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July 20, 2016

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Book review: ICE manual of health and safety (second edition)

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Book title:
ICE manual of health and safety in construction
Second edition

Book’s author:
Ciaran McAleenan and David Oloke

Book review written by Rhaynukaa Soni CMIOSH,
a Director at RLS Consultants Ltd


As the construction industry continues to mature, access to health and safety advice is no longer restricted to health and safety professionals.  Increasingly project teams work on the premise ‘safety doesn’t do safety’ and therefore it is necessary for everyone involved to have easy access to succinct and practical advice.  The HSE website remains a firm favourite for up-to-date legislative information with industry websites offering a wide array of resources e.g. ICE, IOSH and CITB etc.

One that I would thoroughly recommend adding to your list of excellent resources is the ICE Manual of Health and Safety in Construction (Second edition), available in hardback as part of the ICE manual range.

Having shared the book with colleagues for feedback, it is interesting to note that whilst this is quite clearly a health and safety manual it has been put together by engineers.  This has resulted in a hands-on approach to a lot of topics that may otherwise seem rather theoretical or even impractical if reading traditional health and safety books.

The manual covers 24 chapters which look at most of the topics within the health and safety spectrum, with each chapter written by subject matter specialists.  My initial reaction, I must confess, was apprehension as the book is clearly very text heavy.  However, once you pick a topic and start reading, the language used is clear, concise and very accessible i.e. you don’t need to be an engineer to understand the points being made.

Furthermore, this manual covers what is considered to be non-traditional health and safety areas i.e. procurement.  As a key function carried out by the client as a duty holder, this brief, yet insightful chapter touches on the HSE’s take on the role of the client, through to BIM and the pre-qualification process.  Whilst this is by no means a complete guide to health and safety considerations for procurement it provides enough information to get the reader thinking about the key points with practical advice.

As with all printed books, when legislation changes / is amended that particular area will be out of date.  However, the more I read the more I find a lot of the topics are addressed in such a way the general principal will remain the same.  This is particularly true for topics such as “Addressing safety issues in construction” or “Controlling exposure to biological hazards”.

In conclusion this book offers practical advice, insight and examples across a wide spectrum of topics and is presented in a manner that you can dip in and out of the book as required.  Equally, for those starting out in the industry this is a great cover to cover read, providing an excellent foundation that can be built on.  Overall, as with a lot of health and safety literature from the ICE this is a fantastic book to add to your resource library and I can see myself referring to it again and again.


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