Chapter 8 compliance Advice, Building Site Safety Tips, Residential Property H&S
An introduction to Chapter 8 compliance
17 Sep 2019
Most would agree that safety isn’t the most exciting part of an architectural project. But needless to say, it is one of the most important. However, our human nature of focusing on that which excites us often leads to site safety being pushed to the background as an afterthought, even for the best architects.
Both ethically and legally this can be a cause for concern. Although properly understanding and applying site safety requirements can cause additional drains on time and resource, ultimately doing so could save a lot of hassle, money and potential disaster once the project is underway.
Assessing the potential hazards of any architectural build and knowing what safety measures to apply can help industry professionals to cover all their bases in terms of their liability and ethical obligations.
This guide acts as an introduction to the safety rules and regulations which deal specifically with professionals who are undertaking work near or on public highways and roads. By understanding this specialist area of site safety, professionals can quickly and easily apply best practices to, making for a smoother project.
What is Chapter 8?
This important document is included in the 2009 Ministry of Transport’s Traffic Signs Manual. ‘Chapter 8’ of this document has been produced to highlight the best practices which should be adopted by industry professionals when it comes to creating a safe working environment near or on roads. This document is used exclusively for those that are dealing with temporary situations such as road works.
Chapter 8 is laid out in three main sections, detailing the primary concerns of those dealing with situations as highlighted above. These sections are:
1 – Gives guidance on the design of signs and other relevant safety measures with reference to temporary works.
2 – Provides information on where and how to place safety measures such as signs and other warnings.
3 – This is an updated section added as part of The Traffic Signs Regulation & General Direction 2016, it provides additional and updated guidance on sections one and two.
Chapter 8: When does it apply?
Chapter 8 provides safety guidance when the following two situations apply:
- Where individuals are undertaking work on or near a road, or where works may cause hazards or obstruction on those roads.
- Where those works are temporary in nature.
For example, Chapter 8 would apply when communications professionals are making repairs on or near a road. It would also apply if your architectural project required equipment or vehicles to be kept on the road. Equally, this guidance applies to road workers who are carrying out highway maintenance.
How to comply with Chapter 8
Chapter 8 provides professionals with detailed guidance across a range of situations. This means that how you apply that guidance depends widely on the type of hazard or obstruction you are causing on the road.
For example, much of the guidance refers to how vehicles such as work vans will need to be reflectively decorated to ensure they are clear and visible during periods that they are parked on a road. This applies in many cases such as for highway maintenance teams who regularly park in areas that would not usually be considered safe.
When it comes to architectural projects, these rules on reflective vehicles may well apply. However, safety advice on Chapter 8 compliant safety barriers is likely to be more relevant in this case. This is due to the nature of building projects often requiring pavement or road space to be undertaken safely.
Is non-compliance illegal?
Chapter 8 is a government written document which highlights best practices when it comes to road safety for temporary work. The guidance set out in its pages is not legislation itself, so is often overlooked as a ‘nice to have’ rather than as essential guidance.
However, the guidance it provides has been created to help businesses and professionals to comply to essential pieces of legislation in the Healthy and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Safety at Work (NI) Order 1978. Therefore, compliance with Chapter 8 provides a level of protection should any legal issues occur.
Often industry professionals will see the application of Chapter 8 as additional, unneeded hassle. Yet, these guidelines have been created to help professionals to quickly and easily apply best practices in keeping workers and the general public safe.
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