Guaranteed Pass Scheme - Find out more Book Online Today

Who’s responsible for health and safety at a construction site?

Construction sites are complex when it comes down to health and safety as there are potentially several CDM Duty holders. Organisations or individuals can carry out the role of more than one duty holder, provided they have the skills, knowledge, experience and the organisational capability necessary to carry out those roles in a way that secures health and safety.

Commercial clients

Organisations or individuals for whom a construction project is carried out that is done as part of a business.


Organisations or individuals who as part of a business, prepare or modify designs for a building, product or system relating to construction work.

Principal designers

Designers appointed by the client in projects involving more than one contractor. They can be an organisation or an individual with sufficient knowledge, experience and ability to carry out the role.

Principal contractors

Contractors appointed by the client to coordinate the construction phase of a project where it involves more than one contractor.   


Those who carry out the actual construction work, contractors can be an individual or a company.


Those working for or under the control of contractors on a construction site.

It’s the Site Manager who is most likely to be held responsible

The day-to-day responsibility for on-site health and safety, and that’s likely to be the supervisor or manager, depending on the size of the site, the site manager’s role may vary; a site manager may have full responsibility for a small construction site but may just have control of only one part of a much larger site.

SSSTS is the construction industry standard for first line managers and Supervisors

The SSSTS course is aimed at first line managers and supervisors or individuals progressing towards a first line management or supervisory position. The content on the SSSTS course is about increasing understanding and awareness for new managers. The key aim is to understand the need for good practice and what good practice is. The site supervising course is designed for foremen, first line managers, supervisors and team leaders. If you are a supervisor working on a site that belongs to the Major Contractors Group or a UKCG site, the SSSTS certificate will be required.

SMSTS is an identifiable qualification for construction managers

If you are involved in the management or planning, organising, monitoring, controlling and administering construction safety - you can only work on a site if you are SMSTS certificated. SMSTS is very focused on law, regulatory requirements and specific good practice as outlined by the Health and Safety Executive. So the site management course is designed for project managers, supervisors and site managers – as well as owners of small to medium sized businesses.

Need more help and advice?

If you are in any doubt you can call upon RISK to provide health & safety advice on the best qualifications for your career development or company - as well as the very highest standards of industry relevant training.