fit into the big picture?
Construction Site Supervisor

Who’s in charge is the big question, because the average site is a complicated place. With the owner/developer/client, one or more architects and several contractors and subcontractors involved, it could get chaotic.

Clients, designers, contractor

The law on health and safety at construction sites in the UK is enshrined in the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, which place primary responsibility with “The Clients” and then with the designers and contractors they appoint.

Designers are expected to “eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during construction”. If there are several contractors, the client’s duty is to appoint a “principal contractor” whose duties include planning, managing and monitoring construction work under their control “so that it is carried out without risks to health and safety”.

That’s clear, but in reality, most principal contractors and architects are only on-site occasionally.

…and managers

Someone else needs to take day-to-day responsibility for on-site health and safety, and that’s likely to be the supervisor or manager.

And that’s where the SSSTS course and the SMSTS course become important. Clients, contractors and designers retain their overall responsibility. So it’s essential that anyone they appoint to manage or supervise health and safety on the construction site is suitable, correctly trained and up to date. At Phoenix we offer both courses, but what’s the difference?

The SSSTS course

Site Supervisors’ Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) courses are aimed at people who have on-site supervisory responsibilities, or are about to acquire them. It ensures that supervisors have an understanding of health, safety, welfare, environmental and legal issues, and are equipped to promote safety to the workforce. The training programme is endorsed by the United Kingdom Contractors Group as the standard course for all supervisors who work on UKCG sites.

The SMSTS course

Further up the hierarchy, the Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is aimed at site managers, agents and people who have responsibility for planning, organising, controlling, monitoring and administering groups of workers. It covers all the relevant legislation and other issues that affect safe working in the construction, building and civil engineering industries – along with the need for effective communication to the workforce.

Talk to the Phoenix team today for free expert advice on keeping construction sites up to the mark on health and safety.