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Health and safety file
Domain: Health and safety at work => Documents/certification => Construction work
Grammatical category
Noun phrase
Grammar notes
A permanent record of information for the client or the end user, prepared in respect of each structure in a project, which focuses on health and safety. The information it contains will alert those responsible for each structure, to the key health and safety risks that will need to be dealt with during subsequent construction work, including: alterations, cleaning, demolition, maintenance, refurbishment and repair. The amount of detail contained and effort required to prepare it, should be proportionate to the scale and complexity of the structure and the level of associated risk.

Contents The file covers all aspects of the project or structure or materials (including articles or substances) that might affect the health and safety of those at work and others and typically includes:
1) 'as built' drawings and plans used and produced during the construction process;
2) the design criteria and general details of the construction methods and materials used;
3) details of the equipment and maitenance facilities within the structure;
4) maintenance procedures and requirements for the structure;
5) operating/maintenance manuals and schedules, produced by specialist contractors and suppliers, for plant and equipment installed in the structure;
6) details of the location and nature of utilities and services, including emergency and fire-fighting systems. The planning supervisor may find it useful to detail in the pre-tender stage health and safety plan requirements on how and when the information for the health and safety file is to be prepared and passed on. The principal contractor may also find it useful to include similar procedures in the health and safety plan for the construction phase. It is important to establish at an early stage who is to compile the file. This is often the planning supervisor; in other cases, for example design-and-build contracts, the principal contractor may obtain information for the file from the specialist contractors, assemble it and give it to the planning supervisor.

Duties regarding the health and safety file:
1) planning supervisors must ensure that a file is prepared, reviewed, amended or added to, as necessary and given to the client;
2) clients, designers, principal contractors and other contractors must supply information for the file;
3) clients must take reasonable steps to ensure that the project health and safety file is kept available for future construction work; and
4) everyone providing information for the health and safety file should make sure that it is accurate, and provided promptly.
Definition source
Jones 2003, adapted from "Managing health and safety in construction – Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 – Approved Code of Practice and Guidance", HSG224, HSE Books, 2001; and HSE Construction Sheet No. 44
European legislation
Directive 92/57/EEC
British legislation
The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994
Concept diagram