What documents do I need on a construction site?

As well as inspecting the provision of plant and equipment, the safe working practices during activities our inspectors will also check the site documentation.This has highlighted a degree of confusion on what documents are required by law and by industry standards, and often identifies shortfalls or occasionally, a plethora of site documents greater than expected leading to unnecessary pressure on the site management team to keep the documents up to date.

The law on construction health and safety requires action to protect those at work on site and members of the public who may be affected.

There are a number legal requirements concerning notifications, risk assessments, safety plans and examination reports etc. that must be also produced or submitted.

The required notifications, assessments and reports etc. are necessary to support the practical steps taken to secure health and safety on site.

You must have systems in place to ensure that these requirements are met and that the required ‘paperwork’ is in order and submitted or available to Inspectors and others as required.


  • CDM projects – where a construction project is notifiable the client must give written notice of the construction project to HSE before the construction phase begins. However, someone else may do this on their behalf. This is completed on the Form F10, a copy of which should be held on site.

Risk Assessments

  • General Assessment – employers are required to make an assessment of the health and safety risks to which employees and others are exposed on construction sites.The significant findings must be recorded where five of more people are employed.
  • Specific Assessments – certain regulations require risk assessments for specific hazards and state in more detail what is required. These include: work at height; hazardous substance (COSHH); manual handling; noise; vibration; lead, asbestos work and confined spaces etc.

CDM construction phase plan and health and safety file

  • Construction phase plan – the principal contractor or the contractor if they are the only contractor involved must prepare and then update the Construction Phase Plan throughout the project. The document is designed to help plan, manage and monitor the construction work so it can be carried out in a way that secures health and safety.
  • Health and safety file –  where there is more than one contractor involved in a project the Principal Designer must prepare a file containing information relating to the project which is likely to be needed for health and safety purposes during any subsequent construction work.

Thorough examination reports

There are strict legal requirements concerning the Thorough Examination of all lifting equipment and accessories e.g. cranes and slings etc.

Records of thorough examinations and tests must be: readily available to enforcing authorities; secure; and capable of being produced in written form.

Inspection reports

Excavations, scaffolds, ladders and fall arrest systems etc must all be inspected at specified times with reports prepared and retained on site for the duration of the project and a further 3 months off site in archives.

Arrangements for controlling high risk activities

The arrangements for carrying out demolition, dismantling or structural alteration must be recorded in writing before the work begins. This is usually achieved by means of a safety plan or detailed method statement that can be generated from a risk assessment. Such statements are prepared for many higher risk construction activities e.g. roof work.

Accident Book, Injuries and dangerous occurrences

An accident book must be held on site, and all incidents resulting in personal injury must be recorded in it. Additionally deaths and injury accidents and ill health conditions that occur on site must be recorded and reported to the HSE in certain cases under RIDDOR 2013. The same applies to specified dangerous occurrences.

In addition to the administration requirements for running a construction site, there is a requirement to display information too.

    1. Health and Safety Law Poster
    2. Names and contact details of first aiders including the location of the first aid kit
    3. Traffic Management plans
    4. Fire Plan
    5. F10 Notification

This list is not exhaustive, but gives Employers an opportunity to check their site documentation to ensure it at least covers the above as a legal minimum.

If you require a safety inspection on one or all of your sites please contact us on 01525 309807.