Construction Essays - Construction Industry Workers

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Construction Industry Workers

The construction industry currently employs 2.2 million workers making it Britain’s largest industry (HSE, 2007). However, the sheer size of the industry comes at a cost as it is regarded as being one of the most dangerous industries to work in due to the individual complexity of construction projects and tough working conditions that workers are exposed to (HSE, 2005). The wide range of activities undertaken by construction workers further emphasises the need for a high level of legislation and management of measures to reduce accident and injuries throughout the entirety of the construction process, from planning to demolition. This is essential if the health and safety on construction sites is likely to improve and become more effective, which is important for not only the people already involved within the construction industry, but also for the expected 2-3% growth within the next 5 years (Reference). (Reference) suggests that poor design and management in the construction industry is the principal cause of the unacceptable accident and fatality record throughout construction sites in the UK. This needs to be improved through the improved implementation of measures to reduce these statistics which has been highlighted through the introduction of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, which are perceived to provide numerous benefits to the construction industry from design concept onwards and help ensure that construction projects are safe to build; safe to use; safe to maintain, and deliver good value. These regulations aim to avoid, reduce and control health and safety risks faced by construction workers and others through preventative measures particularly during the design and management stage, whether engaged in, or affected by, new build, maintenance, repairs, demolition or other construction works (Joyce, 2007).

The CDM regulations have the potential to make a significant impact on the industry with regards to health and safety however it is unrealistic to think that this can be achieved very quickly without encountering any problems in an area which has had much debate regarding this topic. It will take time before the new legislation will be free flowing however improvements in both effectiveness and efficiency can be expected as lessons are learnt.

Get help with your essay from our expert essay writers...

Rationale for the Research

The subject of this dissertation developed from a personal interest in the Health and Safety aspect of the construction industry and the significant research within the industry on how to minimise the injuries and fatalities on construction sites. In the construction industry, the risk of fatality is four times more likely to occur than in any other industry throughout the UK, whilst the risk of major injury is two and a half times higher (HSC, 2005b). A Health and Safety Executive (HSE, 1997) study, reveals that the construction industry has one of the highest ratios of non-injury to injury accidents of all UK industries. For every major accident on a construction site, Heinrich’s accident to incident ratio model suggest that there will be approximately thirty minor accidents and three hundred near misses (Hughes & Ferrett, 2007). The HSE (2007) recorded 77 fatalities on construction sites during 2006/2007 and 3,711 major injuries to employees in construction related accidents. Include the 7,108 over 3 day injuries reported to the HSE and an estimation of under-reporting of injuries of approximately 45%, and it is evident that the accident rates in the construction industry is unacceptable and needs to be reduced. The Government and the Health and Safety Commission became aware of this on going poor record in the construction industry and at the Construction Health and Safety Summit in 2001, set a target of reducing the number of fatalities and accidents by 66% in the UK by 2010. The fatality rate appeared to be reducing year after year, with a industry record low of 59 fatalities in 2005/2006 (HSC, 2006) compared to the 69 in 2004/2005 (HSC, 2005) showing sufficient progress was being made. However, the 77 fatalities recorded in 2006/2007, and already 60 fatalities recorded in the first 9 months of the 2007/2008 period (HSE, 2007) shows that progress was short lived and that once again the rate of fatalities and injuries within construction sites is inconsistent and starting to rise. The latest published statistics by the HSE shows the increased need to improve the measures used in order to prevent accidents and fatalities on construction sites. The CDM regulations 2007 which is the latest legislation to be introduced to the construction industry aim to achieve this through implementing regulations to develop improvements at the design and management stage of construction projects by placing more responsibility on all parties involved. The HSE suggested in ‘Blackspot Construction’ that 70% of the fatalities and accidents on construction sites could have been prevented by positive action by managers within the industry (Joyce, 2001) and speaking from Ashburton Grove, Kevin Myers, Chief Inspector for Construction said: “Every fatality is one too many, most are preventable, each a tragedy for those affected”. As a result the fundamental aim of this study is to identify factors to improve health and safety measures on construction sites within the UK with a view to reducing the number of accidents and fatalities. The importance of improving these measures to reduce accident statistics is because, apart from the human cost of suffering, moral and legal effects an accident may have; the economic cost to organisations can be devastating. In a study undertaken by the HSE, it was shown that accidents produce direct costs such as injury, ill health or damage which can be insured against, however it is the indirect costs such as material damage and legal costs that are most costly to organisations as they can be up to 36 times greater than the direct cost of an accident (Hughes & Ferrett).

The following information in this chapter gives further details about the principle aim and objectives for this research topic.


To identify factors to improve health and safety measures on construction sites within the UK with a view to reducing the number of accidents and fatalities.


This aim will be investigated through a series of key objectives:

1.To provide an understanding of the current health and safety legislation that surrounds the construction industry with a particular focus on the CDM regulations 2007.

2.To provide a review of the history of accidents and fatalities within the construction industry.

3.To identify the current measures used to prevent accidents and injuries on construction sites.

4.To establish the main effect of preventative measures and what factors would assist the preventative measures used on construction sites within the UK in order to reduce the number of accidents within the construction industry.

5.To identify operatives understanding of the CDM regulations as well as success and problems associated with them.

6.To establish views from CDM duty holders on the current effectiveness of the CDM regulations.

Outline Research Methodology

This research topic has incorporated two research approaches in order to collect information which was the following: secondary data collection and primary data collection.

Secondary data collection

This form of research refers to the ‘desk study’ approach where data is obtained from sources that cite from primary sources. This method had been used to achieve the first, second and third objectives. These sources will be critically appraised by means of a systematic literature review which will cover the internet, textbooks, newspaper articles, research journals, thesis, reports, trade publications, etc.

Primary data collection

This form of research refers to the methods of primary data collection which can take the form of a number of practical approaches. This method of research was accomplished to utilise objectives four and five. The selected method for this thesis will be a structured survey approach in the form of a questionnaire. This method was selected as it is the best form of gathering data from a large number of respondents in a relatively short time frame. The questionnaires will adopt a semi structured format, employing both open and closed questions to gather the appropriate data.

The research method is a way in which the research objectives can be questioned and achieved. Throughout my research I will be using a number of core sources of references such as the books, the internet, newspapers, companies, journals and questionnaires in order to carry out my objectives. I will decide upon the most appropriate research strategy which can be carried out in two ways depending on the purpose of the study and the type and availability of the information required. These two methods can be classified as “Quantitative” and “Qualitative”. Quantitative research (Naoum, 2007) can be defined as “objective” in nature. It involves the description or analysis of statistical procedures that involves specific measurements of variables to determine whether a theory holds true. Qualitative research on the other hand can be defined as “subjective” in nature (Naoum, 2007). It does not involve the use of specific variables, but relies on reasons behind various aspects of data. It emphasizes the means, experiences and different descriptions of topics from different authors points of view. The type of qualitative data collected fell under the classification of attitudinal research. Attitudinal research is used to ‘subjectively’ evaluate the ‘opinion’, ‘view’, or the ‘perception’ of a person, towards a particular object (Naoum, 2007). For this study the ‘object’ has been the CDM regulations and the ‘person’ has been the duty holders that implement these regulations.

The purpose of this section is to inform the reader of the contents of this dissertation. Each chapter within the dissertation has a brief description stating what each chapter includes, the purpose of it, and its relationship to carry out the research aim and objectives, followed by a conclusion of the chapter.

Chapter One - Introduction

Chapter one highlights to the reader the main topic area that is being investigated and researched into. It does not going into depth in the topic but it does provide a background and rationale into the research area. Within this chapter the research aim will be described as well as the objectives and the research methodology used in order to achieve the objectives set.

Chapter Two - History of Health and Safety legislation

Chapter two will provide a detailed description of the health and safety legislation that has surrounded the construction industry since the first publication in 1961. A particular focus will be on the latest legislation known as the CDM regulations 2007 highlighting specific roles each professional has within the regulations in order to implement rules to provide a safer construction site. This chapter will also provide a background into the main changes that have occurred and assess the main reasons for why these changes were necessary.

Chapter Three – Accidents and injuries within the construction industry

This chapter intends to review the statistics provided by the HSE on fatalities and accidents within the EU member states, the industries within the UK and in particular and in particular the accidents and fatalities within the construction industry. It will analyse statistics prior to the introduction of the CDM regulations as well as after the introduction of these regulations highlighting any common problems that have occurred and potential reasons this.

Chapter Four – Measures to prevent accidents on construction sites

This chapter intends to review the main systems in place to reduce accidents on construction sites and comment on which are the most successful that should be developed further. This chapter will also discuss the cost implementations of implementing these measures along with the potential benefits of doing so.

Chapter Five - Research Methodology and Questionnaire / Interview Design

This chapter highlights my proposed research methodology for obtaining the information necessary for my study. This chapter also describes how questions for my interview have developed as my research has become more detailed, as well as why such questions were chosen for the interview and what I intend to achieve from these.

Chapter Six - Analysis of Results

Chapter Seven with provide the reader with a detailed analysis of the results from my questionnaire / interview. A wide range of data will be gathered so therefore a summary of the information which highlights specific areas will be presented in the form of charts, tables, graphs and a written conclusion of the results.

Chapter Seven - Conclusions and Recommendations

This chapter was designed to provide the reader with a final discussion and conclusion for the research information that has been collected as well as to provide imitations of the study and recommendations for future research.

The dissertation does not provide a chapter titled ‘literature review‘, however in order to achieve the objectives set, a comprehensive literature review will be ongoing throughout the study to critically appraise issues and statements identified and gain the industries, work operatives and authors opinions of the progress, effectiveness and success of the CDM regulations within the construction industry. A wide range of key literature from sources such as research journals, refereed conferences, thesis, textbooks, reports, trade publications and newspaper articles on this research topic have been reviewed, analysed and appraised of their strengths and weaknesses.

Chapter Two:History of Health and Safety Legislation

This chapter intends to provide a background into the history of the UK’s health and safety legislation that has governed the construction industry and progressed over time. A particular focus on the CDM regulations 2007 will be provided, highlighting key roles and responsibilities as well as the necessary components of the regulations.

Factories Act 1961

The Factories Act 1961 was the starting point for parliamentary legislation on health and safety matters within the construction industry. Construction safety was first introduced into safety law in the Factories Act 1937, however further amendments and alterations were made in 1948 and 1959 before the final consolidating measure in 1961 to produce the final version known as the Factories Act 1961 (Holt, 2001). One of the main problems encountered with the Factories Act 1961 was that it only applied to premises defined within it, such as factories, and did not cover other workplaces such as schools or hospitals. This was the main reason for the introduction of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The relevant contents of the Factories Act 1961 have since been applied to other legislation with the remaining sections left out that are of little relevance to the construction industry (Holt, 2001).

Fire Precautions Act 1971 (Amended 1989)

The introduction of the fire precautions act 1971 ensured that all properties regulated by the Act should require a fire certificate that should only be authorised by the fire authority. These certificates were only awarded if the inspection of the property met the safety requirements outlined in the act itself. The requirements introduced by the Fire Precautions Act 1971 paid particular attention to the people working on the premises; this involved making them aware of the means of escape as well as ensuring that people on the premises have sufficient warning to evacuate in the event of a fire. The act did not just ensure that there was sufficient facilities in place to combat a fire but also ensured that personnel employed within the building received sufficient instruction and training in what to do if a fire ever occurred.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1971 (Amended 1974, 2002)

The introduction of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1971 (HAS 1971) involved improvements to the Factories Act 1961. The Act’s obligations are based more on relationships between organizations and employees rather than on narrow definitions on types of premises as in the Factories Act 1961 (Holt, 2001). The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1971 is currently the centrepiece of legislation for all industries in Great Britain that provides the legal framework to achieve high standards in health and safety. The act was responsible for establishing the Health and Safety Commission (HSC) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) enabling them to propose health and safety regulations and approved codes of practice, they both however act in accordance with the secretary of state who must be informed of any proposed amendment or new regulations.

The Health and Safety Commission

The Health and Safety Commission and the Health and Safety Executive are responsible for the revision of the CDM Regulations. They were originally established as part of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 as two separate non-departmental public bodies (HSE, 2007). The HSC is appointed by the secretary of state whose main aim is to protect members of the UK against health and safety risks that may occur during working activities. In order to achieve this they must conduct and sponsor research; promote training; provide an information and advisory service; and submit proposals for new or revised regulations and approved codes of practices (HSC, 2007).

The Health and Safety Executive

The role of the Health and Safety Executive is to assist the Health and Safety Commission to ensure that risks to people’s health and safety from work activities are properly controlled (HSE, 2007). The HSE is the main enforcement and advisory body to the HSC however for activities that involve lower risks such as offices then local authorities have equal powers to enforce (Holt, 2001).

The Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

The health and safety (First Aid) regulations 1981 contained certain regulations that apply to construction sites and their workers. The act places vast amounts of responsibility on employers who are required to carry out an assessment of first aid needs which involves consideration of workplace hazards and risks, the size of the organisation and other relevant factors, to determine what first aid equipment, facilities and personnel should be provided. The location of these provisions should be made aware to all employees by the employer under regulation 4. Regulation 3 states that employers are responsible to ensure that adequate and appropriate equipment and facilities are available for enabling first aid to be rendered to an employee in the event of being injured or taken ill whilst at work (HMSO, 1981). It was also the responsibility of the employer, under regulation 3, to ensure that a competent person is available at all times to carry out first aid procedures in the event of an injury or illness occurring on the construction site.

Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 (Amended 2002)

The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 came into force as of the 30th March 1990 in an attempt to prevent head injuries whilst working on construction sites. These regulations apply to all members of the workforce with the responsibility of the employer to provide each employee who is at work with suitable head protection, maintain it, and replace it wherever necessary as outlined in regulation 3. Under regulation 4 the employer, self employed or anyone who has authority over another person must ensure that suitable head protection is worn whenever reasonably practicable. In the event of self employed workers entering the site, they must wear and comply with all rules set by the site they are working on in order to comply with regulation 4. In order to comply with regulation 5, all rules established with the wearing of suitable head protection must be provided in writing and brought to the attention of any worker that may be affected by them.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 first came into force on the 1st April 1990 in order to target the number of health and safety risks exposed to work operatives on construction sites involving working with electricity (HMSO, 1989). These regulations place responsibilities on both the employer and self-employed to comply with the provisions of these Regulations and the duty of the employees to co-operate with the rules set by the employer. Regulation 4 sets out standards to be achieved involving systems, work activities and protective equipment. This involves ensuring that all systems when carrying out operations should be adequate, used and maintained in an efficient manner in order to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, any risks of danger. Regulations 4 of this legislation also indicates that any equipment provided in order to protect work operatives carrying out tasks on or near electrical equipment must be appropriate, maintained in a satisfactory condition and used in the correct manner.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (Amended 1999, 2006)

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 came into effect as of the 1st January 1993 which placed responsibility upon all employers and self-employed to carry out suitable and sufficient risks assessments with regard to health and safety issues on construction sites. This is to ensure that regulation 3 is achieved through informing employees of the potential issues that may affect, or potentially affect the health and safety of another person on site. The other most significant responsibility placed on the employer under regulation 11 is to ensure that they fulfil capability and training requirements set out in this legislation. This involves the employer making sure all employees are provided with adequate health and safety training upon recruitment or upon being exposed to new or increased risks such as the introduction of new work equipment.

The Manual Handling and Operations Regulations 1992 (Amended 2002)

The Manual Handling and Operations Regulations 1992 were first enforced on the 1st January 1993 which introduced the requirement for employers to avoid the need for their employees to undertake any manual handling operations at work which involves a risk of being injured, this is outlined in regulation 4. If manual handling and operations are undertaken then it is the responsibility of the employer to keep these occurrences to levels as low as possible as well as to provide employees with general indications where it is reasonably practicable to do so such as the weight of each load.

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 (Amended 2002)

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 came into effect on the 1st January 1993 to try to ensure that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is provided and worn at all times if work operatives are presented with a situation that provide risks to their personal health and safety. Regulation 4 of the act states that it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that PPE is provided to all employees whilst at work if they are likely to be exposed to health and safety risks, any self employed work operative must provide their own PPE once entering the construction site. Regulation 4 also emphasise that the PPE provided should be appropriate for the risks involved and should fit correctly or at least have a mechanism for adjustments that enable it to be worn correctly.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 (Revised 2002, Amended 2003)

The WHSW regulations 1992 came into force on the 1st January 1993. These regulations do not apply specifically to construction sites which means they have had no effect in reducing the number of accidents and fatalities throughout the construction industry.

The construction industry had two specific sets of regulations that were industry-specific before the introduction of the CDM regulations 2007 as these regulations incorporated both of them. These were known as the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 and the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 which are described in more detail below:

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 (Amended 2007)

The CDM regulations 1994 first came into force on the 31st March 1995 with a view to further reducing the number of accidents occurring within the construction industry (Joyce, 2001). The main aims of the regulations were to reduce the regular occurrence of accidents and ill health arising from construction work (Percy, 2002). The main influence these regulation had on the construction industry was that it shared responsibility of health and safety issues during construction work between all parties and not purely the responsibility of the contractor (Joyce 2001). These regulations were in place for 12 years but have recently been amended and are now known as the CDM regulations 2007. The reasons for the amendments were due a number of problems encountered with the CDM regulations 1994 such as the ongoing debate about there effectiveness, high level of unnecessary bureaucracy, lack of clarity and regulations that were subject to misinterpretation throughout their enforcement (Joyce, 2001). The CDM regulations 2007 intend to take on board the research into these problems and readdress the main criticisms in order to improve the effectiveness within the industry. The CDM regulations 2007 are discussed further in section 6.0.

Reports of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 came into force as of the 6th April 2006. These regulations have an effect with a view to protecting workers against the potential risks to their personal H&S arising from exposure to noise at work (HMSO, 2005). It is the responsibility of the employer under regulation 5 to provide a risk assessment to assess the potential risks of exposure to noise an employee may face when carrying out work on site, if exposure is likely to occur then where possible it should be eliminated at the source or reduced to nose levels as low as possible in order to comply with these regulations. In order to support regulation 5, regulation 7 sets out to ensure that the employer must provide personal hearing protection to any employee who is exposed to high noise levels in order to protect their health and safety, this must be supported with the use of appropriate safety signs in order to inform work operatives of an area that is subject to high noise levels. Regulations 9 and 10 respectively are provided to ensure that if employees are exposed to high levels of noise then the employer must ensure that they are placed under suitable health surveillance as well as provide them with suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training in order to carry out their tasks efficiently (HMSO, 2005).

Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996

The CHSWR 1996 were enforced as of the 2nd September 1996 which replaced the Construction (General Provisions) Regulations 1961, the Construction (Health and Welfare) Regulations 1966 and the Construction (Working Places) Regulations 1966, which were all revoked (Holt, 2001). These regulations were introduced as the construction equivalent of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 as they do not apply to constructions sites (Holt, 2001). The CHSW Regulations 1996 were created by the HSC which represented the UK’s implementation of Annexe IV of the Temporary and Mobile Construction Sites Directive (Clarke, 1999). Before the introduction of the CDM regulations 2007, the CHSW regulations 1996 applied to all construction work and along with the CDM regulations 1994, they provided a life cycle of health and safety standards throughout the entirety of construction projects. This was achieved as both these sets of regulations applied to different aspects of construction work which meant there was no overlapping of each legislation between the two sets of regulations. The CHSW 1996 applied to workers carrying out construction site work where as the CDM regulations 1994 applied to those in the design and management process.

Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996

The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996 were first enforced on the 1st April 1996, they were introduced as a set of regulations to notify the construction industry of the minimum requirements for the provision of safety signs at work. This act complies with the MHSW regulations 1992 as an employer must provide appropriate safety signs if they feel that the risk assessment made as a requirement of the MHSW 1992 regulations cannot adequately reduce risks to employees after adopting appropriate techniques for collective protection, and measures, methods or procedures used in the organisation of work. These signs are used to warn or instruct employees of the nature of potential risks they may face and inform the employees of the appropriate measures to be taken to protect against them. This act also introduces a standardised system of safety signs; this enables workers to be able to travel from different construction sites and not face the problem of different meanings for different signs. In order to comply with regulation 5; employers must ensure that each of their employees receives suitable and sufficient instruction and training in the meaning of safety signs and the measures to be taken in connection with safety signs.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002

The COSHH regulations 2002 were introduced to the construction industry on the 21st November 2002, this legislation placed responsibility upon employers to ensure that exposure to substances hazardous to health is either prevented or, if not reasonably practicable, adequately controlled (HMSO, 2002). The employer should prevent from carrying out work that may potentially expose an employee to substances hazardous to health unless they have carried out appropriate risk assessments and carried out the suitable processes in order to comply with these regulations, and safeguard workers on site. Regulations 12 of the regulations states that an employer should provide employees with suitable and sufficient information, instruction and training if they are likely to undertake work that may involve exposure to substances hazardous to health. Regulation 13 is provided to ensure that arrangements are in place to deal with potential accidents that may occur on construction sites as a result of working with substances hazardous to health.

The Work at Height Regulations 2005 (Amended 2007)

The working at height regulations 2005 came into force on the 6th April 2005. These regulations apply to all work at height where there is a risk of a fall liable to cause personal injury. There is an alarming amount of accidents as a result of working at height year after year which still remain the single biggest cause of construction fatalities, in 2006/07 alone they accounted for 30% of all fatalities and 27% of major injuries on construction sites (HSE, 2007). This further highlights the importance of this recently introduced legislation that intends to reduce the number of accidents throughout the construction industry as a result of working at heights. Regulation 3 places duties on the employer to ensure all work at height is properly planned and organised as well as carried out by competent work operatives. The legislation states that where possible working at height should be avoided, however if it is unavoidable then appropriate measures should be taken into consideration in order to reduce the potential health and safety risks workers may face.

Health & Safety Policy

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 legally requires employers to prepare and revise a written H&S policy for all organisations and bring it to the notice of their employees. This policy should be a written document and include the clear H&S aims and objective of the organisation, details of people who carry responsibilities with regards to H&S and the health and safety arrangements in place in terms of systems and procedures (Hughes & Ferrett (2007). There are a number of key elements that should be applied to an organisations health and safety policy in order for it to play an effective role within construction projects. This involves writing the document in clear and simple language so that its contents can be easily understood and should be brief in the form of smaller statements or bullet points.

This health and safety policy sets out how health and safety issues are managed within an organisation. A health and safety policy is a commitment to planning and managing health and safety at work and is the key to achieving acceptable standards and preventing accidents and instances of work-related ill health

Hughes and Ferrett (2007) comments that every construction organisation should have a clear policy for the management of health and safety so that everybody associated with the organisation is aware of its health and safety aims and objectives. Hughes & Ferret (2007) also suggest that a good health and safety policy will enhance the performance of an organisation in areas other than health and safety, such as personal development of the workforce and reduce financial losses. Clarke (1999) suggests that if an organisations health and safety policies are to be effective then they must be honoured by all operatives involved with the construction project, this at both management and employee levels.

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007

The new Construction (Design and Management) Regulations were brought into force in the UK on the 6th April 2007 in order to consolidate the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 as well as the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1996 into one regulatory package. In order to help achieve the implementation of this new process the supporting guidance for these regulations has been revised with the aid of a new Approved Code of Practice available to assist each professional with their individual duties under the CDM regulations 2007. The purpose of the CDM regulations is to avoid, reduce and control health and safety risks faced by construction workers and others, whether engaged in or affected by a new build, maintenance, repairs, demolition or other construction works.

It is necessary for all duty holders involved in the construction industry to be aware of the new CDM regulations 2007 as they apply to all construction work. The aims of these regulations are to:

1)Improve health and safety within the construction industry;

2)Ensure that there are the right people for the right job at the right time to manage the potential risks on site;

3)To focus on effective planning and managing risk - manage the risk not the paperwork.

The CDM Regulations require that health and safety is taken into account and managed throughout all stages of a project, from completion, design and planning through to site work and subsequent maintenance and repair of the structure (HSE, 2007).

The regulations provide important information on how all members of a construction project can play an important role in the management of health and safety, and inevitably, therefore achieve its aim.

3.1 Who does CDM affect?

The CDM regulations 2007 place a responsibility regarding health and safety issues to all parties involved in the construction process. This involves the Client, the Designer, the Coordinator, the Principal Contractor and other Contractors (sub-contractors).

3.2 When does CDM apply?

The CDM regulations apply throughout the United Kingdom to all non-domestic construction work. Any work that does not fall under the definition of construction work is not subject to these regulations. According to Regulation 2(1) Construction work can be defined as meaning:

the carrying out of any building, civil engineering or engineering construction work”

This includes:

  • Alteration, maintenance and renovation of a structure;
  • Preparation for an intended structure (site clearance);
  • Demolition and Dismantling a structure;
  • New build construction
  • Temporary works

The regulations apply to all construction projects, however to a different extent depending on whether the project is notifiable or non-notifiable. The new regulation 2(3) requires the construction project to be notified to the HSE if the construction phase is likely to involve more than:

  • 30 days, or
  • 500 person days,

of construction work.

Figure 4.7: Notification

In order to simplify the notification process the client must fill out and submit form F(10) to the HSE.

(This form can be seen in Appendix 1)

Figure 6.5: The application of the CDM regulations

The responsibilities of implementing health and safety management into the planning and design of construction work, of all projects, lies with the duty holders. These duty holders are highlighted below along with their key roles and duties under the CDM regulations 2007.

3.3The Client

A client can be described as an individual or organization who in the course or furtherance of a business has a construction project carried out by another or himself, this however excludes domestic clients but not domestic premises. A domestic client is someone who lives or will live, in the premises where the work is carried out.

The roles of the client under the new CDM regulations 2007 are similar to that of the 1994 regulations however they have been given a higher profile with emphasis on providing the construction team with strong leadership and ensure that the client is responsible for their influence on the H&S of people working on, or affected by the project. It is the role of the client under the CDM regulations to appoint a CDM coordinator and a principal contractor on all notifiable projects in order to advise and co-ordinate activities.

It is the responsibility of the client to carry out a number of duties on all projects:

1)Must check all appointee’s competence and resources using the ACoP competence criteria;

2)Must also ensure that enough time and resource is provided to allow the project to be delivered safely, what you want, when you want it and on budget;

3)Provide key information to contractors and designers;

4)Ensure everyone involved with the project co-operate and co-ordinate their activities;

5)Establish a competent project team as soon as possible to ensure the project is safe to build, safe to use, safe to maintain and deliver good value;

6)Ensure suitable management arrangements are in place;

7)Ensure adequate welfare facilities are on site;

8)Ensure workplaces are designed correctly which should comply with the WHSW.

On all notifiable projects the clients must carry out the above duties as well as:

1)They must appoint a competent CDM Coordinator and provide them with key information;

2)They must appoint a competent principal contractor;

3)Ensure that there are suitable welfare facilities provided on site as well as a construction phase health and safety plan has been produced before the construction phase can start;

4)Retain and provide access to the H&S file as well as revise it with any new information;

It is not the responsibility of the client to audit or supervise the work on site. In order for the client to explain their management arrangements then they may ask their project team or contractors to do this for them. For small projects where contractors employ less than 5 people, then demonstrating management arrangements may be in the form of an oral briefing rather than providing everything in writing. The client must perform simple checks regularly to ensure their management arrangements are being followed which include adequate protection for workers and the public on site, ensuring that there is good co-operation and communication between the contractors and the designers. They must also ask the contractors to confirm that the arrangements they agreed upon have been implemented.

3.4The Coordinator

The CDM Co-coordinator is appointed to advise and assist the client on how to comply with the CDM Regulations during the project, and to ensure that suitable arrangements are made and implemented for the co-ordination of health and safety measures during planning and preparation for the construction phase. The CDM coordinators replaced the role of the Planning Supervisor under the CDM regulations 1994 and are only appointed on notifiable contracts but this appointment must be made early. This role has been changed due to the overall consideration that the Planning Supervisor has not been a success with more expectation placed on the new role of the coordinator. The main aim of the coordinator is to act to reduce risks during the construction process rather than to generate unnecessary paperwork.

The CDM coordinator has the responsibility to carry out a number of Duties during the project:

1)Advise the client about selecting competent designers and contractors;

2)Help identify what information will be needed by designers and contractors;

3)Co-ordinate the arrangements for health and safety of planning and design work;

4)Ensure that HSE is notified of the project (unless a domestic client);

5)Advise on the suitability of the initial construction phase plan;

6)Prepare a health and safety file (information for the client to enable future cleaning, maintenance and alterations to be carried out safely)

7)You are the key advisor to the client and the catalyst for effective communication and co-ordination throughout the project

A CDM coordinators role can be filled by anybody, however they must fulfil the competence requirements given in the ACoP, if no appointment has been made then it is generally the client who will carry out this role.

3.5The Designer

A designers duties under the CDM regulations applies to all construction work including domestic projects as well as non-notifiable projects. A designer can be described as someone that carries out the design process or specifies building work I.e. makes any project related decision, which therefore means there are a wide number of parties that can fall under this profession, such as Design and construction contractors, civil and structural engineers, clients who specify, etc.

A designer has the responsibility to carry out their duties on all projects involving construction work. This includes:

1)Making sure that the Client is aware of his duties;

2)Making sure the client is adequately resourced and competent to carry out their own duties such as the health and safety issues that are involved with the design of a project;

3)Provide substantial information about any potential risks that may be associated with the design that can be put in the health and safety file;

4)Coordinating their work with others in order to improve the way potential risks are managed and controlled;

5)Co-operate with others such as CDM Co-coordinators and the Principal Contractor;

6)Avoiding foreseeable risks during the design work for people involved on the current and future uses of the structure. They should also eliminate hazards and risks associated with those hazards that remain.

The most important role for a competent designer is to eliminate the hazards and reduce risks.

3.6The Principal Contractor

The changes in the CDM regulations have brought little change to the duties of the principal contractor. An early appointment of a principal contractor by the client is necessary on all notifiable projects. The principal contractor must ensure that everyone they appoint such as sub-contractors as competent. The main aim of the PC is to ensure that the construction phase is properly planned, managed, monitored and resourced.

The principal contractor has a number of duties that must be carried out throughput the project:

1)Inform contractors of the minimum time allowed for planning and preparation

2)Provide relevant information to contractors

3)Ensure safe working, co-ordination and co-operation between contractors

4)Construction phase health and safety plan is prepared and implemented

–Plan needs to set out the organisation and arrangements for managing risk and co-ordinating work

–Plan should be tailored to the particular project and risks involved

5)Suitable welfare from the start

6)Prepare and enforce site rules as required

7)Give reasonable direction to contractors including client appointed contractors

8)Prevent unauthorised entry

9)Provide plan to those who need it

10)Promptly provide the CDM co-ordinator with information for the file

11)Liaise with CDM co-ordinator in relation to design and design changes

12)Ensure all workers have been provided with suitable health and safety induction, information and training

13)Ensure the workforce is consulted about health and safety matters

14)Display key project information to workers

It is not the responsibility of the PC to provide training for workers they do no employ however contractors do. Neither do they have to undertake detailed supervision of contractors work. The construction phase plan must only be filled in with relevant information rather then endless generic paperwork.

3.7 Other Contractors

Sub Contractors are present on all projects not just notifiable ones. They are unable to start work on a construction site until they have obtained the pre construction information necessary from the client or PC. The sub contractors must manage their own work to make sure that their workers are safe as well as ensuring that hey and those they appoint are completely competent and adequately resourced.

On all projects they must:

1)Inform any contractor that they engage, of the minimum amount of time they have for planning and preparation

2)Provide their workers (whether employed or self-employed) with any necessary information and training and induction

3)Report anything that they are aware of that is likely to endanger the H&S of themselves or others

4)Ensure that any design work they do complies with CDM design duties

5)Comply with the duties for site health and safety

6)Co-operate and co-ordinate with others working on the project

7)Consult the workforce

8)Not begin work unless they have taken reasonable steps to prevent unauthorised access to the site

9)Obtain specialist advice (e.g. from a structural engineer or occupational hygienist) where necessary

On notifiable projects they must:

1)Check that a CDM co-ordinator has been appointed and HSE notified before they start work

2)Co-operate with the principal contractor, CDM co-ordinator and others working on the project

3)Tell the principal contractor about risks to others created by their work

4)Comply with any reasonable directions from the principal contractor

5)Work in accordance with the construction phase plan

6)Inform the principal contractor of the identity of any contractor he appoints or engages

7)Inform the principal contractor of any problems with the plan or risks identified during their work that have significant implications for the management of the project

8)Inform the principal contractor about any death, injury, condition or dangerous occurrence

9)Provide information for the health and safety file

3.8The Construction Phase Plan

The construction phase plan which is a new feature of the CDM regulations 2007 is an addition to replace the Health and Safety plan which was an innovative feature of the old CDM regulations 1994. The construction phase plan links the participants together, with the objective of improving the exchange and communication of document information that affects health and safety. During the pre-construction phase, the CPP is organised by the CDM co-ordinators, the designers and other contractors. It is then the responsibility of the PC to develop the CPP to its final form which must be checked and approved by the client before the construction phase can begin. The CPP should include details on the management and prevention of health and safety risks created by contractors and sub contractors. The CPP is subject to continuous review and amendment, fulfilling its role as a co-ordinating mechanism and encouraging co-operation as construction progresses (Joyce, 2007).

3.9The Health and Safety File

On completion of a construction project, the CDM co-ordinator is required to ensure that a health and safety file is prepared that must be handed over to the client on completion. The health and safety file is an important document and should be easily available to other responsibilities for later construction work associated with the structure or its maintenance, repair, renovation or demolition (Joyce, 2007).

4.0The Approved Code of Practice

The ACoP, which is approved by the Health and Safety Commission, provides practical guidance on compliance with the CDM Regulations 2007. It is not an official offence if duty holders fail to comply with this guidance, however it could be used as evidence in a legal situation if a duty holder has failed to comply with the regulations.

The updated Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) can be used in order to help achieve the main aims of the CDM regulations 2007. It has special legal status and gives practical advice for all those that are involved in construction work. If duty holders follow the advice in the ACoP they will be doing enough to comply with the law in respect of those specific matters on which it gives advice.

The ACoP which includes a copy of the CDM regulations explains:

ØThe legal duties placed on clients, CDM co-ordinators, designers, principal contractors, contractors, self-employed and workers.

ØThe circumstances in which domestic clients do not have duties under CDM 2007 (but that the regulations still apply to those doing work for them).

ØGives information on the new role of CDM co-ordinator – a key project adviser for clients and responsible for coordinating the arrangements for health and safety during the planning phase of larger and more complex projects.

ØWhich construction projects need to be notified to HSE before work starts and gives information on how this should be done.

ØHow to assess the competence of organisations and individuals involved in construction work.

ØHow to improve co-operation and co-ordination between all those involved in the construction project and with the workforce.

ØWhat essential information needs to be recorded in construction health and safety plans and files, as well as what shouldn’t be included.

Why the need for the new CDM regulations?

The CDM regulations 1994 were in force for just over 12 years, and in that time the debate about their effectiveness and the unnecessary bureaucracy was never off the agenda within the construction industry (Joyce, 2001). Previous research suggests that, although there was constant criticism of the bureaucracy of the regulations, the majority of the organizations within the construction industry do not feel that the regulations have been of no benefit; however they felt that significant improvements could have been made in order to improve their effectiveness. This primary and secondary research regarding the management of H&S alongside consultations and debate led the HSC to make a decision to revise the CDM regulations 1994. The new CDM regulations 2007 represent a near re-write of the 1994 regulations, however they are still constrained within the remit of continuing to implement the Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites Directive. These regulations are the UK’s response to transpose the Council of the European Communities Directive 92/57/EEC, entitled The Minimum Health and Safety requirements at Temporary or Mobile Construction Sites, into British law (Summerhayes, 2002).

The commission’s aims for revising the 1994 CDM regulations were to further reduce construction accidents and ill health by the following means:

1.being clearer – making it easier for duty holders to know what is expected of them;

2.being flexible and accommodating a wide range of contractual arrangements found in the construction industry;

3.emphasizing the need to plan and manage work, rather than treating the paperwork as an end in itself;

4.emphasizing the communication and coordination advantages of duty holders working in integrated teams; and

5.simplifying the way duty holders assess competence (Joyce, 2007).

The latest CDM regulations have been developed in order to reduce bureaucracy and improve the overall management of construction projects.

UK Construction Regulations

A number of changes have taken place during the replacement of the CDM regulations 1994 to the CDM regulations 2007, most notable affecting the construction-related legislation. This is shown in Figure 5.1 and 5.2 below:

Figure 5.1: The construction triangle under CDM 1994

Figure 5.2: The construction triangle under CDM 2007

Figure 5.1 above (construction triangle) show the close relationship between the legislation that applied to the construction industry when the CDM regulations 1994 were first implemented along with the CHSW regulations 1996. This provided a close link between three sets of regulations:

  • the Building Regulations;
  • the Construction (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations; and
  • the CDM Regulations. (Tony Baker, 2007)

Figure 5.2 shows the updated, 2007 version of the construction triangle where the CDM regulations have incorporated the CHSW regulations which in turn have been replaced at the top of the triangle by the Workplace regulations 1992, RRFSO 2005 and the DDA. There is still a common link with the buildings regulations as there was in the 1994 regulations.

These diagrams provide the author with the perception that the CDM regulations should take into account other issues rather than be considered in isolation, particularly at the design stage as it is essential that CDM be considered in the wider context, as part of the integrated risk management process (Tony Baker, 2007).

Changes to the CDM regulations

Commenting on what is a landmark for the construction industry this year, Stephen Williams, Chief Inspector of Construction, HSE said: "The industry has worked very closely with HSE to revise the CDM Regulations and ensure that there are clear benefits for all competent duty holders. The Regulations clarify responsibilities of each duty holder and require greater focus on the risks to be managed by all being involved in the construction process. Underlying all the changes is one simple aim - to reduce the unacceptable number of fatalities and injuries in the construction industry."

The revised CDM Regulations will introduce the following changes:

  • Clarify construction client responsibilities when they are exercising their influence over the health and safety standards on their projects.
  • Replace the role of Planning Supervisor with a new role of CDM co-ordinator. The co-ordinator will act as the client’s key advisor on health and safety issues for the project, particularly effective communication and co-ordination of health and safety information.
  • Emphasise the importance of competence at all levels in securing health and safety benefits, whilst simplifying the assessment of competence.
  • Drive out needless health and safety paperwork and bureaucracy. Paperwork should be project-specific, relevant, proportionate to the risk, and of real use in helping to manage the risk.
  • Simplify when a project is notifiable, and formal plans and appointments are required. Projects will be notifiable if they will involve more than 30 days or 500 person days of construction work. No projects for a domestic client will be notifiable. Formal plans and appointments are only required for notifiable projects.


John Heath, health and safety consultant at Morgan Safety Services, said: “I’ve been lecturing on CDM at Riba since 1994. No, I don’t think designers are prepared for the changeover. They are too comfortable with the paperwork, and it will continue to be generated because they are concerned about liability. Criminal law no longer requires anything like the paperwork we are producing, but designers will still think ‘I have to make sure we have sufficient evidence if things go wrong.’ It’s no longer needed."

"Other than that, I don’t think the designers role has changed that much. One question the HSE hasn’t addressed is where CDM co-ordinators are going to come from. With the greater emphasis on health and safety qualifications, I think fewer design organisations are going to offer the service than offered the planning supervisor service."

John Carpenter, health and safety consultant to ICE and HSE: “If you’re looking for good business tools, then you can’t do much better than the regulations. They provide safety and productivity, and what do managers want beyond that?"

"I don’t think the industry is ready for the changes. My guess is very few people have seen the Approved Code of Practice, and some won’t even be aware of the regulations changing. I think within the industry there’s the tendency to keep your eyes on the workstation, so to speak, without looking at the bigger picture."

"I have sympathy with the client groups’ concerns, but I think there has been some over-reaction. Scare-mongering about inexperienced clients going to jail, that’s just nonsense. Health and safety advice is out there, and it can come from several different sources. Very little has changed."

"My problem with the added responsibility for the client is it paints the [construction] industry in a poor light. The HSE’s reason for doing it is to put the responsibility where the money is. The message is, ‘we can’t trust the contractors, so we’ll bring the client in to show them how it’s done’. I think it’s a sad reflection on the industry.”