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What next for CDM? CDM 2014?

HSE Chief Inspector of Construction Philip White reports to CONIAC on 20th June 2012

With all of the current discussion on CDM – Young, Grayling, Löfstedt, CONIAC and HSE – just what is happening and why?

There is a mood for change. This is coming from Government and the Health and Safety Executive is looking at the situation and intends to create a framework for a revised CDM internally at first, and then go out to the industry. ICS expects to be part of these discussions.

Philip White has confirmed that the HSE is looking to scrap the 140-page Approved Code of Practice and bring the CDM Regulations in line with the corresponding 20-page EU Temporary Or Mobile Construction Sites Directive.

Removing the ACOP may also call into question the appointment of an independent, impartial CDM coordinator. While the EU Directive outlines the need for a safety co-ordinator, it allows the role to be filled by an existing member of the project team.

White said: “What we are looking at is how we deliver the technical safety standards that everyone agrees are necessary without the unnecessary bureaucracy. We want to help the industry work in a more stream-lined way and make it better for small and medium sized enterprises to understand and comply with the regulations.

Extracts from Mr. White’s paper to CONIAC

According to HSE CDM 2007 goes beyond the Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive (TMCSD) in a number of ways. The most significant of these is the area of competence, where the evaluation has shown that industry response to the requirements is frequently disproportionate and adds minimal value to health and safety.

HSE say that any revision to CDM would need to satisfy the requirements of the European Commission to fully implement Directives. In this regard, CDM 2007 under-implements TMCSD in that it does not impose duties on owner occupiers - so called ‘domestic clients’ (in most situations) by excluding them from the definition of client.

He said “The larger, more structured part of the industry has made significant progress in improving health and safety over the last 10 years. Increasingly, the motivation for achieving high standards of health and safety is through best practice and continuous improvement, rather than by regulation.

A two tier industry has emerged and the challenge of providing an effective regulatory framework for smaller construction sites remains substantial. To make a real impact on small sites the regulatory package needs to be simpler and more accessible. The evidence indicates CDM 2007 is poorly understood and applied on the smallest construction sites, with accordingly inappropriate or low compliance rates.

Current position

The HSE Board has agreed that a revised regulatory package should be prepared primarily based on copy out of TMCSD. However the package should avoid a reduction in standards, retain those aspects that add value or enhance them, particularly in regulating smaller projects. The Board further requested that HSE should present the redrafted regulatory package with an accompanying impact assessment and consultative document to its December 2012 meeting.

Next steps – implementation of revisions.

Assuming this timetable is not changed HSE plans to consult publicly on revised regulations in early 2013. The earliest that any new Regulatory package would come into force would be April 2014.

HSE will continue to engage with the construction industry through updates to CONIAC and dialogue with stakeholders. Initial work to draft a revised Statutory Instrument will be taken forward by an internal HSE working group, and formal consultation would be premature at this stage. However, HSE proposes to reflect its early thinking about the shape and nature of the revised Regulatory package with a representative industry panel. This panel would have membership similar to the former evaluation working group and would provide a mechanism for soundings to be taken periodically on industry reaction to HSE’s thinking as the redrafting progresses.

The revised regulatory package will encompass consideration of the ACoP and guidance framework. A key test will be the role and value the ACoP has in improving standards on smaller projects. The existing ACoP is generally perceived as long and complex and not to have significant penetration in small construction projects. Whatever replaces it must reflect this. Moreover, a consensus has emerged that in places the ACoP does not clarify interpretation of the law and indeed leads to an overly bureaucratic approach. HSE is committed to working with the industry to ensure that materials supporting the CDM Regulations are focused on delivering practical and proportionate advice.

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