2nd May, 2023

Do You Need A Construction Site Induction For Visitors?

You carry out inductions for workers on your construction site, but what about people visiting your site? Architects, surveyors, clients, and others that visit on a one-off or infrequent basis? These visitors might only be on site for a short time - do they need an induction?

Do You Need A Construction Site Induction For Visitors? header image

We've discussed before how construction site inductions are a legal requirement. Every worker needs one. But what about people that aren't carrying out any construction work? Do they need to be inducted?

You'll probably have people that visit your site from time to time. They might only stay for an hour or less. Maybe a walk around with the client, or the architect needs to take some measurements, or the project manager is checking on progress.

The CDM requirement for visitor inductions

The CDM regulations apply to all construction projects and includes the legal requirement to provide site inductions.

It's the duty of the principal contractor* under the Construction (Design & Management) Regulations (CDM) to provide inductions. But does that include visitors? Let's take a look at what the regulations say: So we can have a look at their duties to get more of an idea.

(4) The principal contractor must ensure that—

  1. a suitable site induction is provided;

Ok, that doesn't really clear things up. It says an induction must be provided but doesn't say to who. It doesn't mention visitors (or workers for that matter).

*Contractors also need to provide inductions where not already provided by the principal contractor. But again, there's no specific mention of visitors.

At this point, you might be thinking you could get away with not providing an induction to visitors. But let's not be hasty.

The regulations say a suitable induction is provided. It doesn't include visitors specifically, but it doesn't exclude visitors either. And by not saying exactly who the induction must be provided to, it means the induction must be given to everyone on your site (and that includes visitors).

person in hi-viz

Why visitors need a site induction

The purpose of a construction induction is to provide people with the information they need to stay safe on site.

Anyone entering your site may need certain information so that they can stay safe. This could be especially important for visitors, who might not be familiar with the site, or construction sites in general.

Employers have a duty of care to anyone who may be affected by their work. And visitors to your construction sites could certainly be affected by your work. They are exposed to the same site-wide hazards as the workers on the site.

And employer responsibilities include the need to ensure that employees and others are protected. Visitors might not be your employees, but you still need to keep them safe!

It shall be the duty of every employer to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons not in his employment who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.

If a visitor is entering your site, they may need to know certain information to stay safe. For example, do they need to sign in? Are there any areas they need to stay away from? Who do they report to? What do they need to wear? Do they need any special equipment?

do not enter sign

The official guidance for visitor inductions

We can find more information on the requirements for providing inductions to visitors in the HSE-published guidance managing health and safety in construction (L153).

Site inductions should also be provided to those who do not regularly work on the site, but who visit it on an occasional (eg architects) or once-only basis (eg students). The inductions should be proportionate to the nature of the visit.

This guidance officially confirms that visitors do need to be provided with inductions.

It makes sense if you think about it. Just because someone only visits the site once, doesn't make them at less risk. If anything, they could be at more risk.

Extra risks for construction site visitors

If you are unfamiliar with the site, you don't know what to watch out for. You are less likely to know where to go.

And if you only visit once in a while, things have probably changed a lot since your last visit. You may feel disorientated.

danger excavations sign

Students and other visitors that are young or inexperienced can be less health and safety aware. They might not fully understand risks or be able to spot hazards.

Providing an induction allows the site manager to give a visitor the information they need to stay safe. It also gives them a chance to assess the capabilities of the visitor. Do they need close supervision or escorting on the site? Do they have the right equipment? Do they need providing with any - like a safety helmet, hi-viz or suitable footwear?

What to include in your visitor induction

Construction site inductions take a bit of time. Your inductions need to include site risks, project information, and all the information your workers need to know throughout the project.

Isn't that a bit overkill for a visitor that is only on the site for an hour? Will they even have the time?

What about if your visitor never leaves the site office? Like a cleaner? Or if they are escorted to where they need to go? Like a delivery driver? Surely you are not expected to give them a full induction?

No, you're not.

hard hats on construction site cabin

Firstly because a full induction for someone who is only entering a low-risk area of the site, or will not be exposed to any serious hazards would not be "proportionate to the nature of the visit".

And secondly, the guidance goes further to say that:

Inductions provided to escorted visitors need not have the detail that unescorted visitors should have. Escorted visitors only need to be made aware of the main hazards they may be exposed to and the control measures.

So, if you are planning to escort your visitor around the site at all times, they don't need as much information. You can shrink your induction to the information they need and cover the main hazards and control measures that impact the visit.

Because you are supervising them, you can make sure they stay away from any other areas and keep a close eye on their safety.

Use the construction site induction checklist to cover important topics, and the free construction site induction register to keep a record.

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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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