International Expansion of a Construction Company into the UK Market

Health and Safety at Work Act and the Company’s International Expansion in the UK

This article was written by Marcin Nowak, an expert with extensive industry experience obtained while serving as a quality manager on the High Speed 2 (HS2) project, and as a project engineer in the Crossrail and DLR 3 Car Enhancement programmes. Marcin has devoted his professional career not only to implementing key infrastructure projects but also to actively promoting and developing a culture of health and safety at work. Currently, through the product offering of RAMS boards, Marcin aims to change the perception of occupational health and safety in the professional space. His goal is not only to improve safety standards but also to facilitate communication within work teams, which is crucial for effective and safe operation at all stages of project realisation. With his knowledge and experience, Marcin Nowak contributes to building a positive image of occupational health and safety and introduces innovations that have a real impact on improving working conditions across many sectors.

Regulatory Bodies for Health and Safety Legislation in the United Kingdom

In today’s global business environment, international expansion is a key strategy for many firms seeking growth and increased competitiveness. Entering new markets, however, comes with a range of challenges, among which significant issues relate to compliance with local occupational health and safety regulations. When expanding into the UK market, the necessity to comply with the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is not only a legal obligation but also an element that builds trust and responsibility towards employees and customers.

Regulatory Bodies for Health and Safety Legislation in the United KingdomScope of ResponsibilityActions
Health and Safety Executive (HSE)An independent governmental body responsible for promoting, enforcing, and advising on health and safety regulations in the UK.– Publishing advisory and informational materials
– Conducting workplace inspections
– Initiating criminal proceedings in case of violations
More information
Local AuthoritiesLocal authorities enforce health and safety regulations in sectors such as restaurants, hotels, and retail stores.– Conducting workplace inspections
– Initiating criminal proceedings in case of violations
– Contact your local city office/mayor for local requirements
Environment AgencyThe agency responsible for enforcing health and safety regulations regarding hazardous substances and pollution.– Conducting workplace inspections
– Initiating criminal proceedings in case of violations
More information
Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR)An independent governmental body responsible for regulating safety in the nuclear industry in the UK.– Publishing advisory and informational materials
– Conducting inspections of nuclear power plants
– Initiating criminal proceedings in case of violations
More information
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)An independent governmental body responsible for regulating safety in civil aviation in the UK.– Publishing advisory and informational materials
– Conducting inspections of airlines and airports
– Initiating criminal proceedings in case of violations
More information
Key bodies responsible for health and safety in the United Kingdom

Legal Requirements for Health and Safety Professionals in the UK

The legal requirements for health and safety professionals in the UK consist of several key components, which include qualifications, legislation, and duties related to their role. Here is a summary of these requirements:

Qualifications:

QualificationsRequirements
EducationHealth and safety professionals should have a postgraduate level education or certificates in occupational safety and health, recognised by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).
Professional ExperienceExperience in the field of health and safety, especially within a specific industry, is highly valued by employers and enhances candidates’ job market prospects.
Membership in IOSHWhile not legally required, membership in IOSH is seen as a benefit and can support professional development in the field of health and safety.
Requirements for health and safety professionals in the UK

Certificates and Training:

Certificate / TrainingDescriptionTarget Group
NEBOSH National Certificate in Construction Health and SafetyAn international certificate specific to the construction industry.Health and safety professionals in the construction industry
IOSH Managing Safely in ConstructionA certificate from the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health focused on managing safety in the construction industry.Supervisors and managers in the construction industry
SSSTS (Site Supervisors’ Safety Training Scheme)Targeted at supervisors, it emphasises managing safety on-site.Construction site supervisors
SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme)For construction managers, focuses on managing safety on the construction site.Construction managers
ECITB Management and Leadership for Safety in ConstructionTargeted at leaders and managers, focuses on leadership and managing safety.Leaders and managers in the industry
Selected certificates and training in the UK health and safety sector

Legislation:

  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974: This foundational act outlines the general duties of employers and employees regarding ensuring occupational safety and health.
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999: These regulations specifically define the requirements for risk assessment and risk control at work.
  • Other Regulations: Depending on the industry, additional specific health and safety regulations may apply.

Duties:

  • Risk Assessment: Health and safety professionals must identify and assess risks in the workplace.
  • Developing and Implementing Health and Safety Programmes: It is necessary to create and implement work safety programmes that include risk control procedures and training for employees.
  • Monitoring Health and Safety Programmes: Health and safety professionals are tasked with monitoring the effectiveness of implemented programmes and making necessary updates.
  • Advising: Providing advice to employers and employees regarding occupational safety and health.
  • Conducting Training: Organising and conducting occupational health and safety training for employees.

Additional Information:

Health and safety professionals in the UK must be well-versed in applicable legislation and continually update their knowledge and skills to effectively manage safety and health at work in line with the latest standards and practices.

Documents in British Law

Labour Code / Employment Law

UK employment law regulates relations between employees, employers, and trade unions. Individuals working in the UK have a minimal set of employee rights, deriving from parliamentary acts, regulations, common law, and equity.

What are the main UK employment law regulations?

The Employment Rights Act 1996 is likely one of the most crucial employment regulations in the UK. It was introduced following updates to older employment laws and covers a wide range of employment-related issues, such as: Dismissal. Employment contracts.

What are 3 basic employee rights?

1. The right to written particulars that define the rights and responsibilities of employees.
2. The right to the national minimum wage, paid leave, and pay slips.
3. Protection against unlawful discrimination.

How is employment law enforced in the UK?

In the UK, most employment law is classified as “civil law” or “private law,” meaning they are enforced as a result of one party (the plaintiff) suing another (the defendant) for compensation or other redress in a civil court.
Equivalent of “Labour Code / Employment Law” in other Countries:
CountryEquivalent of “Labour Code / Employment Law”
GermanyArbeitsvertragsgesetz, ArbVG – part concerning employment law
FranceCode du Travail
ItalyCodice del Lavoro
SpainEstatuto de los Trabajadores
PolandKodeks Pracy
NetherlandsBurgerlijk Wetboek (BW) – part concerning employment law
BelgiumCode du travail / Arbeidswet
SwedenLag om anställningsskydd (LAS)
DenmarkArbejdsmarkedslovgivningen
AustriaArbeitsrecht / Arbeitsgesetzbuch
Equivalent of “Labour Code / Employment Law”

Risk Assessment

Risk assessment is the process of identifying hazards that occur or may occur in the workplace. The way they can cause harm and taking steps to minimize them.

Are risk assessments required by UK law?

Yes. You have a legal duty to assess the health and safety risks to your employees (as well as risks to the health and safety of persons not employed by you) to which they are exposed at work. When conducting a risk assess: You should consult with employees and health and safety representatives.

What is the legal definition of risk in the UK?

Risk is associated with the hazard and the possibility of incurring harm or loss.

When should a risk assessment be conducted in the UK?

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states that risk should be assessed “whenever new machines, substances, and procedures could lead to new hazards.” An employer should conduct a risk assessment whenever new work involves significant new hazards.
Equivalent of “Risk Assessment” in other Countries:
CountryEquivalent of “Risk Assessment”
GermanyGefährdungsbeurteilung
France

Évaluation des risques
ItalyValutazione del rischio
SpainEvaluación de riesgos
PolandOcena ryzyka
RomaniaEvaluarea riscului
NetherlandsRisicobeoordeling
BelgiumRisicoanalyse / Évaluation des risques
GreeceΕκτίμηση κινδύνου (Ektími̱si̱ kíndynou)
PortugalAvaliação de riscos
Equivalent of “Risk Assessment”

Health and Safety at Work Act

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASAWA) is an important legal document concerning workplaces in the UK. It ensures that all employers provide a safe working environment and care for the health of their employees – regardless of the workplace.

What are the health and safety requirements in the UK?

Basics of health and safety at work in a company:
– Preparing a health and safety policy.
– Risk management and risk assessment at work.
– Reporting accidents and illnesses.
– Providing information and training.
– Consultations with employees.
– Provide adequate conditions at the workplace.
– First aid at work.
– Physical display of the employment law poster.

What are the 5 steps in workplace health and safety?

You can do this on your own or designate a competent person to help:
1. Identify hazards.
2. Assess the risk.
3. Control the risk.
4. Record your findings.
5. Review the controls.

What is the significance of RIDDOR?

RIDDOR is a law requiring us as employers to report certain types of accidents, incidents, and illnesses to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). RIDDOR stands for Reporting of Incidents, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations.
Equivalent of “Health and Safety at Work Act” in other Countries:
>td>Romania
CountryEquivalent of Health and Safety at Work Act
GermanyArbeitsschutzgesetz (ArbSchG)
FranceCode du travail (health and safety at work part)
ItalyDecreto Legislativo 81/2008
SpainLey de Prevención de Riesgos Laborales
PolandUstawa o bezpieczeństwie i higienie pracy
Legea securității și sănătății în muncă
NetherlandsArbowet (Arbeidsomstandighedenwet)
BelgiumWelzijnswet (Act concerning the welfare of employees in performing their work)
GreeceΝόμος περί Υγείας και Ασφάλειας στην Εργασία
PortugalLei da Segurança e Saúde no Trabalho
Equivalent “Health and Safety at Work Act”

Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS)

An important health and safety document that is completed to determine the steps to be taken to perform a specific activity or task safely. RAMS can be used in conjunction with the risk assessment process.

Who should write a RAMS?

All risk assessments and work instructions (RAMS) will be specific to a particular project, will contain company data and will be written by a construction safety specialist in cooperation with work managers, will include the company’s name, address, personnel, and company logo.

What is the purpose of preparing a RAMS?

In summary, the purpose of RAMS is to ensure health and safety, identify hazards and risks associated with the task (etc.), and provide adequate and sufficient control measures to manage the risk assessment, as well as ensuring a safe system of work / step-by-step instructions for persons performing the task etc. to minimize the risk.

Is risk assessment a legal requirement in the UK?

Yes. Risk assessment is a legal requirement for all companies in the UK. This legal requirement is specified in several different legal acts, and in conjunction with a method of work instruction (RAMS) forms the basis of securing in case of accidents and potential court cases.
Equivalent “Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS)” in other Countries:
CountryRisk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS) Equivalent
GermanyGefährdungsbeurteilung und Betriebsanweisung (GuB)
FranceDocument unique d’évaluation des risques professionnels (DUERP)
ItalyValutazione dei Rischi
SpainPlano de Seguridad y Salud
PolandInstrukcja Bezpiecznego Wykonania Robót (IBWR)
RomaniaSistem de Securitate a Muncii (SSM)
NetherlandsVeiligheids Beheer Systeem (VBS)
BelgiumVeiligheid, gezondheid en milieu Checklist Aannemers (VCA)
GreeceΕκτίμηση Κινδύνου (Ektí̱mi̱si̱ Kíndynou)
PortugalPlano de Prevenção de Riscos
Risk Assessment and Method Statement (RAMS) Equivalent

Inspection and Test Plan

The inspection and test plan defines the elements of materials and work that are to be subjected to inspection or tests, by whom and at what stage or frequency, as well as hold points and check points, references to relevant standards, acceptance criteria, and records that are to be maintained.

What are inspection and test plans?

ITP (Inspection Test Plans) is a checklist of required inspections. It includes a list of control tasks and provides an easy-to-implement quality improvement plan.

How to write an inspection and test plan?

Top 6 best practices in writing inspection test plans (ITP)

1. Prepare a list of activities and tasks to inspect.
2. Include sources of requirements from specifications and other reference documents.
3. Establish inspection criteria and its frequency if the process is repeatable.
4. Establish acceptance criteria. Remember the acceptance test tolerances.
5. Include verification documents in your inspection plan to control the inspection. Remember the signatures of inspectors present during the control.
6. Use a template for an inspection and test control plan (ITP).

What is the purpose of an inspection and test plan?

The main purpose of the test plan is to generate documentation that describes how the QA tester authenticates that the system operates according to plan. This document primarily defines the way of testing, required elements, and persons responsible for their execution.
“Inspection and Test Plan” Equivalent in other Countries:
CountryInspection and Test Plan (ITP) Equivalent
GermanyPrüf – und Inspektionsplan (Prüfplan)
FrancePlan d’Inspection et de Test (PIT)
ItalyPiano di Ispezione e Test (PIT)
SpainPlan de Inspección y Prueba (PIP)
PolandPlan Inspekcji i Badań (PIB)
RomaniaPlanul de Inspecție și Testare (PIT)
NetherlandsInspectie- en Testplan (ITP)
BelgiumInspectie- en Testplan (ITP) / Plan d’Inspection et de Test (PIT)
GreeceΣχέδιο Επιθεώρησης και Δοκιμών (ΣΕΔ)
PortugalPlano de Inspeção e Teste (PIT)
Inspection and Test Plan (ITP) Equivalent

The Fire Safety Act 

The Fire Safety Act clarifies the scope of fire safety regulation to explain that it applies to construction, external walls (including cladding and balconies), and individual entrance doors to apartments between living quarters and common parts of multi-family residential buildings.

Which premises are legally covered by fire safety in the UK?

The fire safety regulation applies to almost all rooms, buildings, places, and structures where people work, visit, or reside. This includes, for example, offices and shops, factories, warehouses, garages, and industrial units.

What should a UK fire safety plan include?

You and your employees should be aware of potential hazards, know how to avoid fire risks, and what to do in the event of a fire outbreak. Precisely this should be contained in the fire safety plan. You or a person designated by you are responsible for complying with fire safety regulations.

What are the rules regarding fire extinguishers in the UK?

BS5306 standard recommends that fire extinguishers be tested by discharge every five years (water and foam types) and be refilled or replaced, and every ten years (CO2).
“The Fire Safety Act” Equivalent in other Countries:
CountryThe Fire Safety Act Equivalent
GermanyBundesbrandschutzgesetz, BBKG
FranceLoi sur la sécurité incendie
ItalyLegge sulla sicurezza antincendio
SpainLey de Seguridad Contra Incendios
PolandUstawa o Ochronie Przeciwpożarowej
RomaniaLegea Securității la Incendiu
NetherlandsBrandveiligheidswet
BelgiumWet betreffende de brandveiligheid
GreeceΝόμος Πυρασφάλειας
PortugalLei da Segurança Contra Incêndios
The Fire Safety Act Equivalent

Legal Responsibility of Health and Safety Professionals in the UK

Health and safety professionals in the UK have a range of legal obligations, and their non-compliance can result in civil and criminal liability:

AspectExamplesConsequences
Civil liability– Improper risk assessment
– Lack of training for employees
– Improper advice to employers
– Medical costs
– Loss of earnings
– Pain and suffering
Criminal liability– Endangering the health and safety of employees
– Causing an accident at work
– Fines
– Imprisonment
Limitation of liability– Endeavouring to fulfil their duties
– Complying with applicable regulations
– Inability to foresee the event that led to the damage
Opportunity to defend against accusations
Legal Responsibility of Health and Safety Professionals in the UK

Specifics of Health and Safety Training for Employees in the UK

In the UK, the responsibility for providing health and safety lies largely on the shoulders of employers. Acts such as the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 impose on them the duty to organize health and safety training for their employees. Here’s what you need to know about the specifics of these trainings.

Legal Requirements

  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 – the act requires employers to provide adequate health and safety training so that employees can safely perform their duties.
  • Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 – these regulations precisely define the minimum requirements for health and safety training, including their frequency and scope.

Types of Training

  1. Initial Training: Should cover general health and safety issues, conducted before an employee starts work.
  2. Periodic Training: Aims to update the knowledge of employees, conducted on a regular basis.
  3. Specialist Training: For employees performing high-risk tasks, focuses on specific hazards and methods to avoid them.

Basic Health and Safety Training for UK Workers

CertificateDescription
CSCS Card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme)The CSCS Card is required for most workers on construction sites in the UK. This card confirms professional qualifications and knowledge of health and safety at work. There are various types of CSCS cards, tailored to the job role, qualification level, and experience.
IOSH Working Safely / Managing SafelyCourses offered by IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health), aimed at employees and managers. “Working Safely” is designed for workers at all levels of the organisation, aiming to raise awareness about safety. “Managing Safely” targets managers and supervisors, focusing on the practical aspects of managing health and safety at work.
Basic Health and Safety Training in the UK

Specialist Health and Safety Training for Workers in the UK

CertificateDescription
CPCS (Construction Plant Competence Scheme)Certificates for construction equipment operators, confirming competencies in operating various types of machinery, such as excavators, loaders, cranes. There are different categories of CPCS cards, tailored to specific types of equipment.
NPORS (National Plant Operators Registration Scheme)An alternative certification program for construction machinery operators, offering similar card categories as CPCS. This program is recognised in many construction sectors.
CISRS (Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme)A specialist certificate for scaffold riggers, including various levels of advance. It confirms skills and knowledge in the safe assembly of scaffolding.
ECITB (Engineering Construction Industry Training Board)An institution offering trainings and certifications in the area of welding, electrical works, insulation, and other specialist fields related to engineering and construction.
CITB (Construction Industry Training Board)Offers courses and practical skill assessments for various construction professions, such as bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing etc., supporting professional development of workers in the industry.
Specialist Health and Safety Training for Workers in the UK

Managerial Health and Safety Training for Workers in the UK

CertificateDescription
SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme)Training aimed at construction managers, intended to raise awareness and competence in managing safety on-site. It is concluded with obtaining a CITB certificate.
SSSTS (Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme)Training designed for foremen and those supervising work, focusing on key aspects of health and safety at work. Participants receive a CITB certificate upon completion.
NEBOSH National Construction Certificate in Occupational Health and SafetyAn advanced health and safety certificate designed for management-level professionals in the construction industry, providing comprehensive knowledge and skills necessary for managing health and safety at work.
Managerial Health and Safety Training for Workers in the UK

Where can I find training for workers in the UK?

OrganisationWebsite
HSE (Health and Safety Executive)https://www.hse.gov.uk/
CITBhttps://www.citb.co.uk/
CSCShttps://www.cscs.uk.com/
ECITBhttps://www.ecitb.org.uk/
NPORShttps://www.npors.com/
Where can I find training for workers in the UK?

Training Contents

Health and Safety training must be tailored to the specificity of the workplace, with typical topics such as:

  • Risk assessment
  • Emergency procedures
  • Use of personal protective equipment
  • Ergonomics
  • First aid

Training Methods

Training can take various forms, depending on the needs of the employer and employees:

  • Lectures
  • Practical exercises
  • E-learning

Effectiveness Evaluation of Trainings

The effectiveness evaluation is conducted to ensure that workers have acquired the necessary knowledge and skills. This is a key element of the training process.

Collaborating with Local Health and Safety Services in the UK: Why Is It Worthwhile?

Workplace health and safety is not only a legal requirement but primarily key to ensuring a healthy and safe environment for all employees. In the UK, collaborating with local health and safety services offers numerous benefits that translate into improved working conditions and the protection of health and life of employees.

Benefits of Collaborating with Local Health and Safety Services

  1. Improvement of Health and Safety at Work: Local health and safety services possess knowledge and tools that help in identifying potential hazards. This enables quick problem solving, directly impacting the reduction of accident risks and occupational diseases.
  2. Increased Awareness: Regular trainings and access to current information on workplace safety, offered by local services, enhance both employer’s and employee’s awareness.
  3. Fulfilment of Legal Requirements: Collaborating with local health and safety services is one of the most effective ways to ensure compliance with legal regulations. This can prevent potential sanctions and increases the level of trust among employees and customers.
  4. Saving Time and Costs: Proactive actions in workplace safety can significantly reduce costs associated with accidents, such as insurance fees or compensations.

Ways of Collaborating with Local Health and Safety Services

  • Accident Reporting: Prompt reporting of any accidents or occupational diseases is crucial for risk analysis and preventing similar events in the future.
  • Organising Health and Safety Inspections: Regular inspections help maintain a high level of workplace safety.
  • Participation in Trainings: Taking advantage of the training offers of local health and safety services enhances employee qualifications and awareness.
  • Consultations: Local health and safety services provide support and advice on best practices.

Local Health and Safety Services in the UK

  • Health and Safety Executive (HSE): The main body responsible for overseeing compliance with health and safety regulations.
  • Local Authorities: Local government authorities supporting companies in matters of workplace safety in their area.
  • Trade Unions: Trade unions may offer additional support and advice.

Collaborating with local health and safety services is an investment in safety that yields long-term benefits. By ensuring proper training, monitoring safety conditions, and using external consultancy, companies can create a safe and healthy workplace for all their employees.