HSE: Construction Health Management Essentials

Construction Occupational Health Management Essentials (COHME)

The construction industry in the United Kingdom employs more than 2 million people and has a high incidence of occupational illnesses taht can disable the individuals and inflict long-term damage on their health and their families, according to Britain's Health and Safety Executive. HSE provides a series of Health Management Essentials to help architects, contractors, clients, and workers prevent these illnesses and occupational injuries.

The agency's COHME Web site explains how to manage occupational health risks and meet the requirements of the UK's Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM).

CDM Coordinators have a key role in advising and assisting clients about health risk management. They should manage the flow of information between other dutyholders and understand the duties of others involved in the project.

Clients can remove or reduce risks to health.

Designers and architects can identify and eliminate hazards and reduce remaining risks.

Contractors can plan and implement a strategy to manage occupational health risks to which their employees and subcontractors' employees may be exposed.

Managing occupational health is not merely about providing health screening before someone starts work. First aid, general information about health, well-being and fitness to work, and managing an absence related to work and returning to work as soon as possible are part of the process.

Common illnesses related to construction work include:

  • Back pain
  • Skin problems, dermatitis
  • Respiratory problems
  • Hearing loss
  • Illnesses related to vibrating tools
  • Stress

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