Skip main navigation

Health and safety in construction

This step discusses why health and safety is a critical part in all construction work and features in any construction job.
site health and safety sign on building site
Health and safety is a critical part of all construction work and features in any construction job. Whatever construction job you might have, it is important to recognise health and safety as something you will all have to think about.

You’ve probably experienced health and safety in any job or education you’ve undertaken previously, but how much have you actively thought about it?

This will depend on the risks involved in the job you’ve been doing. This is because health and safety centres around a simple approach:

The identification of risk

Construction work involves a considerable amount of high-risk work, which is why health and safety are so important. For example, think about the processes involved in boring the Channel Tunnel, Crossrail or the UK’s High Speed 2 (HS2).

These projects require huge and powerful machines capable of tunnelling through the ground. Managing the risks to all involved is therefore paramount, protecting those working on the project.

Other potential risks in construction work could involve:

  • working with power tools
  • operating heavy machinery
  • working with power supplies, electricity and gas
  • working at height
  • management of dangerous substances.

Reducing risk to a safe and manageable level

In construction, there are regulations in place to help ensure that the responsibility for managing these risks is shared along with all the parts of the construction process, known as the construction supply chain.

This will include product manufacturers, the business commissioning the work (the client), the business coordinating the work (the main contractor) and all the suppliers and subcontractors.

This means that responsibility for health and safety is joined up and everyone must ensure that they are actively working to identify and reduce risks to themselves and others.

This article is from the free online

Step into Construction

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now