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  • Carl Sievewright CMIOSH CMaPS

Operations and Maintenance Manuals and Health & Safety Files

The health and safety file (HSF) and operations and maintenance manuals (O+Ms) are terms which are often used interchangeably, and they usually mean a document which incorporates both lots of information. The purpose of these documents is to formalise the process of providing all the relevant building information to the end-user, and also any information which will be useful to any person involved in any subsequent project, maintenance or cleaning of the building. The principal designer must prepare this information, and the principal contractor must supply relevant information, as per regulation 12 of The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.


This process should start at the pre-construction phase, and continue through the project, with the HSF and O+M information updated as the project progresses. In reality, what often happens is these jobs are left until the end and take up valuable time when your time is often better spent focusing on the site. Alternatively, the task of putting these documents together is given to someone who doesn’t fully understand what they are doing. That’s where Saxon Safety can help. We offer a service where we can produce your manuals and files for you, chasing sub-contractors and suppliers for the right information, checking that the documents sent are appropriate, proportionate and correct. In our team, we have extensive construction and CDM experience, from project management and CDM advisor backgrounds, so we are very well equipped to take care of this element, and give you some time back.

HSE Guidance Document L153 (Managing health and safety in construction Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015) says that a health and safety file should have the following information:


(a) a brief description of the work carried out;


(b) any hazards that have not been eliminated through the design and construction processes, and how they have been addressed (eg surveys or other information concerning asbestos or contaminated land);


(c) key structural principles (eg bracing, sources of substantial stored energy – including pre- or post-tensioned members) and safe working loads for floors and roofs;


(d) hazardous materials used (eg lead paints and special coatings);


(e) information regarding the removal or dismantling of installed plant and equipment (eg any special arrangements for lifting such equipment);


(f) health and safety information about equipment provided for cleaning or maintaining the structure;


(g) the nature, location and markings of significant services, including underground cables; gas supply equipment; fire-fighting services etc;


(h) information and as-built drawings of the building, its plant and equipment (eg the means of safe access to and from service voids and fire doors).


There should be enough detail to allow the likely risks to be identified and addressed by those carrying out the work. However, the level of detail should be proportionate to the risks. The file should not include things that will be of no help when planning future construction work such as pre-construction information, the construction phase plan, contractual documents, safety method statements etc. Information must be in a convenient form, clear, concise and easily understandable.


If you think getting some time back, and having one less thing to worry about is what you need, get in touch today to discuss your requirements.

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