Construction site safety: who is responsible for safety?


Title IV and the management of construction site safety

Title IV of Legislative Decree 81/2008 provides for detailed regulations for the protection of health and safety on construction sites. Title IV literally refers to “temporary or mobile construction sites“, but also contains special organizational measures applicable to construction or civil engineering work.

First, it is necessary to delimit the meaning of the term “construction site”. Art. 89 defines it as a place where construction or engineering work is carried out, characterised by two elements:

  • The temporariness, understood as the provision of a limited duration in time of the activities aimed at the realization of the work.
  • Mobility, as a peculiarity of not being fixed in a given place, as it is destined to be moved in the territory for the realization of a large work, such as road construction sites, which advance day by day.


Who are responsible for compliance with construction site safety regulations?

Basically all subjects are obliged to respect and enforce the rules on safety on site. However, each figure obviously has different responsibilities (both civil and criminal) in relation to the role covered. Below are the main figures involved in temporary and mobile construction sites:

  • Client
  • Works Manager (RdL)
  • Design Safety Coordinator (CSP)
  • Execution-Time Safety Coordinator (CSE)
  • The Contractor, often called simply “Custodian”
  • Construction companies and self-employed persons

The figure of main responsibility within the construction site is certainly the Client, the subject for whom the entire planned work is carried out.

The Customer can be a private or public entity. In the latter case, the person responsible must be identified as the person who has decision-making and spending powers for the management of the contract.

The figure of the Client is fundamental because it responds to the decision-making and programmatic – design obligations of the construction site. However, these powers may be transferred to the Project Manager, exempting the client from any liability.

Originally, the assignment of the assignment to the Works Manager did not exempt the client from liability, but the corrective decree no. 106/2009 modified the discipline, eliminating the duty of the client to carry out checks on the work of the Works Manager.


What are the main duties of the Client to ensure safety on construction sites?

The Customer, in order to protect himself and not incur both civil and criminal sanctions, must:

  • Apply general protective measures. It is a programmatic obligation to identify and assess all the risks for its activity, also in order to adopt all the appropriate prevention and protection measures to eliminate at source the risks present in the construction site
  • Designate the Designer and the Safety Coordinator in the Design Phase (CSP), the latter in the event that more than one company will be present on site (even if not at the same time)
  • Designate the Safety Coordinator during the execution phase, before the assignment of the works, in the event that there are several companies on site (even if not at the same time)
  • Identify the contractor or self-employed person for the realization of the work
  • Verify the Technical Professional Suitability (ITP) of self-employed workers or contractors and executors. In particular, it must request the appropriate documentation required by law
  • Consider and apply the provisions contained in the Security and Coordination Plan (PSC)
  • Require the executing companies:
    • the declaration of the average annual staff, broken down by qualification
    • the details of the INPS and INAIL complaints of workers
    • the Single Document of Contributory Regularity (DURC)
    • the declaration relating to the National Collective Labour Agreement (CCNL) applied
  • Communicate the name of the CSP and the CSE to the executing companies and make it public in the cartel of the construction site
  • Check the work of the CSP and CSE and if this is not considered adequate to the extent and characteristics of the processes, replace them with more prepared subjects
  • Transmit to the competent administration, before the start of the works subject to SCIA (Certified Report of Start of Activity) all the documents necessary for the start of the works
  • Suspend activity in case of serious and imminent danger

Finally, it should be noted that the appointment of the CSPs and the CSE does not relieve the Client of the obligation to supervise the fulfilment of the relevant and respective obligations.

From the analysis of the duties described above, it clearly emerges the importance of the role of the Client within the safety system on construction sites and the need to create a network of subjects that assist it and that implement a protection system suitable to avoid accidents or damage during the realization of the works.


Are you looking for an experienced professional in construction site safety? Let’s stay in touch!

Safetyone Ingegneria Srl has decades of experience in the field of site safety, holding positions as CSP / CSE / RdL and Safety Supervisor for any type of temporary and mobile construction site.

If you are looking for professional and qualified support in the field of safety on construction sites throughout the national territory we are your ideal partner.