15th February, 2023
There's a lot to remember when you set up your construction site office. What documents do you need? Which paperwork should be completed? What needs to be displayed? Site set-up is a busy time for your construction project - this list will help make sure there is nothing you forget!
Health and safety requirements start the first day you step onto your construction project. And that means during site set up.
One of the areas construction health and safety advisors will look at when carrying out a site audit is how well the site office is set up and that the paperwork is in good order. These records are evidence of what has been done, and when. The HSE will also want to see certain items in your site office should they visit your site.
Paperwork and documentation are important, and not just to comply with regulations. These documents communicate information to your team that will help them work safely. And they give you a record of the procedures and safety checks in place.
What documents do you need in your site office? Which paperwork needs to be completed? What information needs to be displayed? There are lots of things to remember for health and safety when setting up your construction site.
Setting up your construction site is a busy time. You are getting a new team together, familiarising yourself with the new site, and getting to grips with the tasks ahead. Use this construction site set-up to-do list to make sure there is nothing you forget!
Or for a quick list, download the construction site set-up checklist to check you have the correct signage, documents and welfare facilities in place.
Your team is new to the site - let's set up the site office to provide them with some vital information.
Health and Safety Law Poster
Fire & Emergency Plan
Traffic Management Plan
You need somewhere to display information, and a notice board is a great place to do this. That way, everyone knows where to look for the latest notifications and updates.
Get a notice board up (most likely in the site office) to display important project information to your team
You are required to either display the health and safety law poster or provide leaflets to your workers. This is a requirement for all workplaces, including construction sites
The Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations 1989, requires employers to either display the HSE-approved law poster or to provide each of their workers with the equivalent leaflet.
The poster and leaflets are available from the HSE website. On a construction site where people come and go throughout the project, it is often easiest to display the poster in your site office.
You can display any insurance certificates relevant to the project on your site notice board.
If your employees are mostly site-based, you should display your employers' liability insurance certificate on the site (unless you provide alternative access e.g. electronic).
Your employer must display a copy of this certificate where you have reasonable access to it. If they do not, they can be fined.
This is a new construction site, and people need to know what to do in an emergency.
Display your construction fire and emergency plan in a visible place and make sure it is understood.
Construction sites have heavy machinery and people working together, which isn't a good mix if left uncontrolled. Your construction traffic management plan will include details of:
Unlike the other items in this section, safety signage might not be displayed on your notice board - or in your site office. But suitable health and safety signs should be displayed at the site perimeter and around the site.
The signs will tell people where to go, warn them of dangers, and provide safety instructions.
All CDM notifiable projects need to be notified to the HSE, and this notification should be displayed on site.
Check if your construction project is notifiable, and make sure you display a copy of the F10 notification form if it is.
Activities need to be planned so they can be carried out safely. You might not have documentation for the entire duration of the project ready at the site set-up, but you will need to prepare for the first tasks that will take place.
Permits to Work
Risk assessments are a legal requirement, so you need them for all activities on your construction site.
Short on time? We've created 200+ risk assessment templates you can edit and use for your construction activities.
Construction activities can be high-risk and complex - and that's why method statements are used in construction.
Method statements provide extra information with more detailed instructions for how to complete a task safely.
Need help creating method statements? We have 100+ method statement templates ready for you to use on your construction project.
Permits can be used to control high-risk activities on your site that can't be carried out without prior authorisation. These are usually activities like hot works, work at height, or work in confined spaces.
These types of activities might not need to happen on day one, but having permits to work ready during site set-up means you are less likely to experience delays when the task needs to get done.
These are the project documents you are going to need on every construction project. Get them in place as part of your site set-up.
Construction Phase Plan
The Construction Phase Plan is a CDM document legally required on every construction project (yes, even small projects), so make sure you have yours in place at the site set up.
Use the Construction Phase Plan Template to create yours today.
Your health and safety policy is the health and safety plan of action for your business.
If you employ 5 or more people you need a written health and safety policy and this should be easily accessible, so it makes sense to have a copy of your policy available on your construction site where work activities take place.
Every construction project is different, and your team don't just need to know how to work safely - they need to know what to work on! This information is found in the contact documents, including:
Having contract documents on the site means less confusion, and more getting things done.
Your new construction site probably contains some health and safety hazards, and you should know about these before you start work. Site surveys will uncover some of these hazards, and should be available on the site:
These documents are usually referred to as the pre-construction information.
Paperwork and records are a good way to show you are meeting your health and safety duties. Here are some of the forms you will need for the site setup.
Your site register gives you a record of who is on your site at all times. This can be useful for HR, but also H&S - if there's an emergency, you can check that everyone is safe.
Download the free construction site register, and keep track of people on your building site.
Every member of your construction team will require an induction on each new construction site they work on. Induction forms should be available on every site so that you can keep a record of inductions.
Download the free construction site induction register, or if you're not sure what to include in your induction, get the construction site induction checklist.
Toolbox talks help you raise awareness of health and safety issues with on-site safety training. Put arrangements in place so you can start delivering toolbox talks from the start of your project.
Here's 30+ free toolbox talks for construction, or check out the whole toolbox talk library.
Your team is trained and competent to do their tasks, but training can expire and needs to be kept up to date. Has asbestos awareness been refreshed? Are your first aiders still qualified?
Check training records at the site set up and when workers join the site so you can make sure training is valid for the roles you assign people.
You won't have done any site inspection yet - you're just getting started. But you will want to have regular checks to make sure rules are being followed and your site is in good order.
Providing a construction site inspection checklist to the person responsible for making checks will help them make a thorough assessment of the site.
You can stop accidents before they happen and create a safer construction site with near-miss reporting. Make sure your team know how to report near misses so that you can take action before someone has an accident.
Get the free near-miss report form and put your near-miss system into action!
PPE is important and should be available on-site. Workers might be issued with their own, but what if it gets damaged at work, and what about visitors? Make sure there is plenty of PPE available on site for the activities. As a minimum this should include:
Also, consider if you need other PPE for the project. Other PPE requirements will often include:
Ear Defenders (for noisy activities)
Dust Masks (for activities that will create dust)
Gloves (for handling sharp tools and objects, or hazardous substances)
Eye Protection (where there is a risk of projectiles)
Welfare facilities will need to be provided as part of your site set-up, as these are another legal requirement. Construction workers use toilets too!
Facilities for rest
Check your welfare facilities meet the requirements with the welfare facilities checklist form.
Of course, we hope that no accidents happen, and we plan safe working practices so they don't happen. But accidents do happen, and first aid provisions are a legal requirement.
First Aid Kit
Every site office should have a first aid kit, your first aiders will need access to a kit if they need to help a casualty. First aid kits should also be available at accessible places throughout the site on larger projects.
Time for another legal requirement - the accident book. You should have an accident book on the site at all times, so check this is included when you are setting up the site, and fill it in if an accident occurs.
The Accident Book is an essential document for employers and employees, who are required by law to record and report details of specified work-related injuries and incidents.
In case of fire, have at least one fire extinguisher in the site office or compound and more throughout the site where needed at accessible locations.
Check you have the right type of extinguishers for the kinds of fires you are at risk of.
Missing any documentation? Our health and safety templates will help get your project started. Complete the construction site set-up checklist to check you have the correct signage, documents and welfare set up in place.
This article was written by Emma at HASpod. Emma has over 10 years experience in health and safety and BSc (Hons) Construction Management. She is NEBOSH qualified and Tech IOSH.
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