The risk of occupational disease and serious injury in the building and construction industry is high. The earlier in the construction process, the greater are the possibilities to reduce hazards.
According to the Swedish legislation, Architects and Design Engineers shall, within the framework of their assignment, ensure that aspects of health and safety are considered during the construction of a building as well as in the use of the finished building.
Since the 1st of January 2009, Clients (natural or legal persons for whom projects are carried out) in Sweden are obliged to appoint a Health and Safety Coordinator for the design and planning of the building. The Coordinators must have the educational skills and experience needed to perform their duties.
The aim of this study was to find out what persons are appointed to be coordinators, how they perceive their duties and, potentially, what could facilitate the Health and Safety Coordinators’ activities and construction site safety.
Telephone interviews were carried out with 40 Health and Safety Coordinators for the design and planning phase of 42 building projects during 2010.
The Coordinators education and experiences varied to a large degree. Their description of duties also varied greatly, from no duties, to administrative duties, to active injury prevention.
According to the Coordinators, the following factors had a positive influence on their possibilities to act for injury prevention:
- The Coordinator is appointed early in the process
- The Coordinator has authority in the project
- The Client prioritizes occupational safety
- There is knowledge of construction methods in the design team