Building Health | Safety Critical Work

Safety Critical Work

How we ensure your employees are fit to work


Building Health co-founded the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM) Construction Special Interest Group and co-authored the SOM Construction Worker Health Assessment Guidance

Construction industry jobs involve activities that can place workers at risk, unless the person has full, unimpaired control of their physical and mental capabilities. These jobs are called 'safety critical' and the people who do them are 'safety-critical workers'. You will need to decide whether an activity contains a safety-critical element and an incapacitated worker might expose themselves or others to a significant risk of harm. We will focus on health conditions that may involve, sudden loss of consciousness impaired awareness or concentration, sudden incapacity, impaired balance or coordination, restricted mobility and impaired vision or hearing.

Before someone starts safety-critical work, it is good practice to check the person is fit. This may also be a contractual obligation from the principal contractor.

An example is crane operation. You need to be sure that a crane operator is able to climb the mast, can see well enough (this might mean making sure they use prescription lenses) and does not suffer from a condition which might cause them to lose consciousness or reduce their ability to concentrate.