Tomorrow, a new version of the CDM (Construction Design & Management) regs come into effect. What should we make of them?
I was not a great fan of the old CDM health and safety regs, which came into effect in 1994 and had precisely no effect whatsoever on building site accident levels. Lots of paperwork, lots of money to be paid out and no positive outcomes. How very UK today.
News that the CDM regs were to be overhauled just filled me with excitement. I have turned down the offers of attending free or near-free CPD seminars to help me ‘get up to speed’, partly because I can still recall the terror of having to sit through a CDM awareness event back in 1994. I’d opt for a day in Guantanamo Bay every time. I decided I would do my catching up this time via newsprint.
Trouble is, every time I try and read a This is what CDM 2007 really means article, I find myself nodding off somewhere in the second paragraph. Building magazine today has no less than three explanatory articles and despite trying to read all three I am really not much wiser about just what is changing, as from April 6th.
Following an industry-wide consultation, writes Peter Caplehorn there is a chance for the new regulations to make a real difference. Only a chance? I am confused already. The irrelevant paperwork has been binned and there is a focus on improving health and safety standards by keeping the regulations proportionate to the task and by focussing on outcomes rather than process. What on earth is he talking about?
All projects will now be subject to CDM except domestic works. Correct me if I am wrong but this is no different to how the old CDM worked. Any projects involving more than 500 person days work or lasting longer than 30 days need to be notified to the Health & Safety Executive using the F10 notification form.
Well, there I have learned something. The form you need is called an F10. Remember that, because it’s probably the only really useful thing you will learn from this article.
A construction phase health and safety plan must be drawn up. Hang on, I thought we had dispensed with irrelevant paperwork? Seemingly not. A big bugbear of the old CDM was that you had to produce a risk assessment plus a health and safety file, and that this work was time consuming and no one ever looked at them. But we still seem to have a H&S file. Funny, there’s no mention of that pesky risk assessment. Maybe that’s the result everyone was hoping for?
One thing that has happened is that the key roles have been given a dust-down and in some instances some new names. The client is still the client, but this time they have to take their responsibilities more seriously. Previously they could sub-out their responsibilities to an agent, but from now on there can be no subbing-out. The client is the client. Except where of course there is more than one client, then they have a duty to co-operate with one another. All good stuff this, isn’t it?
The planning supervisor is now the CDM co-ordinator. Got that. The CDM co-ordinator must either generate or ensure the generation of the health and safety file, But there is, I think, just a suggestion that if the project is low risk, then you needn’t bother with risk assessments and all that hullabaloo. At least that’s the drift I get. But in my semi-comatose state, I may have it all wrong.
Now can I summarise it all in a sentence? The form you need to send off to HSE is F10 and the role you need to appoint is the CDM co-ordinator. I think that should just about take care of it.