Working in the construction industry means you have to follow a lot of rules and regulations. Although there can be a negative stigma around compliance, it is important to maintain a high level of health and safety across the industry. Non-compliance with these rules can be severe and long-reaching, impacting the company itself, the employees and wider society.
Table of Contents
- Understanding regulatory compliance in the UK
- The importance of compliance in construction
- Consequences of non-compliance
- Mitigation and prevention strategies
Understanding regulatory compliance in the UK
Following the rules and regulations of the UK is the basis of compliance. By following them, your business is compliant and therefore safe and trustworthy.
Some of the main legislations that you must follow are the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) 1998.
The importance of compliance in construction
Following the rules and regulations ensures that you and your workers are kept safe, the environment is treated properly, hazardous waste is disposed of properly, and the buildings you construct are safe and secure for people to use. Also, if you gain a reputation for being a stickler for the rules, customers are more likely to give you their business to avoid delays or issues.
There is a bonus for being compliant: legal protection. If you can prove your business has been compliant in every aspect, any legal issues that arise can not be blamed on you or your business. For added protection, you should consider taking out builders’ insurance.
Consequences of non-compliance
In general, there are tiers of punishment for being found non-compliant. Sometimes the executive bodies will decide on informal action which usually takes the form of a warning.
Fines are a common response to non-compliance, and they can run into huge figures. Issues that endanger human lives do not have an upper limit when it comes to fines, so they have the potential to ruin a business and have it shut down to afford it.
In some cases, individuals can be imprisoned for breaches of health and safety laws. Sentences can be up to six months when given by the Magistrates Court and up to two years in Crown Courts.
As well as the legal consequences, non-compliance can lead to a significant blow to your reputation and that of your business. This can also lead to staff leaving and finding more reputable businesses to work for. This will cause a hit to your finances which could eventually make the business unviable.
Mitigation and prevention strategies
There are ways to be proactive and prevent non-compliance. Staff training and education is a great way of making sure your workers are up to date with any legislation changes or changes in the equipment they are using. This prevents anyone from getting hurt due to a lack of knowledge.
Alongside training comes risk assessments. Before you start work on any project, comprehensive risk assessments should be done to identify any hazards or issues that you may not be aware of. This helps you to prepare for these issues before they arise, such as hiring specialists or bringing in different equipment.
Environmental risks should also be considered, such as pollution, waste and water quality. Strategies should be put into place ahead of time to mitigate and minimise these risks.