Site inductions – how to introduce health and safety on site

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Site inductions are an essential part of construction site safety, and are an essential part of building site risk management.

Keep reading to learn the essentials, including who site inductions should be attended by, what a construction site induction should include, and more.

What is a construction site induction?

Like any other induction, a construction site induction introduces workers to their workplace, ensuring that they receive key information and understand internal procedures.

However, unlike the induction you’ll receive when you first start a new job, a site induction would be required each time an individual starts work on a new site.

Therefore, a health and safety induction for contractors, new employees, or existing employees would be exactly the same.

When should a site induction take place?

A site induction will automatically be required on the first day of a project, by the virtue of this being a new construction site for all team members. However, this is not the only time an induction should be carried out – they are also required when:

  • New workers join the site – this happens often as different trades will join the project at different times. Even if only one new person joins, they must be inducted.
  • The activities or processes on site change – the original induction may no longer be applicable to the site’s current circumstances.
  • Anyone visits the site – whether this is an occasional visitor such as an architect or auditor, or a one-off visitor such as a student, everyone needs to know the safety rules on site.

Is a health and safety induction a legal requirement?

In short – yes. As part of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, employers have a legal duty to provide information and instruction to their employees. Inductions form part of this obligation, making inductions a legal requirement in the UK.

Furthermore, due to the variance between construction sites, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM), which apply to all construction work, stipulate that every worker must receive a site-specific induction at every new site they work on in order to ensure health and safety on construction sites.

What must a site induction include?

Each induction should include site-specific information in order to prepare workers for potential hazards and risks on site, and what rules they need follow in order to stay safe.

The following topics should be covered in a site induction:

  • Details of site management:
    • Ensure workers know who they report to and the roles and responsibilities of management on site
    • Who the site manager is
    • Who the supervisors are
    • Who the fire marshals are
    • Who the first aiders are
  • Individual responsibility:
    • Following risk assessments and method statements
    • Looking out for other team members
    • Reporting concerns and stopping work until resolved
  • Details of current project:
    • Details of the types of work are happening on site and where they are located
    • What works may be happening around the worker and the risks these could pose
    • Detailed of restricted areas
    • PPE requirements
    • Site layout, including:
      • welfare facilities
      • access routes
      • delivery routes
      • storage areas
      • escape routes
      • fire-fighting equipment
  • Site-specific risks:
    • Risks of the worker’s own activities
    • Other risks present on site. This could include:
      • presence of asbestos
      • underground or overground services or works
      • works of other contractors on site
  • Site-specific procedures:
    • Emergency procedures – what to do in the event of an accident, fire, or any other emergency
    • How to sign in
    • Permit requirements
    • Housekeeping
    • Toolbox talk and briefing schedule
    • PPE acquisition process
  • Accidents:
    • How to report near misses, incidents, accidents and unsafe conditions to supervisors, site managers and employer
    • Location of and how to complete the accident book
    • Details of any site-specific forms that must be completed
  • Meetings and consultation procedures:
    • Schedules for future meetings
    • Consulting with the workforce of health and safety matters
  • Wellbeing:
    • How to raise concerns for a colleague’s mental health
    • Details of support available
    • Details of mental health first aiders
    • How to recognise and report modern slavery

Make sure that your construction site induction is specific, relevant, and straight to the point. Avoid involving general health and safety information and focus on what workers need to know for this site. Overcomplicating your induction will make it harder for your team to retain important information about the project.

Every worker should complete and sign a site induction form, which should be kept for your records.