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Written by
on 13 September 2012


When it comes to the construction industry, health and safety is about more than simply ticking boxes – it’s about avoiding potentially serious incidents where employees could get severely injured. The SMSTS Course, designed for anyone in a managerial or supervisory role in the construction industry, makes sure that the people responsible for staff on a construction site know everything they need to know about how to keep people safe.

Need for Site Management Courses

In spite of all of the regulations brought in recent years (and the general furore around Health and Safety restrictions that we hear so much about in the press) construction remains a high-risk industry. According to HSE, a whopping 27% of workplace fatalities take place in the construction industry – despite its employees only making up 5% of the British workforce. The most common forms of injuries are from issues of manual handling or slips and trips on-site – although falls from height, collapses and injuries involving electricity also rank high on the list.

SMSTS stands for ‘Site Management Safety Training Scheme’, and is required for site managers and supervisors. Legally, it is the supervisors who have the responsibility to ensure that the site meets health and safety standards, and that everyone is safe from harm and injury.

The SMSTS Course covers a broad range of subjects – from understanding legal obligations and HSE regulations, to practical details of safety when working at height, fire precautions and what to do in case of an accident. It takes place over five days, and offers managers and supervisors robust training in everything they need to know on site.

The SMSTS Course has been designed to be practical, so that supervisors can make sure their sites not only meet regulations, but genuinely avoid serious incidents and injuries. Understanding all of these elements equips site supervisors and managers to create a safe working environment on construction sites.

There is also a business case for completing the SMSTS course, in addition to the natural motivation of keeping everyone safe. From a business perspective, reducing injury and accidents on a construction site saves money in terms of time lost and replacement employees. Having proper health and safety practises in place, such as those covered in the SMSTS course, will help reduce sick leave and absences – and companies also benefit in terms of cheaper insurance premiums and reduced legal costs.

A SMSTS course leads up to an examination, which all participants have to pass. Once they have passed, they will be issued with a certificate that lasts for five years, at which point they will be required to take a shorter refresher SMSTS course to keep up to date with the latest regulations.

For individuals, the SMSTS course represents career progression. For businesses it means fewer staffing and training costs. And for construction workers it means reducing the risk of serious incidents, accidents and injuries in the course of their working day.

Bio: Rebecca Field writes on behalf of Britannia Safety Training. Based near Norwich in Norfolk, they offer SMSTS courses to a range of clients helping them to both conform to the health and safety regulations but more importantly to improve and heighten awareness of on-site safety.

About the author

David Cant is a Director at Veritas Consulting. The SME’s favourite go-to consultant for health and safety know-how. Bucket loads of experience. Fluent in practical advice. Solutionist with a brain you can pick. You can find him across social media on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.