SAFEQUAL News & Blog

Is SMSTS a legal requirement?

Employers have a legal requirement to provide competent health and safety management and supervision on all construction sites.

Individuals who successfully complete the SMSTS (Site Management Safety Training Scheme) and SSSTS (Site Supervisor’s Safety Training Scheme) gain a certificate to demonstrate industry best practice. This effectively allows the employer to demonstrate that they are compliant with the law. The SMSTS qualification is normally a pre-requisite qualification for anyone involved in management activity on a construction site, whilst the SSSTS is a pre-requisite qualification for those that supervise the work of others on construction sites.

What makes SMSTS courses so popular in construction?

The purpose of the SMSTS and SSSTS certificates are to ensure your managers are not breaching the Law. Which is why before you accept the role of a manager you need to be aware of the implications it can have on your life. You will earn more money and it’s a great advancement to make in your construction career. However, managers have legal duties to meet and can face prosecution by the health and safety executive if they are found to be failing the workers by not complying with health and safety law.

As a Site Manager you are legally responsible for the health & safety of your site.

Knowing legal responsibilities isn’t enough and the site manager could face a custodial sentence if found in breach of the law. In August 2019, Clancy Docwra Limited, principal contractor, and Daniel Walsh, who was the site supervisor for the site, were both found guilty and sentenced at Southwark Crown Court, for health and safety breaches which resulted in the tragic death of the operative.

Failed to ensure the safety so far as is reasonably practicable of its employees

The incident happened during night work at a construction site in Stratford, site operative Kevin Campbell was struck by an excavator mounted vibrator (EMV), which was attached to a 35-tonne excavator that he was working next to. Kevin had been disconnecting lifting accessories from a metal pile that had just been extracted from the ground when he was crushed against a concrete wall a short distance away. He died from his injuries.

A guilty verdict for the construction company and employee following preventable death

The investigation also found that Daniel Walsh, who was the site supervisor for the site and the person operating the excavator at the time, failed to take reasonable care for other persons on site at the time.

Clancy Docwra Limited of Coppermill Lane, Harefield, Middlesex pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and 3(1) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £1,000,000 and ordered to pay costs of £108,502.30.

Daniel Walsh of Eastcote, Orpington, Kent pleaded not guilty to breaching Section 7(a) of the Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and was given a 6 month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay costs of £15,000.

“This death was wholly preventable and serves as a reminder as to why it is so important for companies and individuals to take their responsibilities to protect others seriously and to take the simple actions necessary to eliminate and minimise risks.

“If the risks had been properly considered by the company, and simple and appropriate control measures were put in place, then the likelihood of such an incident occurring would have been significantly reduced. Informing all site operatives of the specific risks they face when carrying out such tasks and the control measures required of exclusion zones, the importance of communication and the mandatory use of excavator safety levers were simple actions that should have been put in place and their effectiveness monitored.

“All those with legal responsibilities must be clear that HSE will not hesitate to take appropriate enforcement action including where appropriate prosecution against those that fall below the required standards”.

Darren Alldis, HSE inspector.

The SMSTS course educates you on how to spot hazards and reduce the risks

The SMSTS course is delivered over a five day period in a classroom setting. Trained tutors teach vital skills that every manager needs in order to manage the health and safety of the site effectively. It’s a course that is chosen by employers who need to provide training to their managers. It is also chosen by those who want to improve their careers and become managers in the future. The CITB qualification is an excellent choice to make if you are looking to get trained, as it gives a good basis in general health and safety for managers plus it provides information on the latest legislation and good practice guidelines.

The course teaches risk assessment and method statement skills but it also looks into a wide variety of jobs that are found in construction including working in confined spaces, demolition, scaffolding, excavations and manual handling. The managers also look into setting up sites safely.

All these skills taught on the training courses provide an excellent background in health and safety for all managers. At the end of the training the certificate is awarded to successful candidates and this is valid for five years. It shows the manager has the skills required to do their job and that they are aware of what is legally required from them.



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