The Health and Safety Executive is set to pare down the CDM Regulations in the most radical rewrite of the legislation since the safety rules came into force
almost 20 years ago.
Health and safety officials are said to be quietly briefing the industry on plans aimed at falling in with the government’s agenda of reducing red tape. It wants to reach a consensus with the industry before unveiling the new draft. The proposals include scrapping the 140-page Approved Code of Practice and bringing the CDM Regulations in line with the corresponding 20-page EU Temporary Or Mobile Construction Sites Directive.
The health and safety watchdog also plans to review the role of CDM coordinator.
Peter Caplehorn, technical director of Scott Brownrigg and chair of the CIC safety panel said: “The HSE is keen to scrap the Approved Code of Conduct because if there is a simpler set of rules they can’t be interpreted with all kinds of embellishments. They are keen to drive out needless bureaucracy.
“There has been endless debate about the role of CDM coordinator — the HSE is keen to re-open this and generally wants to reach a consensus with the industry over the best way forward.”
“If these changes are made it will certainly smarten up the health and safety arena considerably.”
The draft is expected to be presented to the HSE board in December with a view to implementation in 2014.
Richard Thorne, vice chair of the CIOB health and safety panel and regional director of Aecom, said: “The recent review of the Regulations by Professor Lofstedt published in April in many ways gives CDM 2007 the thumbs up, but the report does highlight many shortfalls. Clearly there are elements of CDM 2007 which are not providing the intended benefit such as people making hard work of competency assessments; too much paperwork; and CDM coordinators of variable capability and benefit to a project.”
A spokesman for the HSE said: “While many aspects of the package work very well, such as the technical standards required during construction work, other aspects continue to cause concern for the industry, including coordination of health and health safety prior to construction work starting. HSE is looking at how these concerns can be addressed so the CDM regulatory package is focused on maintaining and improving health and safety standards for construction workers across the industry. We are working closely with industry bodies in developing any revised proposals.”
The Association for Project Safety said: “We will be highlighting to the HSE where the existing CDM Regulations can be improved, and the EU Directive better implemented in the UK, without incurring additional burdens upon business and the construction industry.”
This will be the fourth rewrite of the CDM Regulations since they were introduced in 1994. They place specific duties on clients, designers and contractors, to rethink their approach to health and safety, so that it is taken into account throughout the life of a construction project from its inception to its subsequent final demolition and removal. Critics say they have resulted in layers of unnecessary bureaucracy.