What is a Health and Safety Plan ?

Safety File

What is a health and safety plan ?

The Construction Regulations , 2014 define a health and safety plan :”health and safety plan” means a site, activity or project specific documented plan in accordance with the client’s health and safety specification;

Basically it is a documented plan in line with the scope of work, the clients health and safety specification and the risk profile, how the contractor will manage health and safety on a project.

What does the OHS Act and Regulations say?

Construction Regulation 5: Duties of client

1 (l) discuss and negotiate with the principal contractor the contents of the principal contractor’s health and safety plan contemplated in regulation 7(1), and must thereafter finally approve that plan for implementation;

Construction Regulation 7 : Duties of principal contractor and contractor
7. (1) A principal contractor must—
(a) provide and demonstrate to the client a suitable, sufficiently documented and coherent site specific health and safety plan, based on the client’s documented health and safety specifications contemplated in regulation 5(1)(b), which plan must be applied from the date of commencement of and for the duration of the construction work and which must be reviewed and updated by the principal contractor as work progresses;

The health and safety plan is the only document mentioned in the OHS Act under CR 5 (1)(l)  that must be approved – nowhere is there any mentioning that the client or contractor must approve a safety file.

What should you include in a health and safety plan?

Unfortunately there is no one fits all . Each health and safety plan must be written by a competent person taking into account the following:

  • The scope of work
  • the risk profile of the project
  • the location of the site or project
  • the clients H&S Specification
  • the clients baseline risk assessment
  • It is also important to determine if you are appointed as a Principal Contractor or a Contractor- there is additional requirements to adhere to.

Below is a sample of an index for a Health and Safety Plan

Section   Title
1   Purpose and scope
2   Reference documents
3   Definitions
4   Responsibilities
5   Objectives and targets
6   Planning and procedures
7   Implementation of the Occupational Health and Safety specification
8   Application of the Health and Safety specification
  8.1 Compensation for Occupational Injury and Diseases
  8.2 Occupational health and safety Policy
  8.3 Hazard identification and risk assessment
  8.4 Health and safety committee
  8.5 Health and safety training
  8.6 General record keeping
  8.7 Incentives
  8.8 Penalties
  8.9 Emergency procedures
  8.10 Hazards and potentially hazardous situations
  8.11 Personal Protective Equipment and clothing
  8.12 Safety signage
  8.13 Permits
  8.14 Contractors and suppliers
9   Health and safety in practice
  9.1 Excavations
  9.2 Demolition
  9.3 Explosives and blasting
  9.4 Stacking of materials and housekeeping
  9.5 Hazardous chemical substances
  9.6 Fuel/diesel
  9.7 Asbestos
  9.8 Construction plan
  9.9 Transportation of personnel
  9.10 Pressure equipment or gas bottles
  9.11 Fire equipment
  9.12 Hired plant and machinery
  9.13 Scaffolding/working at heights/fall protection
  9.14 Temporary works for structures
  9.15 Lifting machinery and tackle
  9.16 Ladders and ladder work
  9.17 General machinery
  9.18 Lighting and power
  9.19 Portable electrical tools/explosive actuated fastening devices
  9.20 Public Health and Safety
  9.21 Night work
  9.22 Facilities for safe keeping/eating areas
  A Health and safety policy
  B Hazardous task identification
  C Risk assessment
  D Induction
  E Toolbox talk
  F Audit schedule
Safety File
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