Annex A


National safety legislation and guidance


This annex describes the regulatory regimes and associated guidance available in July 2015. It is provided for information only. Readers cannot rely on this annex to provide a complete account of the current legal position or the relevant guidance and need to make sure that they have up-to-date information.

A.1 Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 [130] established formal rules for the management of safety and defined clearly the responsibilities of organizations, employers and employees. Within the umbrella of this Act there exists a framework of Regulations, Approved Codes of Practice, Codes of Practice, Guidance Notes and other published information that define the requirement for safety on sites where investigation and construction work is being carried out.

All employers of five or more persons have a statutory duty to prepare and revise as necessary a written safety policy and communicate this to all employees. Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 [149], employers are required to implement a formal approach to safety. This is normally undertaken through a safety management system, which requires induction, risk assessments, method statements, consultation and audit.

Certain risks are attached to working on investigation sites and these risks are associated with particular circumstances or hazards. The significant hazards are required to be assessed and provision made for safe working through developed Risk Assessments in the site-specific Construction Phase Plan. The Association of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Specialists (AGS) have developed industry-specific safety guidance for activities which includes significant hazards such as trial pitting, underground and overhead services, work over and adjacent to water, work in confined spaces and work on contaminated land.

A.2 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 [149] outline the essential content of a safety management system and the principles of risk assessment and prevention that are to be followed in all workplaces. It also outlines the requirements for health surveillance and where this is to be implemented.

A.3 Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM)

All intrusive ground investigations, geotechnical advice and design and other associated activities fall within the scope of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 [7], also referred to as CDM. The CDM Regulations cover notification of the project, impose duties on all clients, contractors and employees, create additional duty holders of Principal Contractor and Principal Designer, require that a site-specific Construction Phase Plan is prepared before construction (and investigation) work can proceed and that all work is carried out to the safety plan or its subsequent revisions. All designers are required to consider the hierarchy of risk reduction in their works and communicate with other designers and contractors on the project to reduce risk.

The project is notifiable by the client if the construction phase lasts longer than 30 working days and has more than 20 workers working simultaneously at any point in the project or exceeds 500 person days.

Part 4 and Schedule 2 duties of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 [7], which outline how hazards are to be managed and the extent to which welfare is required to be provided, apply to all construction sites. These apply to the employers, employees and self-employed carrying out investigation and construction work.

A.4 Work at Height Regulations 2005

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 [150] are the primary legislation relating to managing the risk of work at height which for geotechnical work includes working on scaffolds, working at the edge of a trial pit and working adjacent to or upon rock/soil slopes. A risk assessment is required to be completed by the employer of anyone (SI engineer/visitors included) who might be involved in working at height. Employers are required to follow the hierarchy of control measures, which moves from elimination of the requirement to work at height through to removing the possibility of falling from height (i.e. permanent barrier) or reducing the height worked at to provision of protection devices (i.e. safety nets/crash mats) and PPE.

A.5 Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER)

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 [151], also known as PUWER, relate to any work equipment including site plant such as drilling rigs, excavators, etc., laboratory equipment and office equipment. The equipment is required to be fit for purpose, safe to use and operated by competent and trained personnel. Visual and/or physical inspections are required, especially for equipment that is robustly used. Maintenance, servicing and rig guarding are all part of the requirements of PUWER.

A.6 Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER)

The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 [152], also known as LOLER, relate to any piece of plant that lifts and includes cable tool rigs, lifting elements of rotary rigs such as ropes, excavators when used for lifting, telehandlers and jacking devices. Lifting equipment includes swivels, shackles, ropes, chains, slings and any loops used for lifting (i.e. top of SPT hammer). These are required to be thoroughly inspected and certified, uniquely identified and marked with a safe working load (SWL). All lifting work requires a lifting plan, although in cases where the work is regularly repeated (such as the lifting of drilling tooling using the rig) this can be covered with general risk assessments and method statements.

A.7 Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

Incorrect manual handling accounts for over a third of all workplace injuries. Heavy manual labour, awkward postures, manual materials handling (i.e. handling, moving and lifting bulk samples and core) and previous or existing injury are all risk factors in developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Attention is drawn to the Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 [153] which gives guidance on manual handling.

NOTE For more information, see the manual handling information on the HSE website.17)