Speaking to Construction Manager, Philip White confirmed that the HSE is looking to scrap the 140-page Approved Code of Practice and bring the CDM Regulations in line with the corresponding 20-page EU Temporary Or Mobile Construction Sites Directive, as CM reported last week (CM June).
Removing the ACOP would also call into question the appointment of an independent, impartial CDM coordinator. While the EU Directive also outlines the need for a safety co-ordinator, it allows the role to be filled by an existing member of the project team.
White said: “What we are looking at is how we deliver the technical safety standards that everyone agrees are necessary without the unnecessary bureaucracy. We want to help the industry work in a more stream-lined way and make it better for small and medium sized enterprises to understand and comply with the regulations.”
A draft of the revisions is expected to be presented to the HSE board in December with a view to implementation in 2014.
Health and safety officials are currently briefing the industry behind the scenes on their aims which are 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.
Peter Caplehorn, technical director of Scott Brownrigg and chair of the CIC safety panel told CM last week: “The HSE is keen to scrap the Approved Code of Practice 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.”
Dr Billy Hare MCIOB of Glasgow Caledonian University, a member of the CIOB Health and Safety Committee, said that removing the ACOP opens up the possibility that the UK could move towards the interpretation of the EU directive that holds sway in Ireland.
'The ACOP takes the industry down the road of an independent person, but the basic EU law is open to interpretation and allows for an existing member of the team – in Ireland it's usually the Lead Designer.
“Also, the ACOP 2007 made a great deal of safety 'competency', which has spawned a small industry around competency assessment, but the EU directive isn't so prescriptive on competency.”
Hare also argued that the ACOP already forms the basis of other industry safety guidance, so removing it is unlikely to impact on custom, practice and HSE safety inspectors' expectations.