The Health and Safety Inspection according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Hygiene, is a safety technique that consists of the preventive analysis carried out by direct observation of the facilities, equipment and production processes to identify existing hazards and evaluate the risks in the workplace and thus avoid accidents and work incidents and occupational diseases.
The health and safety inspection in construction sites are
never well received (especially if they also carry a subsequent fine) but they
are a necessary preventive activity that together with the work of the agents
involved in a construction site (site manager, execution director, health and
safety coordinator, workers and constructor) develop and complete a work
without any incident / accident of employees in a building work.
It is important that the aforementioned intervening agents get involved in the building inspection, detection and correction activities and thus send a message of involvement to the workers, who are the main involved / affected in accident prevention.
The Ministry of Employment and social security has updated on June 28, 2017 a labor guide in order to facilitate the exercise of rights and the fulfillment of social and labor obligations of citizens.
What are the functions of a Labor and Social Security Inspector?
Health and safety inspectors guide the builder to improve the existing health and safety conditions in the workplace, enforcing the laws in force in this regard.
Inspectors can make routine site visits. Said visits can be prior notice to the company or surprise visits.
Once on site, they will require all the information necessary to comply with current health and safety provisions.
The labor inspector will verify the workplace, analyzing existing equipment, presence of dangerous products, correct use of machinery and tools that are in use at that time.
They will speak with the workers present at the work site, and may demand their identification.
They can take samples of materials used in the workplace, take measurements, take photographs, videos, obtain copies of the documentation and draw up notification records, all with prior notification to the employer.
Once the inspection has been carried out, they can demand the appearance of any agent involved in the construction, at the official offices, to present any type of documentation that verifies compliance with the laws in force based on the anomalies that have been detected in the work.
Once the analysis of all the documentation is finished, a favorable report will be issued or an infraction will be applied. Violations can be minor, serious or very serious.
Items subject to inspection?
In a health and safety inspection of a construction site there are many elements to control that affect people's safety, the most important being:
- Personal protection of workers.
- Protections of employees against noise or smoke.
- Storage of toxic products.
- Risk of falls (presence of stairs, railings, nets, etc. ...).
- Proper procedure in lifting heavy objects in controlled areas.
- Control the passage of people through an area reserved for vehicles.
- Correct use of existing machinery.
Main regulations to comply with in a building work.
Once the work has opened the work center, the main health and safety regulations that must be met during the development of the work and which will be included in the health safety plan, drawn up by the builder and approved by the coordinating health and safety are the following:
- Royal Decree 486/1997, of April 14, which establishes the minimum health and safety provisions in the workplace.
- Royal Decree 485/1997, of April 14, on minimum provisions on health and safety signs at work.
- Royal Decree 1627/1997, of October 24, which establishes minimum safety and health provisions in construction works.
- Royal Decree 171/2004, of January 30, which develops article 24 of Law 31/1995, of November 8, on the Prevention of Occupational Risks, regarding the coordination of business activities.
- Aspects and objectives of a health and safety inspection.
- Identify unforeseen problems during job design or analysis. Health and Safety requirements that were not taken into account during the drafting of the basic study or health and safety study.
- Analyze the conditions of the workspace, checking the state of existing premises (whether they are changing rooms, offices, toilets, dining rooms, warehouses), controlling the characteristics of floors, walls, doors and exits, natural and artificial lighting, order, cleanliness, existence and state of the different facilities.
- Control the existence of possible chemical, physical and biological contaminants in the work. If they exist, exposure levels will be monitored.
- Given the time lag that can occur between the writing of a project and the construction of a work, construction processes can change due to the change of materials. These changes occur gradually and their effects may go unnoticed until a health and safety inspection brings them to light.
- Existence of security facilities such as fire extinguishers, BIE's, automatic extinguishing systems, detection systems, dry columns, emergency exits, evacuation routes, etc., controlling the existing quantity of each of them and the revision dates.
- Identify deficiencies in work equipment Manuals for the different types of machinery, while monitoring their technical characteristics, date of acquisition, CE marking, modifications and limitations, status of protections, security systems, work methods, accessibility to the point of operation, frequency of operation, number of affected operators, analyze if the equipment has worn out, if its capacity is deficient or has been used improperly.
- Condition of portable tools, also analyzing their quality, correct ways of use, maintenance and storage location.
- Works with special risks such as: work at height, welding, handling of dielectric oils, corrosive or toxic substances, confined spaces and flammable atmospheres, work with electrical risk in low, medium and high voltage,
- Personal protective equipment (PPE), whether helmets, vests, safety boots, protective glasses, etc. ...
Minimum documentation required in a health and safety inspection.
In the last works that I have carried out as a technical architect in Australia and health and safety coordinator, the work center inspector controlled, that the following documentation was up to date and on site:
- Guestbook of the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate, if applicable.
- Communication of the opening of the work center.
- Occupational risk prevention plan (article 2.1. Of the RSP).
- List of designated workers or a document certifying the existence of an own or someone else's prevention service.
- Initial evaluation of risks for the safety and health of workers
- Planning of preventive activity
- Emergency plan and evaluation (art. 20 LPRL)
- Training and information given on occupational health and safety.
- Document on workers' health surveillance (art 22 LPRL)
- List of work accidents with and without sick leave and list of cans or death of injured persons.
- Instruction and maintenance manual, as well as periodic reviews of work equipment.
- "CE" declaration of conformity or certified conformity of the work equipment.
- Results of the periodic controls of the working conditions (results of the evaluation of the exposure of workers to chemical, physical and biological contaminants)
- Certificate of the electrical installation (industry bulletin) and of the protection measures regarding overhead power lines that may affect the safety and health of the construction workers.
- Health and safety study or basic work study.
- Work health and safety plan (including plan approval act)
- Certificate of appointment of the health and safety coordinator.
- Book of incidents, orders and assistance.
- Certificate on the suitability and resistance of the collective protections installed.
- Certification of the correct installation and load test of the scaffolds (as well as their daily review)
- Certification issued by the Facultative Directorate of the adequacy of the excavation slopes, or where appropriate, of the containment means used.
- Documentation on the technical project of the tower cranes (including the commissioning certificate).
- Subcontracting book.
- Appointment of preventive resources (for the activities specified in the evaluation or plan).
- Registration in the Registry of Accredited Companies.
- Document that certifies the possession of the work equipment used in the work.
- Accreditation of compliance with the duty of vigilance of subcontractors (certificate of registration of accredited companies or supporting documentation)
- Report on the origin of the justifying cause of the exceptional subcontracting.
In the construction books section, you will find books related to health and safety and if you have any recommendations, do not hesitate to tell us so you can help others to choose.