Question Andy Construction & Engineering

Health and Safety Regulations in the Construction Industry

Recently the Health and Safety Executive successfully prosecuted the Islington’s Business Design Centre and a roofing contractor for failing to protect workers carrying out roofing works, when a sub-contractor fell 5.5m through a skylight, injuring his pelvis, wrist and elbow. How could this accident and subsequent prosecution have been avoided?

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Answer Expert #10136

In this case the client and the main contractor could have avoided the accident and the subsequent prosecution by adhering to the requirements of the Construction Design and Management Regulations (CDM) 2015, which are in place to improve health and safety in the construction industry. Under CDM 2015 there are five key duty holders, namely the client, the principal designer and the designer, along with the principal contractor and the contractor. Each part has specific responsibilities and the purpose of the regulations is to provide continuity of safety management from the concept design of a project through to operation and maintenance of the completed asset. Under these regulations the client, defined as an organisation or individual for whom a construction project is carried out, as part of a business, is required to make appropriate arrangements for managing a project, including appointing other duty holders and allowing sufficient time and resources for the safe completion of the work. The client is also responsible for making sure that all parties have the relevant information to carry out their duties in a safe manner and that welfare facilities are provided. The regulations also set out the duties of the principal contractor which include planning, managing, monitoring and coordinating health and safety during the construction phase of a project (Health and Safety Executive 2015). This necessitates liaising and coordinating work with the other duty holders, making sure that all personnel receive site induction safety training and that workers are suitably trained and competent to carry out their work. This should include carrying out risk assessments of the work being carried out and ensuring that all safety measures are in place, particularly for high risk elements of work such as working at height (Bussey 2015; Summerhaye 2016).

References

Bussey, P., 2015. CDM 2015: A Practical Guide for Architects and Designers. London: Royal Institute of British Architects.
Health and Safety Executive, 2015. Construction Design and Management Regulations 2015. London: HSE Publications.
Summerhave, S.D., 2016. CDM Regulations 2015 Procedures Manual. Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.