An induction is something you would usually expect to get when you start a new job. A safety briefing about your new workplace. Inductions at work are a standard procedure and usually carried out when you first begin work at a new business or department. It introduces you to the workplace, the environment, the rules and requirements. So how is this different in construction? And when do you need an induction on a construction site?
Well, the same rules apply, but they are slightly stricter.
If you work in construction, you won't be expected to have an induction just when you start work with a new company or business. Instead, you should have an induction whenever you start work on a new site.
That's right, every construction site you visit or work on should carry out an appropriate induction. And each new project you go to means a new induction.
Why so many inductions?
If we look at the type of work, and the kind of projects, that construction work involves, we can see why inductions in construction are extra important.
Let's consider an office workplace. If you work in an office, you are likely to be walking into the same, or very similar environment each day. The layout is static, you might even be at the same desk every day. Your colleagues and you will be doing the same type of work each day, in terms of the tools you use and the risks involved.
Now let's consider a construction site. It could new build or refurbishment. You might be building something, or knocking it down. You are often working with different trades. No two sites have the same layout. You may have the site office in the building, or it could be a cabin at the entrance. You might be working on one floor of the building, or be working on the entire site. Other trades on the site could be excavating, using machinery, connecting services or removing asbestos.
In construction every site is different. The work being carried out is different, the location is different, the team can be different, the first-aid arrangements may be different, the hazards are different. You get the idea. Many things can and do change from project to project.
And construction work is high-risk. So it's not just that things have changed, but that those things could harm you and your team. If you have just started on a new site you need to know these things and how they affect you. If you don’t know the site rules, what to avoid, or what to do in the event of an emergency, the consequences could be serious.
You need to know how to get to the area you are working safely, and how to get out safely. Where to go if something goes wrong. Where to report to. What safety measures you need to take. Who is in charge. Who can you ask for help if you need it? What tools can you use?
What was right on your last project, might be wrong on this one. Your last project might have used scaffold access but this one uses scissor lifts. Your last project may have had asbestos removed but this one has it remaining undisturbed. Your last project might not have involved other trades but this one does. Your last project might have been a fit-out, and this one involves demolition. Two projects can be worlds apart.
This is why a construction site induction is needed on every project. And it's not just a recommendation. Construction site inductions are a legal requirement. The rules are covered in the construction-specific CDM Regulations.
(4) The principal contractor must ensure that—
- a suitable site induction is provided;
(9) The information provided must include—
- a suitable site induction, where not already provided by the principal contractor;
Both the principal contractor and contractors have duties when it comes to the construction site induction. Firstly, the principal contractor must make sure a suitable site induction is provided. And secondly, contractors must make sure the induction is provided if it hasn't been by the principal contractor (for example on one-contractor projects where there is no principal contractor).
Site inductions are so important you shouldn't just be giving them to workers, but to anyone who comes on your site. The client, engineers, designers etc. You should also consider if visitors need a construction site induction. Because the site hazards are a risk to anyone on the site, not just those working there every day.
You might think that a site induction should be carried out on the first day of the project. And it should for those that start work on the first day. But don't forget that in construction, different trades start at different times.
Inductions need to be given on the first day of the project, but also every time someone new starts. Some contractors might not start work on the project for a couple of months after the project started, and they still need to be inducted. Whenever someone new arrives, they must be given the information they need to stay safe.
No matter who you are, if you are working on a construction site, make sure you have been inducted.
Use the construction site induction form to carry out and keep a record of your construction site induction.