Safety in Construction

Recently the Health and Safety Executive commented: "There have been significant reductions in the number and rate of injury over the last 20 years or more. Nevertheless, construction remains a high risk industry. Although it accounts for only about 5% of the employees in Britain it still accounts for 22% of fatal injuries to employees and 10% of reported major injuries."

From research carried out by the Guild of Builders and Contractors it was found that the annual rate of fatalities on construction sites has reduced by 62% since the introduction of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994. Over the same period the rate of major injuries on construction sites has reduced by 38%.
In the light of these facts, why is the Government about to make fundamental changes to the CDM Regulations? The proposed changes certainly have some very sensible and positive additions that will address areas of weakness; in particular, for the first time, domestic projects will be included in the Regulations. With many major refurbishment projects being undertaken to very large houses, including installing basements, it seemed irresponsible not to include them in "notifiable projects", especially in view of the number of fatal and serious accidents that occur in these types of projects. However it is undoubtedly a grave error to remove the "competence" requirement from the Regulations. There is overwhelming evidence that the lack of training and experience and pure incompetence is the root cause of the majority of accidents.
The CDM Regulations were originally introduced in 1994 and created the role of Planning Supervisor. The Regulations were then redrafted in 2007 and these changed the Planning Supervisor's role into the current role of the CDM Co-ordinator that is a familiar part of the construction industry today. The CDM Co-ordinator is a trained and competent health and safety professional and who is the principal advisor on health and safety matters to the entire design and construction team. The proposals are to remove this role and incorporate the responsibilities in the lead designers and the principal contractor's roles. This will mean removing the independent and professional role in health and safety planning and remove the continuity of responsibility from initial planning to practical completion of the construction process.
The construction industry has worked hard to reduce the appalling rate of accidents in construction we hope that Government does not pressure the Health and Safety Executive when reevaluating the CDM Regulations 2007 to remove vital parts of the legislation and set the construction industry back 30 years in terms of the number of fatal and serious injuries. We owe it to the hardworking men and women working on construction sites to do all in our power to keep them from preventable and sometimes fatal accidents. Removing the CDM Co-ordinators role, or the competence requirements will be a disaster and will be seen as throwing the baby out with the bath water.

Recently the Health and Safety Executive commented: "There have been significant reductions in the number and rate of injury over the last 20 years or more. Nevertheless, construction remains a high risk industry. Although it accounts for only about 5% of the employees in Britain it still accounts for 22% of fatal injuries to employees and 10% of reported major injuries."

From research carried out by the Guild of Builders and Contractors it was found that the annual rate of fatalities on construction sites has reduced by 62% since the introduction of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994. Over the same period the rate of major injuries on construction sites has reduced by 38%.

In the light of these facts, why is the Government about to make fundamental changes to the CDM Regulations? The proposed changes certainly have some very sensible and positive additions that will address areas of weakness; in particular, for the first time, domestic projects will be included in the Regulations. With many major refurbishment projects being undertaken to very large houses, including installing basements, it seemed irresponsible not to include them in "notifiable projects", especially in view of the number of fatal and serious accidents that occur in these types of projects. However it is undoubtedly a grave error to remove the "competence" requirement from the Regulations. There is overwhelming evidence that the lack of training and experience and pure incompetence is the root cause of the majority of accidents.

The CDM Regulations were originally introduced in 1994 and created the role of Planning Supervisor. The Regulations were then redrafted in 2007 and these changed the Planning Supervisor's role into the current role of the CDM Co-ordinator that is a familiar part of the construction industry today. The CDM Co-ordinator is a trained and competent health and safety professional and who is the principal advisor on health and safety matters to the entire design and construction team. The proposals are to remove this role and incorporate the responsibilities in the lead designers and the principal contractor's roles. This will mean removing the independent and professional role in health and safety planning and remove the continuity of responsibility from initial planning to practical completion of the construction process.

The construction industry has worked hard to reduce the appalling rate of accidents in construction and we hope that Government does not pressure the Health and Safety Executive when reevaluating the CDM Regulations 2007 to remove vital parts of the legislation and set the construction industry back 30 years in terms of the number of fatal and serious injuries. We owe it to the hardworking men and women working on construction sites to do all in our power to keep them from preventable and sometimes fatal accidents. Removing the CDM Co-ordinators role, or the competence requirements will be a disaster and will be seen as throwing the baby out with the bath water.

 

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