HBXL Building Software are always happy to help builders and developers, especially when it comes to health and safety, so we have compiled a list of the five main Health and Safety Regulations that building companies need to know about. Read on to make sure you are in the know and follow the links to jump down the page. In addition, you can find out how Health & Safety Xpert helps builders nationwide fulfill their health and safety obligations. Plus, claim yourself a free Risk Assessment or CDM 2015 guide to get you started.

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

The Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 describes the general duties that employers have towards their employees and to members of the public:

  • The health and safety of people at work
  • Protection of other people affected by work activities
  • The control of risks to health and safety from articles and substances at work
  • The control of some atmospheric emissions

The employers’ main duties are to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety and welfare at work of all their employees. The degree of risk in a particular job or workplace needs to be balanced against the time, trouble, cost and physical difficulty of taking measures to avoid or reduce the risk. In particular:

  • The provision of safe plant and systems of work
  • The safe use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances
  • The provision of any required information, instruction, training and supervision.
  • A safe place of work including access and egress
  • A safe working environment with adequate welfare facilities

The law requires that when five or more people are employed the employer must:

  • Prepare a written general health and safety policy
  • Set down the organization and arrangements for putting that policy into effect
  • Revise and update the policy as necessary
  • Bring the policy and arrangements to the notice of all employees

In addition, every employer and self-employed person is under a duty, so far as reasonably practicable, that persons not in their employment (and themselves for self-employed) who may be effected, are not exposed to risks to their health & safety.

Powers of Inspectors

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, inspectors have the authorization to enter premises at any reasonable time (or anytime in a dangerous situation), and to:

  • Take a constable with them if necessary
  • Examine and investigate
  • Take measurements, photographs and recordings
  • Take possession of or retain anything for examination or legal proceedings
  • Require any person who can give information to answer questions and sign a statement
  • Issue an Improvement Notice, which is a notice identifying a contravention of the law and specifying a date by which the situation must be remedied
  • Issue a Prohibition Notice, which is a notice identifying and halting a situation which involves or will involve a risk of serious personal injury. A contravention need not have been committed. The notice can have immediate effect.

Fee For Intervention (FFI)

Under The Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012, those who break health and safety laws are liable for recovery of HSE’s related costs, including inspection, investigation and taking enforcement action. These fees are currently £129 per hour. This amounts to an average bill for FFI of just under £700.


Notices will contain, or have attached, an explanation of what you must do to comply. You are often allowed to use a different but equally effective alternative.  When notices are issued, a copy will be provided for any employees.  The law requires some notices to be put in a register, which is open to public inspection.  Failure to comply with a notice is a serious offence and is likely to lead to prosecution.

The laws that Inspectors enforce take account of the costs of what you are required to do.  This means that the action required must be in proportion to the risks concerned.

If you appeal against an Improvement Notice it is suspended until the appeal is heard.  A Prohibition Notice usually remains in force until the appeal is heard. An appeal form will be enclosed with either type of notice.

The Inspector can also decide to prosecute any company and/or individual breaking the law.  When an offence is committed by a corporate body with the knowledge, connivance or neglect by a responsible person, both that person and the body corporate are liable to prosecution.

Prosecution is more likely where there:

  • is a blatant disregard for the law (particularly for economic reasons)
  • is reckless disregard for the health and safety of workpeople and others
  • have been repeated breaches of legislation and management is neither willing nor structured to deal adequately with these
  • has been a serious accident or a case of ill-health arising from a substantial legal contravention

or where:

  • a particular type of offence is prevalent in an activity or area
  • a particular contravention has caused justifiable, serious public concern

Offences under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 attract unlimited fines and/or 12 months imprisonment at lower court (and unlimited fines and/or 2 years imprisonment at higher court).

In addition to the above a Health and Safety Executive leadership flow chart and checklist are available on the HSE website hse.gov.uk/leadership/checklist.htm

Health & Safety Xpert software will assist in complying with this model.

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 clarifies what employers are required to do to manage health and safety under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974

This law requires every employer to carry out a suitable & sufficient risk assessment. If there are 5 or more employees in the workplace, the significant findings must be recorded.

It applies the ESRIC principal of risk management through the hierarchy of Elimination, Substitution, Reduction, Isolation, Control together with Information, Instruction, Training and Supervision.

Every employer is obliged to appoint one or more competent persons to advise and assist in undertaking the necessary measures to comply with the relevant statutory requirements.

Information must be provided to staff on the risk assessment, risk controls, emergency procedures and the identity of people appointed to assist on health & safety matters. The information provided must take account the level of training, knowledge and experience of the employees.

When giving tasks to employees their capabilities with regard to health & safety must be taken into account. Employees must be provided with adequate health & safety training.

Young people (under 18) must be protected at work from risks to their health & safety that are the result of lack of experience, or absence of awareness of existing or potential risks or because they have not fully matured. Risks to young people must be given careful consideration in your Risk Assessments.

Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2015

How does CDM 2015 apply to you?

Under CDM 2015 organisations or individuals can be one or more duty holders for a project. The different duty holders are summarised below, together with their duties.  The list of duties is not comprehensive. Fuller details can be found in the health and safety document HS31 in your Health & Safety Xpert software.

Client Duties

A client is an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out.

Summary of role/main duties

Make suitable arrangements for managing a project. This includes making sure that:

  • other duty holders are appointed
  • sufficient time and resources are allocated

Clients must also make sure that:

  • relevant information is prepared and provided to other duty holders
  • the principal designer and principal contractor carry out their duties
  • welfare facilities are provided
  • The Health and Safety Executive are informed if the project is ‘notifiable’

A project is ‘notifiable’ if the construction work on a construction site is scheduled to:

  • last longer than 30 working days and have more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project; or
  • exceed 500 person days

Where a project is notifiable, the client must give notice in writing to the Health & Safety Executive as soon as is practicable before the construction phase begins.

Domestic Clients:

People who have construction work carried out on their own home, or the home of a family member, that is not done in furtherance of a business, whether for profit or not.

Domestic clients are in scope of CDM 2015, but their duties as a client are normally transferred to:

  • the contractor, on a single contractor project, or
  • the principal contractor, on a project involving more than one contractor

However, the domestic client can choose to have a written agreement for the principal designer to carry out the client duties.

Principal Designer Duties

The Principal Designer is a designer appointed by the client in projects involving more than one contractor. They can be an organisation or an individual with sufficient knowledge, experience and ability to carry out the role.

Summary of main duties

Plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate health and safety in the preconstruction phase of a project. This includes:

  • identifying, eliminating or controlling foreseeable risks
  • ensuring designers carry out their duties
  • prepare and provide relevant information to other duty holders
  • liaise with the principal contractor to help in the planning, management, monitoring and co-ordination of the construction phase

Designers Duties

Designers are people who, as part of a business, prepare or modify designs for a building, product or prepare or modify designs to system relating to construction work.

Summary of role/main duties

When preparing or modifying designs, eliminate, reduce or control foreseeable risks that may arise during:

  • construction
  • maintaining and using the building and;
  • provide information to other members of the project team to help them fulfil their duties

Principal Contractor Duties

Principal Contractors are contractors appointed by the client to co-ordinate the construction phase of a project where it involves more than one contractor.

Summary of role/main duties

Plan, manage, monitor and co-ordinate the construction phase of a project. This includes:

  • liaising with the client and principal designer
  • preparing the construction phase plan
  • organising co-operation between contractors and co-ordinating their work

Ensure that:

  • suitable site inductions are provided
  • taking reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access
  • they are consulting and engaging workers in securing their health and safety
  • welfare facilities are provided


Contractors are those who do the actual construction work. They can be either an individual or a company.

Summary of role/main duties

  • Plan, manage and monitor construction work under their control so it can carry out without risks to health and safety
  • For projects involving more than one contractor, co-ordinate their activities with others in the project team – in particular, comply with directions given to them by the principal designer or principal contractor
  • For single-contractor projects, prepare a construction phase plan


Workers are people who work for or under the control of contractors on a construction site

Summary of role/main duties

They must:

  • consult workers about matters which affect their health, safety and welfare
  • taking care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions
  • report anything they see which is likely to endanger either their own or others’ health and safety
  • co-operate with their employer, fellow workers, contractors and other duty holders


Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 gives principal contractors, contractors and those who control the way in which construction work is carried out various specific duties including:

  • Safe place of work

    • Safe access and egress to places of work
    •  Adequate space for workers, as well as a safe place to work
    • Preventing people from gaining access to unsafe access or workplaces
  • Excavations are safe

    • Ensure that excavations do not accidentally collapse
    • Prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, a person from being buried or trapped by a fall of material
    • Support, so far as is reasonably practicable, the sides, roof or adjacent area to prevent a collapse
    • Provide suitable and sufficient equipment to support the excavation
    • Work on supports for an excavation only under competent supervision
    • Stop any person vehicle or equipment being near to an excavation where it is likely to cause collapse
    • Prevent any risk so far as is reasonably practicable, of injury from underground cables or services
    • Prevent persons, vehicle or plant, equipment or any accumulation of material falling into the excavation
  • Fire & other emergencies

    • Provide unobstructed, properly signed emergency routes and exits to a place of safety
    • Set up appropriate emergency procedures with designated people
    • Make people on site familiar with procedures and test the procedures
    • Provide suitable signs to indicate the firefighting equipment
  • Welfare facilities

    • Provide sanitary and washing facilities with adequate supply of drinking water
    • Accommodation for clothing and changing facilities
    • Rest facilities
  • Traffic routes & Vehicles

    • Organized so that vehicles and people can move safely
    • Organising separation between people and vehicles, or where this is not reasonably practicable, people are protected and warning of approaching vehicles is given
    • Vehicles can only be used where routes are free of obstructions, there is sufficient room or warning has been given to the driver
    • Suitable signs should be erected
  • Training, Inspection and Reports

    • Construction work where training or technical knowledge is required to protect people shall only be carried out by competent people or under competent supervision
    • Where the work is part of an excavation make sure it is inspected before work and at specified intervals by a competent person
    • Reports of inspections must be produced by the competent person before the end of the working period

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002 extends the steps required under risk assessments and a duty to deal with accidents and emergencies. COSHH covers most substances hazardous to health in workplaces and covers persons who may be on the premises but not employed whether they are at work or not, including visitors and contractors.

The seven basic steps include:

  1. Assess the risks to health
  2. Decide what precautions are essential
  3. Prevent or adequately control exposure
  4. Using and maintaining control measures
  5. Monitor the exposure of employees to hazardous substances
  6. Carry out appropriate health surveillance where necessary
  7. Ensure employees have training, supervision and all relevant information.

Basically no work may be carried out where employees are liable to be exposed to substances hazardous to health unless a suitable and sufficient risk assessment has been carried out including the steps needed to meet COSHH have been made. Where 5 or more employees are employed the significant findings must be recorded.

Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 and Regulations 1998

Employers liability (compulsory insurance) act 1969 and regulations 1998 states that employers are responsible for the health & safety of employees while they are at work.

Employees may be injured at work, or they or former employees may become ill as a result of their work while employed. They may try to claim compensation if they believe them to be responsible. The Employers Liability Compulsory Insurance Act 1969 ensures that an employer has at least a minimum level of insurance against such claims.

This is why it is important to undertake training and provide site rules to avoid such scenarios.

How can Health & Safety Xpert 2022 help your building company?

Give us a call on 0117 9167898 or drop us an email to find out more about how Health & Safety Xpert can help your building firm produce all these health and safety documents with minimal effort and almost no typing! It’s seriously simple and we would be happy to set you up with a free trial and a live 1-2-1 demonstration.