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Many construction firms unaware of impending legislation

ConstructionSkills has just launched a new free guide to help companies understand the implications of the new Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act – which came into force on the 6 April.

To help reinforce the importance of health and safety legislation to employers, Building Britain, ConstructionSkills year long BigSkills employer campaign, also focused on the topic throughout March and April.

“Few construction companies know and act upon their full legal responsibilities for the health and safety of their workforce,“ says Kevin Fear, Head of Health, Safety and Environment at ConstructionSkills.

“From 6 April, when the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act comes into force across the UK, companies face severe penalties if a gross failure in the way they manage or organise activities results in a person’s death. That’s why we felt it important to produce our new free guidance booklet to help directors of construction firms to understand their current health and safety liabilities and the possible impact the Act will have on them.”.

Supported by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)’s Working Well Together campaign, Guidance for Small and Medium Enterprises is predominantly targeted at directors of SMEs and includes guidance on actions they can take take to make sure their company is up to speed with current legislation and health and safety good practice.

The Health and Safety Executive has had far more success in prosecuting directors of smaller companies for manslaughter for serious breaches of health and safety. This is because the simple management structure of smaller organisations makes it easier for the HSE to identify whose actions or inactions resulted in the breach.

As Kevin Fear, Head of Health and Safety at ConstructionSkills, says:

“Too few construction companies know their legal obligations under Health & Safety law. For example, how many employers know that if you employ more than five people, you must have a written health and safety policy and keep a written record of the significant findings of your risk assessments? Or if you have less than five employees, that you still have to be able to explain how you manage your company’s health and safety risk? It does not matter how large or small an organisation is, the consideration of health and safety should be an integral part of the preparation for every job. Our free guide for directors will help prepare them for the simple things that they need to do to comply with health and safety law.”

Tim Shambrook, Working Well Together Campaign Manager adds:

“We are committed to working with small businesses to improve their health and safety performance. We welcome ConstructionSkills new guidance on directors responsibilities, as a useful tool to ensure small businesses are complying with the law and making their companies as safe as possible for employees.”

The guide can be ordered from; www.cskills.org/publications/
For further information you can also visit http://www.cskills.org/publications/
or call 01485 577 800 or email

To keep up to date with all the latest news on what ConstructionSkills is doing and find out more about how your company can get involved in helping secure the future of the UK construction industry register for the Skills Update

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