CDM Regulations: What are the main effects of the revisions?

What are the main effects of the revisions to the CDM Regulations?

Although there have been a number of improvements to general health & safety within the construction industry before the revised Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007) came in to force, construction is still a dangerous occupation. In 2005/6, almost one third of workers killed in workplace accidents in the UK were from this sector. An alarming 3677 construction workers were reported as suffering a major injury at work.

CDM 2007 is a very significant update to the construction industry’s health and safety regulations. The focus is on managing risks on site, reducing paperwork, encouraging team work and getting the right people for the right job at the right time. This should signal a step change in health and safety management and performance within the industry. The revision also makes it easier to comply with requirements as it clarifies and simplifies existing regulations.

CDM Regulations – The Main Changes

  • The Client is now in a position to have greater influence over the project. CDM Regulations 2007 seeks to reinforce the authority of the client to ensure appropriate standards of health and safety are in place. Clients are assisted in making their key appointments by the guidance on competence.
  • The role of the Planning Supervisor has been replaced with a new role of CDM Co-ordinator. The Co-ordinator will act as the client’s key advisor for effective communication and coordination of health and safety information.
  • There a far greater emphasis on the importance of competence at all levels in securing health and safety benefits, while the assessment of competence is made far more simple.
  • Needless paperwork and bureaucracy has been driven out and replaced with a requirement that it should be project-specific, relevant, proportionate to the risk and of
    real use in helping to manage the risk. If is does not conform to this description, it is not required.
  • Defining the need to notify projects has been clarified and simplified. Projects are now notifiable if they are expected to last more than 30 days or 500 person days. No domestic projects are notifiable.

The Client now has a major influence on the standards of health and safety relevant to the project they are procuring (there are no duties placed on domestic clients). Whilst the regulations do not require the Client to be actively involved in the management of the project, undertake site inspections, or even visit the site, he is expected to ask those that he appoints (such as the Principal Contractor), to give a reassurance that the arrangements for managing the safety of the project are suitable, to ensure that the work can be carried out safely and that there are reasonable arrangements for welfare.

The CDM Co-ordinator will help the Client to comply with legal obligations. The role of the Co-ordinator is to act as the Client’s key advisor, assisting on matters such as competence assessment and co-ordinating the flow of health and safety information between Client, Designer and Contractors. The closer relationship between Client and Co-ordinator should allow the Co-ordinator sufficient influence to perform their role effectively on behalf of the Client.

The process of demonstrating and assessing competence is simplified by the publication of a ‘core criteria’ for competence in Appendix 4 of the ACOP (Approved Code of Practice), which provides examples of how to demonstrate various competencies. The anticipated consistency simplifies the assessment of competence.

The CDM regulations 2007 will provide the construction industry with the framework to significantly reduce accidents and all dutyholders should recognise the vital role they must play in order to achieve this.

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posted on July 14, 2010
in Specialist Trades
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