Health and Safety Practices for Architects and Engineers


Health and safety is an issue which should be considered in every situation in life. It is important that you think about your own health and safety as well as that of others - whether you are at home, at work, in public, or in private. We all have a responsibility to ensure that health and safety standards are met for everyone's sake, but architects and engineers, however, have a greater responsibility than most.

As an architect or engineer, you could be responsible not only for a project whilst it is under construction, but also once that it has been constructed. This means that you need to do what you can to ensure that it is safe now and going into the future.

It is, therefore, important that architects, designers or engineers incorporate some health and safety practices into what you do. There are, of course, laws that need to be followed, but in terms of your responsibilities, some ideas of how to do take health and safety seriously include:

Getting a NEBOSH qualification

The National Examination Board for Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) offers courses that allow you to get a qualification to show that you understand the health and safety implications of your job. A course certified by NEBOSH will teach you everything that you need to know about how to plan, maintain and leave a project with regards to health and safety and the qualification is internationally recognised. 

NEBOSH qualifications are now actually a requirement for many jobs and will help you to ensure that everybody who is working on your project is as safe as possible. There is a range of NEBOSH courses available, from a general health and safety overview to a more niche qualification if you are looking to specialise. There are also different levels of qualification open to you.

Put Health and Safety first

Health and Safety Practices for Architects and Engineers

This might be an obvious idea, but it is surprising how many people don't put health and safety at the forefront of everything that they do. This extends from the actual design of a building, through to the wearing of PPE, ensuring good communication with foreign workers, considering the materials which you are using, or giving easy access to areas which will need maintenance in the future (a roof or boiler room, for example).

Find out what your Roles and Responsibilities are

For architects and engineers, we sometimes have lines which are blurred when it comes to what your own particular roles and responsibilities are. These can change depending on where you are - what country you are in and what state. Professional bodies might also have health and safety rules that you will need to follow.

It is important to understand the local laws to ensure that you are complying fully and won't be putting yourself and others at risk of accident or breaking the law.

You should also be aware of what the responsibilities are of others. For example, builders, contractors or clients will also have their own health and safety responsibilities, other people on your team, as well residents if they are living at the property, will also have a degree of health and safety responsibility - even if it is just looking after their own safety.

Keep up to date

Health and Safety Practices for Architects and Engineers

Health and safety rules, laws and recommendations are always changing. With the growth of technology, innovations, and trends, the world of architecture is always pushing boundaries, but this also means that health and safety advice is also always changing. Something that is deemed to be safe one day might not be the next and there might also be implications of new ideas that can impact health and safety. 

It is important, therefore that as an architect, you stay engaged with these changes and comply with new rules to ensure everybody's safety.

Have a plan

As an architect or engineer, you will understand the importance of having a plan for the design of your building. However, it is also important that you have a plan in terms of health and safety and risk management. 

Understanding what your risks are, now and in the future, as well as the potential health and safety risks for your clients in the future should make up an important part of your plan and help you to find solutions which will overcome these potential risks.

If you are an architect or engineer, health and safety is an important consideration and one which, if it is ignored, can put yourself and those around you at risk. There can also be legal implications if health and safety is not taken seriously and, therefore, it is important that you consider it at every step.

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Comments (2)

sing, Architectural Draftsperson • 2020


robert, Architect • 2020

Thanks for the tips