The Importance of Health and Safety Files in Construction

Health & Safety Files

Health & Safety Files (H&S)  are concise documents that include health and safety information to allow maintenance, cleaning, alterations, refurbishment or demolition to be carried out safely.  Typically including details of the project and design philosophy, contact details, manufacturers literature for all trades, certificates and warranties and as fitted drawings. 

The Principal Designer is given responsibility to provide a H&S File as part of their obligations under The Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015 and Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. As the project progresses, the design team / construction team will be required to provide input to the document as necessary to ensure that hazards or risks are identified, mitigated where possible or managed.

On completion, the building owner must ensure that the H&S File is available to all who need information in the file such as leaseholders, persons who clean, maintain, alter, refurbish, repair or demolish any of the building and in the event of further works the newly-commissioned project’s principal designer.  The H&S File is provided with an Amendment Control Sheet which enables any changes to be logged.

In general, a H&S File will include the following: 

  • A Description of the Project
  • Project Directory for emergency and key contacts
  • Guidance on risks of general maintenance such as working at height or enclosure spaces.
  • Services installation information including Fire Block Plans
  • Site Information
  • Residual Risks and Hazards and how to manage them
  • Fire Strategy Drawings and Reports
  • Maintenance Strategies - but not full log sheets
  • Sections for Certificates, As Installed Dawings and Manufactures Literature.

It should be noted that the H&S File is not provided in lieu of the O&M manual, these are distinctly different documents and would both be required for a building handover.