The safe operation of construction sites in the UK is governed by the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007 (CDM 2007). These regulations place duties on clients, contractors and designers and regulate the project from inception to completion and demolition. The regulations include safe working methods within all areas of construction i.e building, engineering work, demolition, site clearance and preparation. The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) gives practical advice on how to comply with the law. The aim of CDM 2007 is to make sure health and safety is an integral part of the management of the project, to improve the planning of the project, to identify hazards and to cut away unnecessary paperwork. Health and Safety should be part of the design of the project and not an extra requirement. If the rules are followed according to ACoP then there will be full compliance with the law.
As projects vary in all sizes, the health and safety planning should be in proportion to the risks that would be inherent to the project. The aim would be to identify risks and manage them. As health and safety is incorporated into the project from the beginning, this reduces cost and delays further down the line. Adherence to health and safety will result in a project to a high quality. Under these regulations the client must appoint a Principal Contractor and CDM co-ordinator who will then notify the HSE of the project. Although no formal appointment is necessary, there must be the same level of co-operation and co-ordination between all members of the project team as if a Principal Contractor and CDM co-ordinator had been appointed. For non-notifiable and low risk projects, a low key approach is sufficient. Projects where extra planning would be necessary include those which involve heavy or complex lifting operations, explosives, nearby high power lines, a risk of falling into water, radioactive materials being present, deep excavations and unusual working methods. Clients must ensure works are carried out within the project, but are not expected to do them themselves as their knowledge of construction may be insufficient. This is the role of the CDM co-ordinator. Clients must ensure that contractors, designers and other team members are adequately resourced and competent to do the job. The client may rely on the CDM co-ordinator’s advice on how best to carry out their duties.
For modifiable projects, clients must check that welfare facilities have been provided and that a health and safety file has been produced. This file will be a reference and a source of information to be used throughout the project. Much health and safety integral to a project will be as a result of the designers’ plans. Designers of the project can make a significant contribution to the project by helping to identify and eliminate hazards. The principal contractor will be inherently involved to properly plan, manage and coordinate the work to a successful delivery. Other contractors and the self – employed need to work with the principal contractor to ensure the risks are properly controlled. ASoP requires that all individuals are competently trained and competent to carry out the works within the project. The code has a legal status. In a litigation matter, if it is shown that there was compliance with the code then a Court may not find fault.