In order to fulfil one of the recommendations set down in the Lofstedt Report into health and safety, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) commissioned an evaluation of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007.
This review has recently been published, and whilst it contains many positive aspects, some of the findings in the report highlight potential problems. John Kinge, Technical Director at Santia’s Safecontractor service comments:
“Whilst it’s very encouraging that 72% of respondents’ rated the benefits of CDM 2007 as moderate or higher, this needs to be balanced with the fact that there are many companies that are totally unaware of these regulations, as well as small, infrequent and one-off clients that are still not familiar with the regulations, and do not fully understand what is required of them.”
John Kinge went on to say:
“This report should give the HSE an indication of how they can build on the positive achievements of CDM to ensure that they successfully balance the maintenance of safety standards in the construction industry with the elimination of bureaucracy.”
According to the report:
• CDM 2007 has gone a long way to meeting its objectives, but some concerns remain within the industry;
• construction design, management and site practices have improved between 2006 and 2010;
• a cost impact was associated with CDM 2007, but respondents rated the benefits to be higher than costs; and
• industry practice was found to have a significant influence on how CDM 2007 is implemented.
The new report also highlighted the following problems with CDM 2007:
• The requirement to appoint duty holders early is not always being complied with;
• In multiple projects, it is difficult to establish who is the Principal Contractor;
• The quality of coordination is variable; and
• Stage 1 competence assessment has led to increased paperwork during prequalification.
John Kinge of Santia’s Safecontractor service, commented on the problem of competence assessment, saying:
“Ensuring that the basic checks are completed can be time consuming and costly for client organisations. This is why many organisations turn to third party pre-qualification schemes such as Safecontractor. We undertake the initial verification of a company’s health and safety record on behalf of the client. This makes it easier for clients as they focus on the specific health and safety arrangements required for the job in the knowledge that they are maintaining compliance.
“In recent years there has been a proliferation of competence assessment schemes, but the mutual recognition of such services provided by Safety Schemes in Procurement (SSIP) is a huge step forward in addressing this. The fact that Safecontractor offers special rates for small businesses who will not only have direct access to their in-house auditor, but will also have access to a comprehensive suite of guidance notes and checklists, along with access to a technical advice line, employment / commercial law advice lines and marketing assistance, makes our service the best in class. The simplification of requirements and the benefits that we bring to clients, makes Safecontractor the scheme of choice for contractor assessment.”
The evidence produced by the new report will support policy development, and the HSE say that they will address the CDM package as a whole and will consult on any changes once the Board has considered them.
Further details of Santia’s Safecontractor scheme can be found at www.safecontractor.com.