Health and Safety Considerations for Architects


Architects, by definition, need to be concerned with health and safety. After all, any new or renovated building has to be designed with health and safety in mind. Whether it is ventilation, fire escape routes or materials, health and safety always needs to be considered.

However, it is not only about the building's safety standards, but also about the process.

Get Health and Safety Qualifications

Qualifications such as CITB training allows you to carry out the most up to date training, getting the most recent health and safety information, and giving you the tools you need to ensure that everyone who is working on your project is protected. Training will give you knowledge of health and safety legislation and help you to overcome the potential risks.

Many companies are also now asking for NEBOSH certificates as part of their employment criteria, which illustrates how valued this qualification is in the industry.

Health and Safety Responsibilities

When it comes to health and safety, everybody who is involved in a project is responsible. It is important that everybody knows and understands what they are responsible for, and this should be made clear at the beginning of the project and shown throughout.

Employers' responsibilities should include:

  • Providing a safe working environment
  • Ensuring that equipment is safe to use and used properly
  • Ensuring that adequate training is provided
  • Ensuring the safe handling, transportation and storage of materials and goods
  • Outlining smoking, drugs and alcohol policies
  • Ensuring safe access and fire escape routes
  • Methods of passing on information
  • Providing an officer who can oversee the health and safety on the project
  • Making people aware of health and safety procedures such as what to do if there is an accident or fire
  • Ensuring that there are first aid qualified people on site at all times and that everyone is aware of who this is

Employees' responsibilities should include:

  • Taking reasonable care of themselves and acting responsibly
  • Taking care of other people around them
  • Raising the alarm should they notice potential health and safety risks such as defects, faults or safety concerns
  • Fully co-operating with health and safety rules and guidelines
  • Reporting any accidents or health and safety issues directly to the health and safety officer

On Site

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Health and Safety Considerations for Architects

Any sort of construction site presents a number of health and safety hazards and risks. Whilst the employer and employee have their own responsibilities and duties, there are many potential risks on site that everyone should be aware of, such as:

  • Fire - the storage of combustible material, blockages of fire escape routes, smoking only in the designated areas
  • Defective equipment
  • Electrical risk - multiple connectors to plugs, worn cables, faulty wiring, loose cables, bad connections
  • Flooring - slippery or uneven surfaces
  • Carelessness - materials not stored properly

If you are working on a residential property, architects and construction workers should be aware that there might be domestic customers within close proximity to the project. It is important to be clear to them about where it is safe to go, and ensuring that those are completely safe for them to operate in.

Hierarchy of Control

When it comes to risks on site, there is a hierarchy which should be adhered to. This can help to eliminate risks at their root and prevent any hazards from escalating.

  1. Eliminate the hazard - the best way to avoid accidents is to eliminate the hazard. This means not allowing something to happen in the first place.
  2. Substitute the most hazardous parts of a process for safer options - such as different materials or processes.
  3. Reduce people's contact with the potential hazard.
  4. Put in administrative or engineering controls to reduce the risk
  5. Ensure that adequate PPE is used.

As an architect, you have many responsibilities in terms of health and safety on a project - whether it is in the design of the building itself or in its construction. The best way to ensure that there are no health and safety issues is to be informed.

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