The Benefits of Reviewing Health and Safety Performance

Dale Potts
Significant changes to construction regulations are poised to come into force this spring and businesses must be aware of the increased responsibilities they will bring.

Revisions to the complex and bureaucratic Construction, Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 1994 will come into force in April 2007, says Graham Tyerman, associate director of the Stockton office of international project management and cost consultants, Faithful+Gould.

These will modify and bring together provisions in both the existing CDM Regulations and the Construction Health, Safety and Welfare (CHSW) Regulations 1996, into a single, more user-friendly, regulatory package.

"This will serve to further improve health and safety in an industry which still remains disproportionately dangerous," says Graham.

"The new CDM (2007) Regulations offer an opportunity to re-address health and safety performance as well as re-emphasising the health, safety and broader business benefits of a well-managed and co-ordinated approach to the management of health and safety in construction. Their implementation will bring greater clarity of the roles of duty holders as well as ensuring that a project is adequately planned and managed, and will strengthen the requirements for co-ordination between parties."

One of the key changes to the regulations includes the appointment of a CDM Co-ordinator who will be commissioned to advise the client on discharging their duties as well as managing the co-ordination of the safe design and planning of a project.

"In addition," says Graham, "clients now have to take reasonable steps to ensure that duty holder's management arrangements are suitable to enable the construction work to be carried out, without risk to health and safety, and that these arrangements are maintained and reviewed throughout the project."

Faithful+Gould is already ahead of the game, with a nation-wide resource of over 50 full-time health and safety professional staff working on live projects within the public, education, private development, utilities and oil and gas sectors.

Faithful+Gould has played an active role in the consultation process of the proposed revisions and is advising clients nationwide on how to comply with the new legislation.

"This will enable a seamless transition from the existing regulations," Graham adds.

"We take our responsibilities in this area very seriously and are currently holding seminars for our clients and partner organisations to familiarise themselves with the key changes that will affect them. We have also tried to make the process as user-friendly as possible by developing a toolkit that is, in effect, a dynamic document that takes the project through from start to completion. It is crucial that companies operating within the built environment sector are aware of these changes as failure to implement the modifications to the regulations could result in prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive or in the worst case scenario, the owner of the business could face imprisonment. Taking this into account, companies operating in this sector would do well to fully acquaint themselves with these changes, or face the consequences."

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