How to Create the Perfect Health & Safety File

The health and safety file is only required for projects involving more than one contractor.

The health and safety file is one of the most useful innovations introduced by CDM. However, it is only of value if it contains relevant, useful and accurate information 

Who prepares the health and safety file?

The health and safety file are prepared by the Principal Designer and is a vital component required under CDM 2015 regulations.

When should the Health and Safety File be produced?

For any construction project to run as smoothly as possible health and safety should be considered throughout. 

The earlier any relevant information is compiled and shared, the sooner informed and safer decisions can be made.

Appropriately tagged information can be input once and then used throughout a project. 

What the health and safety file should contain:

It should contain all relevant health and safety information about the project for future work to be carried out safely. This even includes future cleaning and maintenance of the building. 

Under CDM regulations certain information must be within the health and safety file. 

The main aim of information included is to alert future users and those working on the project to health and safety risks present.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project the exact information that will need to be included will vary.

However, the following items should generally be included in a health and safety file.

  • A description of the project carried out, along with details of the location of the site
  • Information on residual hazards which remain and how they have been dealt with
  • Safe working loads of the structure and other key structural principles
  • Details of any hazardous materials used
  • Health and safety information relating to operation and maintenance of the structure including information required for safe cleaning and maintenance of the structure
  • Health and safety information relating to installed plant and equipment such as information regarding removal or dismantling
  • The location and nature of significant services, particularly hidden services
  • As built drawings of the structure, its plant and equipment

It doesn't have to include

Whilst you may be inclined to cover everything to try and make your health and safety file as comprehensive as possible, you don’t need to.

There is no need to "fill out" your health and safety file. Only include information that will have an impact on the future safe use of the structure or future construction works. 

Don’t include the following:

  • Information about the construction process (which may be included in the construction phase plan).  Unless it may affect future works 
  • Contractual information
  • Pre-construction information 
  • Information about the normal operation of the completed structure that have no impact on health and safety.

Keeping Your Health and Safety File Up to Date

Once you have completed your health and safety file it is important to keep it up to date and readily available for inspection.

If work is carried out on premises where a health and safety file is already present, update the existing file and fill in any gaps.

The health and safety file can be kept for the lifetime of the building. If new owners take over it should be passed on to them, and they should be briefed of its importance and purpose.

Likewise, if the premise is leased, each new leaseholder should be given access to the health and safety file.

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