IN BOTH NI AND ROI, for projects that last longer than 30 days or involve a particular risk, the owner must appoint project supervisors for the health and safety aspects – one for the design process and another for the construction stage. You can as the homeowner fulfil these roles but only if you are competent to do so.

These roles entail carrying out risk assessments and drawing up a health and safety plan to show how to carry out the work in a safe manner. Certain safety documentation must be presented by subcontractors and compiled in a safety file.

There are some basic rules such as everyone having to wear safety gear, including hard hats and steel cap shoes, as well as abiding to working at height regulations.

Other safety requirements on site include worker accreditation for using certain types of equipment.

Also note that in ROI the Health and Safety Authority has produced a guidance document for homeowners and in NI the Health & Safety Executive has a helpline for homeowners (0800 0320 121); Part 4 of the Construction, Design and Management Regulations which came into force August 2016 outlines your NI obligations.

At a corporate level, construction firms are now being heavily fined for breaches of health and safety, and custodial sentences for directors and managers may even be on the cards. According to law firm BLM new guidelines set out in England and Wales in 2016 entitled ‘Health and Safety Offences, Corporate Manslaughter and Food and Safety and Hygiene Offences’) could be applied by NI courts.

For more information refer to the Autumn 2016 issue of Selfbuild magazine here