The main regulatory text concerning construction site safety is represented by Legislative Decree 81/08 and specifically by Title IV of the same, entitled “Temporary and mobile construction sites”. This chapter is none other than the old Legislative Decree 494 of 1996 which, after countless changes and additions, was repealed and inserted within the TUSL.
This section consists of 17 articles, from 88 to 104 inclusive, and 9 Annexes, which refer exclusively to construction sites (from Annex X to Annex XVIII). It is clear that the rule is not, however, governed exclusively by these sections, as other articles or Annexes of Legislative Decree 81/08 are applied in a more generic way in the workplace, such as Annex XIX, concerning safety checks on metal and fixed scaffolding, which may concern not only a temporary and mobile construction site, but also a maintenance intervention managed by the Customer in Title I.
What is a temporary and mobile construction site?
With reference to Article 89 and Annex X, “temporary and mobile construction site” or more simply “construction site” is defined as any place where construction or civil engineering works are carried out, including, by way of example, construction, maintenance, demolition, renovation of fixed, permanent or temporary works, in masonry, reinforced concrete, metal, wood or other materials, including the structural parts of the plant works.
This definition assumes a fundamental role and the priority task of the Customer is to establish, first of all, whether or not the activity to be carried out falls within the scope of Title IV.
It is in fact clear that the management of the works in Title IV provides for costs to be borne by the Client not secondary, especially in relation to the appointment of Safety Coordinators and related bureaucratic tasks, but it is also true that this choice is not “discretionary”. More than twenty years after the entry into force of the Construction Sites Directive, it still happens to hear the phrase “the Client has decided to manage the work in Title I through a DUVRI, as it was a maintenance or plant engineering intervention”.
This does not mean that these interventions must be managed compulsorily in Title IV, but simply that before deciding on the scope, it is advisable to re-read Annex X and in case of doubt about the applicability or not contact a trusted consultant.
The extension of the scope of application, by the legislator, also to interventions on structural parts of plant works means in fact that if the activity involves building interventions such as traces, small demolitions, excavations of modest entity or interventions on elements of support to plants of various kinds, the intervention falls as a whole within the definition of “temporary and mobile construction site” and consequently all the obligations referred to in Title IV are triggered.
On the contrary, the undue adoption of Title IV, in a more precautionary perspective, does not provide for risks or responsibilities on the part of the Client; but even in this case it is not advisable as it represents an unnecessary cost borne by the same.
When does Title IV of Legislative Decree 81/08 apply?
In the event that the activities fall within one of the cases provided for in Annex X of Legislative Decree 81/08, Title IV applies.
However, the legislator has provided for an important simplification for small construction sites where the presence of only one executing company is foreseen, or the non-mandatory nature of appointing the Coordinator in the design phase and in the execution phase, since there are in fact no interference problems.
Otherwise, in the event that the presence of several executing companies is foreseen, even if not simultaneously, the Client or the Works Manager, together with the assignment of the design assignment, has the obligation to designate the Design Coordinator (CSP) and before awarding the works to designate the Safety Coordinator during the Execution phase (CSE).
However, it is important to underline the fact that the identification of a single contractor does not allow it to subcontract one or more activities. In order not to fall within the appointment obligations indicated above, it will be the responsibility of the Customer to explain in the contract that the company can not in any case subcontract the works and ensure during the work that this clause is respected.
In the event of an accident at work and failure to appoint the CSP/CSE (where required by law) the civil and criminal liability profiles borne by the Customer are particularly heavy.
Another aspect to underline is that even in the presence of only one executing company, the Client is always obliged to verify the technical and professional suitability of the company according to the specifications set out in Annex XVII and send the preliminary notification in the event that the presumed amount of work exceeds two hundred man-days.
If you want to deepen the topic related to the methods of verification of the Technical Professional Suitability of companies (ITP), consult the article “Who deals with the verification of the Technical Professional Suitability of Companies“.
Penalties to be paid by the Customer
At the end of this article we would like to emphasize that the Customer is punished:
- with the arrest from three to six months or with the fine from 3,071.27 to 7,862.44 euros for the violation of Article 90, paragraphs 3, 4 and 5; or the failure to appoint the CSP and the CSE even if the appointment obligation is triggered during the work for the entry of a second company not initially foreseen
- with the arrest from two to four months or with the fine from 1,228.50 to 5,896.84 euros for the violation of Article 90, paragraph 9, letter a), or for failure to verify the technical professional suitability of an executing company
In relation to the above it is of fundamental importance for a Client, when carrying out even partially construction interventions, to carefully evaluate the scope of Title IV, to carry out the verification of the company’s ITP, to appoint the CSE and CSE and to transmit the preliminary notification (where necessary) and above all to make use of the support of an RDL in the event that you do not have adequate skills to manage these issues.
Do you have doubts about whether or not the activities to be carried out within your company or property fall under Title IV?
Safetyone Ingegneria Srl, thanks to its twenty years of experience in the sector, is able to promptly provide you with support for all issues concerning construction site safety.