For builders across the UK, the need to be compliant with all things relating to health and safety has never been more important.
Having a sound health and safety policy can bring new opportunities and is something that in the current economic downturn, should be seriously considered.
According to Anthony Botibol, Marketing Manager at HBXL, being health and safety compliant is something builders can do very easily, especially if they make use of IT and software that produces all the relevant paperwork for any job at the click of a button.
The new Health & Safety Offences Act 2008 came into force on 16 January 2009.
Brought in to increase penalties, it provides courts with greater sentencing powers for those who break health and safety law and has three main points:
1. The Act has raised the maximum fi ne which may be imposed in the lower courts to £20,000 for most health and safety offences
2. It makes imprisonment an option for more health and safety offences in both the lower and higher courts
3. It makes certain offences, which are currently triable only in the lower courts, triable in either the lower or higher courts.
So builders must now be even more vigilant in the way they run their sites and businesses.
Commenting on the new Act Anthony said: “The introduction of this new Act sends out an important message to those who push the boundaries. Those who cut corners, fail to comply with health and safety law or who put workers and the public at risk should be very worried.
“Good builders though have nothing to fear and being compliant with health and safety doesn’t mean they have to spend precious resources using specialists or investing their own time to make sure they’re on the right side of the law. Instead, investing in software such as Health & Safety Xpert makes the whole process easy.
“Its built-in knowledge base determines the likely tasks and risks involved in the project for you. It cuts down the time it would normally take and is much cheaper than employing a health and safety consultant.”
Lack of awareness
A survey carried out by HBXL showed that 47 percent of builders didn’t know whether the CDM (Construction Design Management) Regulations 2007 applied to them and highlights a huge lack of understanding.
Anthony said: “The introduction of the new CDM regulations meant that all building companies have to adhere to the new updated CDM laws.
“The revised scheme was brought in to help reduce the regulatory burden on the construction industry and improve the level of health and safety but it seems there is still confusion about its application.
“The key objective of CDM 2007 was to simplify and clarify the regulations. It is often very diffi cult for building businesses to know where to start on health and safety, but it’s important if they haven’t already put plans in place to do so immediately.
“Health & Safety Xpert has been designed specifi cally to help builders comply with all health and safety paperwork and interprets the ACOP (Approved Code of Practice) for CDM 2007, producing all the necessary paperwork.”
Opportunity to expand
Although the primary reason for having sound health and safety procedures is ensuring safety on site, Anthony believes it may also provide opportunities for builders to expand, and follows pressure by groups such as the FMB to fast track the planning process to release and designate land for social housing.
Should this happen, then, according to Anthony, the winners will be those who can submit the right health and safety paperwork during the tender process, and using Health & Safety Xpert will place them at the front of the queue when contracts are awarded.
He said: “The current financial climate could see the return of a lot more social housing as the Government plans to enable local authorities to build more affordable homes. This in turn should help both the construction industry and the economy.
“The FMB warned the Government not to forget the small builders, the ‘backbone of the economy’, when it comes to dealing out these new jobs.
“If you are one of those small builders it is also down to you to make sure that you are in a position to win the work by being able to submit health and safety paper work with your quote.”
Exclusive offers for all FMB Members
Health & Safety Xpert costs £649 (ex VAT)
Buy Health & Safety Xpert and you can:
Save £100 ex VAT
Get a FREE place at CDM 2007 training course worth £149 ex VAT
For further information on Health & Safety Xpert or any other HBXL product call 0870 850 2444 or visit www.hbxl.co.uk
Health & Safety Xpert costs £649 (ex VAT)
FMB members can also benefit from a discount by quoting their FMB membership number.