Today marks three years since the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 (CDM) came into place.
It was a big moment for industry, reinforcing the message that health and safety had to be integrated into construction projects, from start to finish.
The changes meant that every construction project would need:
- A construction phase plan
- Additional duty-holders if more than one contractor was involved in the project
- Everyone working on the construction of the project to have the skills, knowledge, training and experience in health and safety
- Renewed emphasis on the supervision of young or inexperienced workers, including apprentices.
The revised regulations were ultimately introduced to make them simpler to comply with – particularly for the SME and micro firms that dominate our industry.
Three years on, I believe we have been successful as an industry in doing just this, with CITB playing its part. We put in place a number of tools to help industry to prepare for the changes, which are still being used.
We developed the magical CDM Wizard App to help employers produce construction phase plans. This has since had over 116,000 downloads. We also created an online video setting out the basics of the regulations, and designed CDM related courses – all of which have helped thousands get to grips with what they need to do.
This is testament to the collective response by industry to the regulations. However, there is still work to be done.
There remains a small section of the sector that treats the CDM regulations in a similar way to road safety speed restrictions.
They try to ignore or work around them – until a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection catches them out, and they are hit with a tough penalty.
The sad thing is that, sometimes, it doesn’t get to that. People flouting the regulations can cause serious accidents and, on the most unfortunate occasions, fatalities.
These regulations are making a difference, and largely being taken seriously.
Take, for example, a friend of mine, who works for himself doing bathroom and kitchen fit-outs. Whilst he would consider himself a ‘safe’ contractor he had never had to formally record the measures he was taking to keep himself and others healthy and safe. When starting one project, the client asked for his construction phase plan. Knowing my role at CITB, he called me for advice. I told him about the CDM Wizard app, he completed his plan, and now uses the app every day.
The CDM regulations are just as important now as they were three years ago. So if you are one of those who treat them like road safety speed limits by trying to see how much you can get away with, please make a change and make your life, and the lives of others, easier, healthier and safer.
About the author
Alison Rodgers is Health & Safety Strategy manager at CITB.
She joined CITB in 2009 after working in construction for around 10 years; her previous roles have included Site Manager, Property Maintenance Manager and Contracts Manager.