Businesses and homeowners urged to prepare for new health and safety rules

cdmBoth construction businesses and homeowners are being urged to come to terms with the latest health and safety requirements of Construction (Design and Management) 2015 Regulations, due to come into force on April 6, 2015.

The CDM guidelines are intended to reduce accidents during construction projects via good design, planning and co-operation from concept to completion and ultimately decommissioning. It also specifies legal requirements for on site safety standards and for the provision of welfare facilities. The full scope of the updated regulations will – for the first time – include construction work carried out for homeowners who will live in the property after work has been completed.

Under the new rules, builders of any size working in the domestic sector will be required to create a construction phase safety plan for all projects. Any domestic projects finishing after April 6 2015, where there has been more than one contractor, must also have a health and safety file presented at the end. This should include

“as built” drawings or specifications of components that have been installed.

Where there is more than one contractor, a principal designer must also be appointed to coordinate all matters relating to health and safety. The principal contractor is ultimately responsible for operational site safety; the role is to plan and monitor the pre-construction phase and to co-ordinate matters relating to H&S taking into account the principles of prevention.

Construction businesses must also ensure that any young or inexperienced personnel, such as apprentices, are supervised. It must also be confirmed that everyone working on a project has the relevant skills, knowledge, training and experience in health and safety.

According to Kevin Fear, health and safety strategy lead at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the CITB has been developing the new guidance over the last year alongside the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Mr. Fear said:

“The definition of construction work has not changed in the Regulations and includes repair, upkeep, redecoration and cleaning. This will be an area where common sense will need to be applied; if it looks like construction and requires skills that are typical of construction, then it probably is construction.

“What we need to remember is that just because the construction is small, it may well have some high risk activities, such as working at height or involve work with asbestos. Risks must be managed and the plan must capture how this will be done so that construction workers are protected from harm.”

Speaking exclusively to RCI about the new rules, Robert Daniel, technical & BIM coordinator at Marley Eternit, said:

“The biggest impact is for contractors working on smaller projects, such as roof refurbishments, where they are the only contractor on site. In these cases they will have to fulfill the role of principal designer and principal contractor, meaning they need to consider health and safety in the design and also produce a safety plan for the site.”

Homeowners are also being encouraged to engage with the new rules to ensure that contractors they employ are working to the correct standards.

Louise Hosking, managing director at health, safety and environmental specialist Hosking Associates, said:

“Of the 43 people who died on construction sites last year, three quarters were working on smaller projects. The new CDM15 legisl

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