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CSCS cards and IFA membership in job adverisements for diggers...what a laugh
Health and safety on site is a mish mash of laws, regulations, company rules and dictates from insurance companies.

a) With construction companies (and presumably other companies too) the insurance companies dictate things that have to be in place for the insurance policies (public and professional) to be valid. These include 'safety' stipulations.

b) The CDM regulations also include rules that must be followed, don't think they are enforced, but if not followed and something goes wrong = big trouble. Under CDM regs, the principle contractor is responsible for, amongst other things health and safety and site rules. (Note the two are separate!)

c) Individual companies have their own safety rules and method statements for tasks, either from risk assessments or as a result of incidents/near misses and the following investigations.

d) The health and safety law states that employers are responsible for making working conditions safe (within reason). And that individuals are responsible for their own and others safety at work (within reason).

Problems occur when a) clashes with HSE guidelines and c) and even sometimes b) as the principle contractor can't afford to work without insurance so MUST follow the dictates of the insurance companies whilst still trying to not implicate themselves if something goes wrong under b) or d).

The thing to remember is at all times, no matter what you are told, no matter what you have signed, no matter what pressure you are under, is..... on an individual basis The Health and Safety law cuts through everything else.

If you are asked to do something that you think is unsafe, don't do it. You are legally obliged to look after your own safety.
But tell your supervisor so. Write it down on paper. Lodge it in the near miss system. Contact the HSE..etc etc.

You can't be forced to do something unsafe. You can be sacked, but that is unfair dismissal.

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