Last edited 24 Apr 2015

Preventing unauthorised access to construction sites

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires that employers take reasonable steps to ensure the health and safety of persons other than their employees, which implies a duty to ensure people are safe from activities on construction sites.

In addition, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (the CDM Regulations) require the prevention of access to construction sites by unauthorised persons, and that ‘… where necessary in the interests of health and safety, a construction site must, so far as is reasonably practicable, and in accordance with the level of risk posed, comply with either or both of the following; have its perimeter identified by suitable signs and be arranged so that its extent is readily identifiable; or be fenced off.'

The principal contractor must take necessary steps to prevent access by unauthorised persons to the construction site and contractors must not begin work on a construction site unless reasonable steps have been taken to prevent access by unauthorised persons to that site.

Principal contractors should liaise with contractors to define the site boundaries using suitable barriers and take steps to ensure that only those authorised to access the site do so. For projects involving only one contractor, the contractor must do whatever is proportionate to prevent unauthorised access before starting work on the site.

Special consideration will be required for sites that have:

  • Rights of way through them.
  • Other work areas next to them.
  • Occupied houses next to them.
  • Children or vulnerable people nearby.

There may also be may be planning conditions attached to a planning permission setting out specific obligations in relation to the site perimeter.

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