The proposed changes to the CDM regulations (now due to be enforced in April 2007) will be aimed to cut bureaucracy and make clients more accountable, placing a growing emphasis on employment of specialist safety co-ordinators, and demonstratively competent designers and contractors.
Faithful+Gould, which is widely recognised for its expertise in health and safety management, says construction organisations will need to review the proposed Construction (Design & Management) Regulations 2007 carefully and assess the implications of the new Approved Code of Practice to accompany the new regulations (to be issued three months before the enforcement date).
Geoff Harvey, Senior Health and Safety Consultant in Faithful+Gould's Birmingham office explains: "Much has been learnt from the implementation of the CDM regulations in 1994. Whilst they have proved beneficial in many ways, there is widespread recognition that they have not fully addressed the required management of health and safety risks during construction design, they did not empower the Planning Supervisor or recognise the influence clients wield, and have been perceived as complicated."
In essence the new regulations are intended to improve the management of risk by bringing together existing regulations, simplifying procedures, maximising flexibility to suit the myriad of contractual arrangements, strengthening co-ordination and communication and focusing on planning and management rather than paperwork.
It is proposed that the CDM Regulations (1994/2000) and the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations (1996) are revoked in full, with other relevant documentation being amended to bring it in line. This should assist greatly in simplifying compliance and substantially avoid the need for constant cross-referencing.
Among the key changes anticipated is greater client accountability and the requirement to appoint a safety co-ordinator before design work begins. If no appropriate safety appointment is made, the client will be deemed to have appointed himself. The current role of the Planning Supervisor is to be undertaken by this "Co-ordinator". The Co-ordinator will advise and assist the client in undertaking the measures he needs to take to comply with the new regulations.
For all members of the construction team there will be a greater emphasis on getting the right information, to the right people, at the right time. For designers, the regulations should become clearer and less subjective. For contractors, the emphasis is likely to be on a greater focus on planning and management.
Notification of a project by the client to the HSE at the commencement of design will be required and the client will have to ensure that appropriate arrangements are made and maintained throughout the project. Requirements on clients will relate both to construction safety and maintenance for any property designed as a place of work.
Says Geoff Harvey: "With greater client liability, the involvement of health and safety specialists from the outset will become increasingly critical. The need is to put in place the right people, procedures and policies and support these with proportionate auditing. This can be achieved through client resources or, where these are insufficient, through third party consultants. The good news is that including H&S specialists in discussions from feasibility stage onwards does not ultimately need to cost more. Health and safety should be an integral part of the design and, indeed, life cycle process and can bring overall bottom line benefits as well as preventing injury."