For Health and Safety issues, 2002 will be a year of significant change and debate for the construction industry and the beginning of a process intended to culminate in revised CDM Regulations coming into force during 2004.
A revised Code of Practice to accompany the CDM Regulations was issued by the Health & Safety Executive at the beginning of December 2001 the first since the Regulations came into force in 1995. In addition, both the Health and Safety Executive and the Strategic Forum, headed by Sir John Egan, are now preparing discussion papers to be issued in May/June 2002. These discussion papers will present a high level review of the workings of the CDM Regulations, with particular focus on the roles of the client and the designer.
Following on from this high level review, a more detailed consultation document will be prepared by the Health and Safety Executive in 2003, which will include any revised Regulations. These Regulations will, subject to further consideration and review, come into force the following year.
The revised code of practice
The revised Code of Practice came into effect on 1 February 2002, and has been substantially reformatted in an attempt to make the document more user friendly. The full text of the Regulations has been set out in the Appendices, and changes to the Regulations introduced since 1995, e.g. the revised definition of 'designer' have been blacklined for ease of reference. There is now more detailed guidance on the role of designers and clients which includes examples of how the Regulations have been applied in practice, and responses to frequently asked questions.
The proposed discussion papers
The need for a more fundamental review has arisen from the perception that the existing CDM Regulations are failing to improve site safety. In the six years since the introduction of the CDM Regulations in 1995, there has been a rise in construction fatalities, with the number of workers killed on site during the period increasing from 81 to 106.
The discussion papers to be produced by the HSE and the Strategic Forum will both consider how the Regulations should be developed, and are likely to be co-ordinated in their recommendations.
As outlined in his recent talk to the Constructors Liaison Group, Sir John's proposals are likely to include the following key proposals, namely that:
clients should appoint an independent safety advisor at the outset of the project
that the construction team must be able...